Topsfield – The Topsfield Fire Department has received funds from the second round a state grant for an industrial turnout gear washed/extractor. TFD was initially awarded a sum of $6573.14, the second round of the grant brings an additional $1156.86, totaling in $7,730.00, which will cover the entire cost of the unit. The Washer-Extractor Equipment Grant comes from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) and the Department of Fire Services (DFS). Topsfield Fire applied for both rounds of this grant to maximize the amount of the grant award and minimize the amount of money that needs to come from the budget. This funding will be used to purchase a washer-extractor to effectively clean firefighter turnout gear after it has been exposed to smoke, ash, or other hazardous materials so that firefighters do not have to wear contaminated gear.
“Clean gear will protect our firefighters from receiving repeated exposure to the cancer-causing chemicals they encounter on a daily basis” said Chief Collins-Brown. “The ability to clean our gear regularly will prevent contaminants from building up in the working uniforms our firefighters wear every day,” she added.
A national standard set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on the care and cleaning of structural firefighting gear delineates specific types of machines that should be used to effectively remove cancer-causing chemicals after each exposure to smoke or fire. This grant will enable Topsfield Fire Department personnel to wash their gear in a compliant manner 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.”
Funding for this grant program was made available through the Baker-Polito administration for fire departments across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.