Fire Chief Timothy Grenno is pleased to announce that the Whitman Fire Department has been awarded a $6,448.95 grant by the Baker-Polito Administration to purchase a gear cleaning machine to reduce firefighter exposure to hazardous chemicals.
The Baker-Polito Administration announced $420,000 in grant awards on Friday, Feb. 21 to 75 fire departments throughout the Commonwealth for the purchase of a new washer-extractor to clean their structural firefighting gear after exposure to smoke and other toxic chemicals. The grants aim to reduce firefighter exposure to toxic, cancer causing chemicals found in substances including smoke and ash.
"We are incredibly thankful to the Baker-Polito administration for providing these grants that allow us to ensure our firefighters’ safety," said Chief Grenno. "Occupational cancer is a major concern among all of us in the fire service and doing all that we can to prevent it is something we should all be focused on. With the generous grants provided by the Baker-Polito administration, we will be able to use machines we can trust to thoroughly clean toxic, potentially deadly chemicals from our gear."
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 fire. This grant will enable Whitman 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.
This award comes in addition to $920,000 in grant awards delivered last year to 174 Massachusetts fire departments, funding 75 washer-extractors and about 3,000 pairs of gloves and another 3,000 hoods.