Council here has approved the purchase of equipment to clean firefighter gear in order to meet provincial standards.
A report from Fire Chief Chris Harrow at the June 21 council meeting stated that in the past few years, cancer diagnosis within the fire service “has become a large issue.” Harrow notes the provincial government has twice now passed legislation recognizing various types of cancers as being job related to the fire service.
Recently Ministry of Labour inspectors visited fire departments and they have made many recommendations in the area of bunker gear decontamination and cleaning. In a few cases, there have been orders served on municipalities, Harrow pointed out.
To be proactive Minto Fire proposed purchase of a bunker gear extractor/washing machine, essentially an industrial washing machine set up to clean fire gear.
“I have spoken with our friends at Mapleton Fire and discussed the idea of sharing a machine and working together to clean gear after any incident. They have agreed in principle to the idea, pending council approval, to split the cost of the machine 50/50 as well as the detergent and other related supplies. Minto Fire would host the machine in Palmerston as it is fairly central to both departments,” Harrow explained.
Harrow told council full time departments which have received orders regarding cleaning bunker gear have opted to purchase a second set of gear for each firefighter, which allows them to keep all of their personnel in service and gives time to clean the gear. Harrowed noted this is an “expensive” option, with each set costing around $2,000 per firefighter.
Council approved a recommendation to spend $10,556 plus the cost of a soap dispenser and installation on the equipment, with cost to be split with Mapleton.