Our Town

District to buy firefighters a $20,000 washing machine

Kitimat firefighthers will no longer have to hold up the queue at a local laundromat to get their fire fighting suits washed.

Fire department Operations Deputy Chief Derek Collier said district council has approved budget for the purchase of a new, specialized washer/drier for their suits, to replace the machine at the fire department which stopped working a while ago.

“We have been sending our gear out to be washed, which increases the turnaround time and the cost to have them cleaned,” said Collier.

He said the fire suits that firefighters wear are exposed to a number of particulates, toxins that are carcinogenic, as well as blood-borne pathogens that carry potential health risks for the firefighters.

The suits can even produce off-gases after firefighters return from a call, which can potentially pollute the fire hall.

The suits are usually washed off in a special washing machine that spins at a specific speed at certain G-forces so as not to damage the material, including the thermal barrier which protects firefighters from the heat from fires.

The suits, which cost about $3,000 each, are only used for 10 years before they are disposed of, regardless whether they are still wearable.

The machine, which can cost up to $10,000, is brought in specially and fitted by professionals. Kitimat District Council recently approved $20,000 for the replacement of the washer, which covers the cost of the machine, the transport fees and installation costs, from the 2017 supplementary budget.

 

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