MERRIMAC — Chief Larry Fisher would like to announce the Merrimac Fire Department received a $6,448.95 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) and the Department of Fire Services (DFS).
This funding will be used to purchase a washer-extractor to effectively remove contaminants and carcinogens from firefighter turnout gear exposed to smoke, ash or other hazardous materials.
“Clean gear will protect our firefighters from receiving repeated exposure to the cancer causing chemicals they encounter on a daily basis” said Chief Fisher. “The ability to clean our gear regularly will prevent contaminants from building up in the working uniforms our firefighters wear every day.”
Funding for this grant program was made available through the Baker-Polito administration for fire departments across the Commonwealth. In all, $420,000 was awarded to 75 different fire departments in Massachusetts.
A national standard set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on the care and cleaning of structural firefighting gear identifies specific types of machines that should be used to effectively remove cancer-causing chemicals firefighters are exposed to from smoke or fire. This grant will enable Merrimac Fire Department personnel to wash their gear in a way that meets that standard after each exposure and be ready to respond to the next emergency in properly cleaned gear.
“We now know that the risk of being diagnosed with occupational cancer is among the greatest threats faced by modern firefighters, and having an NFPA-compliant gear washing program is critical to mitigating that risk,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. “We are thankful that the Commonwealth has made this a priority and invested in the advancement of the ongoing cancer prevention efforts of fire departments across the state.”