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Akron, Ohio

Akron Fire Department Purchases 275 Sets of Life-Saving Safety Gear for Front-Line Personnel

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Issue 4 funds used to ensure all firefighters will have clean, safe gear when responding to active fires

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 08-09-2018

Akron, Ohio, August 9, 2018 – The City of Akron is purchasing 275 additional sets of fire gear for Akron’s front-line firefighting personnel. The $418,000 purchase, approved by City Council last month, will be funded through Issue 4—the new ¼% income tax dedicated to police, fire and roadway improvements in Akron. The gear will provide life-saving protection to Akron firefighters, and ensure that first responders are not forced to wear contaminated gear when responding to multiple fires in a short period.

The City utilized Issue 4 funds earlier this year to equip each Akron fire station with a specialized extractor washing machine. Protective fire gear must be thoroughly washed using an extractor washing machine after each exposure to smoke or fire, to remove carcinogens and other contaminants that can adhere to the gear. Once washed, gear must be left to dry for several hours.  Without a second set of protective gear, some firefighters are forced to wear “dirty” gear if a subsequent fire emergency call comes in before their gear could be washed.

“Important investments in first responder safety are exactly why we decided to pursue Issue 4,” Mayor Horrigan said. “No Akron firefighter should be forced to respond to a fire in gear that is still saturated in carcinogenic toxins from the last emergency call. These firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our community, and it is our responsibility as city leaders to supply them with the equipment they need to keep them safe and minimize their exposure to harm.”

Currently the Akron Fire Department has approximately 325 firefighters that actively engage in fire suppression activities (this does not include fire administration staff and command staff, who generally do not become actively involved in fire suppression). Of those 325 firefighters, 50 firefighters were outfitted with a second set of gear earlier this year through the capital budget. With this latest Issue 4 purchase, the City will supply the remaining 275 firefighters with a second set of lifesaving gear.

Each set of gear costs approximately $1,500. This agreement will also allow the City to make future purchases to outfit new hires, replenish aging gear, and replace gear that becomes damaged beyond repair.

“Firefighter health and safety is a top priority for Akron Fire,” Chief Clarence Tucker said of the purchase. “I'd like to personally thank the City administration and the citizens of Akron for helping us keep our firefighters healthy. Providing new structural protective clothing will ensure that our firefighters, who are placed in harm's way every day, have a much needed measure of safety and added peace of mind.”

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For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary / Assistant Director of Law
166 South High Street, Suite 200
Akron, OH 44308
Phone: (330) 375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]

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