KINGSTON -State Representative Kathy LaNatra (D-Kingston) commended Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito recently for their support of $920,000 in grant awards to 174 Massachusetts fire departments for gear and equipment for that will reduce firefighters’ exposure to cancer-causing chemicals on the job.
All of the communities within Representative LaNatra’s district, with the exception of Duxbury, received funds in these grant awards. There are two different grants. For the first, the Firefighter Turnout Gear Grant program will provide firefighters in 144 departments with new hoods and gloves for structural firefighting activities. These items will reduce exposure to cancer-causing chemicals in the head and hand areas, which are high-risk areas for dangerous chemicals to enter the body. In total, approximately 3,000 hoods and 3,000 pairs of gloves will be purchased with the $500,000 from this program. Communities receiving grants in the district included Halifax, $2,390.07; Kingston, $2,506.25; Plymouth, $2,496; and Plympton, $2,440.
Through the Washer-Extractor Equipment Grant, $420,000 was awarded to 75 departments that will receive a new washer-extractor to clean their structural firefighting gear after exposure to smoke and other toxic chemicals. Because some of the recipient agencies are purchasing regional-use machines, 84 departments will actually benefit from them. A national standard set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on the care and cleaning of structural firefighting gear delineates specific types of machines that should be used to effectively remove cancer-causing chemicals after each fire. All washer-extractors purchased with this grant will meet this standard, and enable personnel to wear clean gear each time they leave the fire station for an emergency. The town of Middleboro received a grant of $5,000.
Representative LaNatra said, “First responders face so many dangers on a daily basis. I am thrilled to see the Baker-Polito administration taking an active role in first responder safety and ensuring that they are able to perform their jobs without the risk posed by out-of-date equipment.”
Representative LaNatra’s district includes all residents of Halifax, Kingston and Plympton, as well as residents of Precincts 1, 11 and 13 in Plymouth; Precinct 1 in Middleboro; and Precinct 1 in Duxbury.
She maintains regular office hours throughout the district. For additional information, please contact Chris Jean, Christopher.Jean@MAhouse.gov. Meetings can also be arranged by appointment.