Fire department receives new gear to help keep firefighters safe from cancer

The Center-Jackson Fire Territory is getting a new gear extractor thanks to grant funding.

Posted: Jul 30, 2019 7:03 PM

GREENE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Assistant chief John Sherer began in the fire service when he was just 15 years old. He says back then the attitude was different when going into a fire.

Sherer explains, "Back when I started in the fire service in 78 it was considered a badge of honor to be called a smoke eater. That was somebody who went in the fire without the air pack you know. Like hey, I'm the tough guy. Or they had dirty gear."

That mentality has since changed.

Sherer says, "These days that will kill you. So we want to prevent that any way we possibly can."

Keeping his fellow firefighters safe from cancer hits close to home for Sherer. He beat squamous cell carcinoma just three years ago.

Sherer explains, "I had it in my throat. And it was pretty rough. I would hate to see anybody have to go through that disease."

Thanks to a new gear extractor firefighters at Center-Jackson fire territory have a better chance of avoiding deadly cancer-causing materials.

Sherer says, "It will was up to three sets of gear at a time, I believe is correct. And the washing machine that we currently using, you can only wash one set and even then it's kind of overloading it for what it can do."

The industrial strength extractor replaces the department's residential-style clothes washer. Giving firefighters a fighting chance against cancer.

Sherer explains, "Anything I can do to help these guys, prevent these guys from having to go through what I did, I'm all over it."

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