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Mass. Senate to fund purchasing of firefighter gear cleaning equipment

In an effort to reduce the risk of firefighter cancer, the Senate voted to spend $420,000 to help departments buy extractors that will help remove carcinogens


By FireRescue1 Staff

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Senate voted to create a trust that will help fund the purchases of equipment to clean firefighter gear and reduce the risk of cancer.

Metrowest Daily News reported that a budget amendment was adopted unanimously that will put $420,000 into a trust fund to help fire departments purchase extractors, which are large washing machines that will help remove carcinogens from firefighter gear.

Extractors are are large washing machines that help remove carcinogens from firefighter gear. (Photo/Fire Chief)
Extractors are are large washing machines that help remove carcinogens from firefighter gear. (Photo/Fire Chief)

“Firefighters throughout our country are surviving the calls only to become sick later on,” Sen. Paul Feeney, who brought the budget amendment to Senate, said.

Feeney said nearly 30 percent of Massachusetts fire departments have not purchased the extractors because they cost around $10,000 to $20,000.

 “Advances in manufacturing and in flame retardant materials has had the unintended effect of making fire, smoke and the after-effects more deadly as the high heat changes the composition of these chemicals into a dangerous cocktail of carcinogens – carcinogens that become airborne, cancer-causing agents that cover the turnout gear of these men and women that we hired, that we expect, that we rely on to respond,” Feeney said.

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