Duluth Will be Providing Money to Better Protect Firefighters

The new gear will help better protect firefighters from carcinogens.

DULUTH, Minn.- Studies show cancer is the number one cause of death for firefighters.

This is likely due in part to cancer-causing chemicals released into the air at fire scenes that then soak into their gear. The city of Duluth has announced it will now spend more money to protect firefighters by giving them all a second set of gear and additionally specialized washers, so the current crews will be able to do their jobs in clean gear.

“They catch a fire right away in the beginning of their shift, that’s a long time that they have to go with dirty and wet turnout gear,” Duluth Fire Department chief Dennis Edwards said. “But never have we before been able to get everybody turnout gear to the cleaning process started.”

Currently, there are only three “extractors” or heavy-duty washing machines for all eight stations. Within the next two years, every station will have its own.

“Our intent is to help the community, so to know that they have our backs it feels good,” firefighter Eric Kilpo said.

The new gear sets are expected to last up to10 years. This year, 60 new sets will be provided.

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