TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WTXL) -- The Tallahassee Fire Department is getting more gear for all of their fire fighters in hopes of helping to fight contamination.
After a fire emergency, fire fighters head back to their stations. Sometimes covered in debris, soot, and chemicals. But when there is another call, its time to put back on the protective layers, which, if still dirty, can hinder their ability to save the day.
"We spend a lot of time with that gear on the fire scene", said Mike Bellamy, public information officer of the Tallahassee Fire Department. "After a fire, the gear is wet and contaminated," he added.
"Anytime you have that, the smoke, all the water, we use a lot of foam sometimes so every time that gets on your bunker gear, it weighs it down, it gets a bunch of non-essential chemicals and stuff like that on it," said fire fighter Clinton Henderson.
And those contaminants can potentially cause problems as serious as cancer. That is why the department requested to get the additional set of gear for its fighters. Now, after a call, each fighter will soon have a spare ready to go, that is clean and safe to use. This allows time for the used suits to be cleaned and DE-contaminated. "So we have special gear washers and driers at several of the stations", said Bellamy. "So after a fire, that gear has to be sent to that station that has the washing machine."
The entire process cleaning bunker gear can take some time. After an hour and a half in the wash, and then another four to five hours in the dryer, it can potentially take an entire shift [to complete]. All the more reason to have a second batch, which can help protect you quicker and more efficiently.
"We're happy to see another set of bunker gear come out", said Henderson. "It helps us a lot having a second set."
"The bunker gear protects the most valuable resource that we have, which is our firefighter," added Bellamy.