State grant will help fire departments battle carcinogens

A $600,000 grant awarded by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD) will help firefighters across the state battle carcinogens left on their gear after fighting fires.

73 departments will soon have either the gear washers, gear dyers, or both needed to clean their equipment of carcinogens gathered while on fire calls.

“Minnesota’s firefighters put their lives on the line to save others. There is no reason they should further risk their lives when they return to their fire stations and go home to their families,” State Fire Marshal Bruce West said. “This equipment is necessary to ensure the safety of Minnesota firefighters.”

Cancer has become the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for firefighters. Sixty percent will die from cancer compared with 20 percent of the general public, according to the International Association of Firefighters.

Since 2015 the SFMD has awarded over $1 million to help departments purchase gear washers and dyers, which are the most effective way to clean equipment after a fire.