LIME CITY — In an effort to improve the long-term safety of the township firefighters, the Perrysburg Township Trustees have approved a new equipment decontamination unit.
At the Feb. 15 meeting, the trustees approved the purchase of Rescue Intellitech Solo Rescue SCBA DECON Washer package for $31,000. It can be used to wash the self-contained breathing apparatus, boots, gloves and helmets.
Fire Chief Tom Brice compared it to a heavy duty dishwasher with specialized equipment holders.
He pointed out the urgency of the purchase, which had been planned and discussed for years, but with inflation the price will be increasing to $32,000 after Feb. 27.
Brice updated trustees on the fire department safety committee, which has been operating for two years.
“One of the big things we’ve been focused on is cancer,” he said. “The other thing is mental health. There is an ever increasing number of suicides in the first responder units, not only in fire and EMS, but also in police departments.”
Recent cancer statistics show a greater rate for the disease with firefighters than with the general public, which can be directly traced to contaminants from the emergency situations they deal with as a part of their job.
Brice presented trustees with some of those statistics, starting with the base 9% greater risk of cancer among firefighters than with the general population. He broke that number down:
• 14% greater risk of dying of cancer
• double the risk of testicular cancer
• double the risk of mesothelioma
• 1.5 times the risk of getting multiple myeloma
• 1.5 times the risk of getting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
• 1.4 times the risk of getting skin cancer
Miami-Dade Fire, Florida, found that of their active firefighters almost a third were either diagnosed or receiving treatment for cancer, between 2008 and 2010.
“This is a real risk,” Brice said.
Brice looked for possible grant money, which he has been successful in getting for other projects, but did not find any.
He said there may be as much as $2,500 in supportive electrical work needed.
Trustees passed the resolution unanimously.
Brice didn’t ask for the electrical funding, because he felt the quote was too high and wanted to look for additional sources.
Trustee Gary Britten requested that Brice look for a source other than the general fund for the electrical work.
Brice also reported the fire and EMS statistics for January as the busiest month in the history of the department, with 225 calls. There were 212 EMS calls and for fire. The previous record was 201, making it also a record month just for EMS.
In other business, a purchase order was approved for three sets of new police cruiser lights from Buckeye Emergency Vehicle Products for $2,990.
Also approved were two new multi-unit electrical chargers for the police department from P&R Communications for $2,610.
The motion was approved for first responder leadership pay. The new rates are as follows: fire chief $115,045 per year, deputy fire chief $48.36 per hour and deputy police chief $109,830 per year.
Trustees also approved the annual Wood County Commissioners township road resurfacing contract for $50,000.
They also held an executive session to consider the appointment, employment and compensation of a public employee or official and real estate.