Washington Twp Fire Department gets new safety equipment to help keep crews safe

    Washington Twp Fire Department get new safety equipment to help keep crews safe (WKEF/WRGT)

    WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - The Washington Township Fire Department is fighting back against health risks with new safety equipment.

    The system reduces firefighters' exposure to exhaust fumes.

    “Any time you’re standing near any type of exhaust pipe you are being exposed to that type of carcinogen,” Washington Township Fire Department Battalion Chief Ian Emmons said.

    He said it’s a big concern for firefighters who are often in station bays when the diesel exhaust fumes release.

    "It will kind of linger in the actual bay so it will attach to the garments that you’re wearing whether that’s our uniform or our actual fire turnout gear,” Emmons said.

    But the new diesel exhaust capture systems are reducing firefighter exposure to fumes and risk for cancer.

    “It’s part of our health and wellness initiative with the department and it also highlights our efforts towards cancer prevention,” he said.

    Firefighters risk for cancer is growing concern.

    A few weeks ago a retired Dayton firefighter Robert “Bobby” Hetzer Jr. passed away at age 56 from pancreatic cancer.

    Union leaders say his job caused his cancer.

    All five Washington Township Fire stations are fighting back similar risks with the exhaust capture systems.

    “The hoses are attached to tracks throughout the apparatus bay, said Emmons.

    When a truck pulls into the bay the snap-on-hose connects directly to each vehicle's the tailpipe.

    “Whenever the diesel engine has started it will eject that exhaust outdoors through the venting system,” said Emmons.

    The hose detaches automatically when the vehicle rides off and makes it easy for many stations to install.

    “This is one of those things that has happened over the past couple years,” said Emmons.

    “You’re seeing more and more area departments implementing these types of measures because it’s something that’s been identified as one of the most effective if not the most effective way to eject those diesel exhaust fumes out.”

    Several of the diesel capture systems were installed with the help from a $64,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

    Washington Township’s installation was in response to a recommendation by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International.

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