Cancer is treated as an everyday risk by the leadership team and members of the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority.
January is Cancer Awareness month in the Fire Service and Regional Fire Chief Dan Heney of the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority says car fires produce almost 200 times more toxins and carcinogens than an equivalent size house fire which means keeping gear clean is vital to preventing cancer amongst members.
“Most of our halls have washers and dryers to clean gear after a call, and spare gear to wear while the main set is being cleaned,” Regional Fire Chief Dan Heney told Lakeland Connect. “We are in the process of procuring washers and dryers for the two new halls in Fort Kent and Ardmore.”
Regional Fire Chief Dan Heney says money was allocated in the 2022 budget at the M.D. of Bonnyville for the purchase of a washer, dryer and breathing air compressor for each station.
When a the fire is over and crews return the station specific bunker gear cleaning detergents are used, Fire Chief Heney added.
“Firefighters are also encouraged to swap out balaclavas for a clean one after a call, and all dirty ones are washed thoroughly,” Fire Chief Heney said.
Firefighters will also do an on-scene decontamination if they’ve come in contact with suspected asbestos bearing materials on a call, and then clean their gear fully once back at the hall.
“Equipment is wiped down after calls, more from a COVID perspective right now than carcinogens but its good practice,” Fire Chief Heney concluded.