VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - After months of waiting, the City of Valdosta has gotten $53,000 worth of brand new firefighter gear that could potentially help prevent cancer.
“We’re always anxious to get new things," said Valdosta Fire Chief, Brian Boutwell.
Boutwell explained that the new equipment is beneficial in a number of ways.
One way is the name on the back the makes onsite firefighter identification easier.
“We also have the particulate reduction systems inside which actually reduces the smoke particles that are going to get skin contact on our personnel," said Boutwell.
He shared that this piece is perhaps the most important since fire scene chemicals have been linked to cancer.
“My priorities, along with the continued customer service, is to take care of my people as far as physical and mental health," said Boutwell.
The group shared that they are just excited to have something new.
Battalion Chief John Herpin describes it as the second coming of Christmas.
“It’s like kids. We’re just so excited. We can’t wait to get in and use it and get it out there on the streets and show it off," said Herpin.
He said he’s thankful to see that our elected officials were in favor of spending the necessary money on equipment that could help protect the firefighters long term.
“You become more excited to show up at work when you know that you’re being supported by those above you and by the community around you," explained Herpin.
Boutwell shared that the department’s eventual goal is to have two sets for firefighter gear for the entire department.
He said that will provide everyone with an alternative set when their first set needs to be cleaned in between fires.