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Issue 4 funds outfit 275 Akron firefighters with protective safety gear

August 9, 2018

Issue 4 funds outfit 275 Akron firefighters with protective safety gear

AKRON, Ohio - The city of Akron is moving ahead in updating and improving Akron Fire Department equipment and infrastructure using Issue 4 funds.

Issue 4 is a .25 percent income tax increase voters approved last November to support the fire and police departments and fix Akron roadways. This year, Issue 4 will generate about $13 million, which is divided equally between the recipients. In a full year, the tax will bring in about $16 million.

The city will spend $418,000 for 275 sets of protective fire gear for Akron’s firefighters, so all front-line personnel have two sets. The equipment absorbs carcinogens and other toxins during a fire.

Previously, second sets of the life-saving equipment weren’t available, so if firefighters were called to a second fire, they wore the same gear.

Also through Issue 4 funds, Akron fire stations now have special extractor washing machines, to clean and remove toxins from fire gear after it’s exposed to smoke and fire. Once washed, the gear takes several hours to dry, making the second sets necessary.

“Important investments in first responder safety are exactly why we decided to pursue Issue 4,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a news release. “No Akron firefighter should be forced to respond to a fire in gear that is still saturated in carcinogenic toxins from the last emergency call. These firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our community, and it is our responsibility as city leaders to supply them with the equipment they need to keep them safe and minimize their exposure to harm.”

Earlier this year, 50 of the 325 firefighters who actively battle blazes were outfitted with a second set of lifesaving gear through money in the city’s capital budget. The current Issue 4 expenditure will outfit the remaining 275 firefighters with the gear, which costs about $1,500 per set.

“Firefighter health and safety is a top priority for Akron Fire,” Chief Clarence Tucker said in the release. “I’d like to personally thank the city administration and the citizens of Akron for helping us keep our firefighters healthy. Providing new structural protective clothing will ensure that our firefighters, who are placed in harm’s way every day, have a much-needed measure of safety and added peace of mind.”

Issue 4 money will also enable the city to buy the protective gear for new hires and replace old and badly damaged gear.

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