Scouts BSA Troop 21 makes 2 bunker gear drying racks for GFR

Press release from Gainesville Fire Rescue

Today Gainesville Fire Rescue (GFR) took possession of two “bunker gear drying racks” that were built for the department as an Eagle Scout project.

Bunker gear is the protective clothing that firefighters wear into Immediate Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) environments such as fires, hazardous materials incidents, and vehicle extrications. After use in an IDLH environment, the gear must be immediately cleaned to remove carcinogens before the gear may be used again. The need for these dryers was identified as part of GFR’s cancer prevention program.

In 2016, the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) released findings from a study of cancer among U.S. firefighters. NIOSH found firefighters are at greater risk for cancer diagnoses (9 percent increase), but that they are also succumbing to cancer-related deaths at a 14 percent higher rate than the U.S. general public.

Firefighters are often faced with the decision of whether to use loaner gear that may not be a good fit or wear damp gear. The bunker gear dryers built by Troop 21 will cut hours off the drying time of the bunker gear and get firefighters back into their primary gear faster. GFR’s Chiefs were contacted by an Eagle Scout from Troop 21 who offered to raise funds and build the drying racks for the department. These drying racks will have a big impact on the department’s cancer prevention program and the morale of the department!