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Redings Mill Fire Dist. to Purchase New Protection Equipment - KOAM TV 7

Redings Mill Fire Dist. to Purchase New Protection Equipment

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Studies by the CDC have found an increased risk of cancer among firefighters. The Redings Mill Fire District now looks to add an extra layer of protection for its crews.

Firefighters know the dangers they face when a call comes in. But they also have to worry about what was left on their gear after battling the blaze.

“With all the plastics that are in homes today that soils our gear and then as our gear is worn tight around us, that exposes us to more of those chemicals,” says Redings Mill Deputy Chief Michael White.

The Redings Mill Fire District has been using standard washers and dryers to clean uniforms but they say it just doesn't do the trick. A $20,000 grant will make it possible to upgrade to a better washer.

“This equipment will help us wash our gear and remove most of the chemicals that are involved in a structure fire,” says White.

Chemicals that can be detrimental to their health.

“There are a lot of things in a building that’s on fire that are being put up into the smoke and air that they're breathing in that gets on their clothes and that continued inhalation over the years can cause significant lung issues as well as heart issues,” says Dr. Robert Stauffer with Freeman Health System.

The US Fire Administration has also found a link between firefighter's exposure and cancer.

“There are certain types of cancers such as thyroid cancer that fire fighters are 3 times more likely to get than the normal population,” says White.

The Joplin Fire Department has had the washers for several years and say they play an important role in keeping firefighters safe.

“Everybody talks about the dangers of running into a burning building and obviously that’s right there, it’s the stuff like this that gets us 10, 15, 20 years down the road and that’s what we're trying to prevent,” says Joplin Fire Deputy Chief Andy Nimmo.

A simple step that goes a long way.

The Redings Mill department will have the washers within the next few months.

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