Ventilators protecting firefighters in Thomasville

THOMASVILLE, N.C. – A federal grant from FEMA was awarded to the Thomasville Fire Department, allowing one more layer of protection for firefighters.

Purchase of what’s known as a Source Capture Exhaust System SCES reduces the chances of the exhaust fumes seeping into the living quarters at the station.

“When this station was built in 1976 (the headquarter station), exhaust systems weren't thought of and then we built station three in 1991 and due to budget cuts, we weren't able to equip that station as well,” Chief Martin Dailey said.

The system will be attached directly onto the exhaust pipe and can automatically or manually be removed from the truck when firefighters leave for an emergency.

“Firefighters are susceptible to a lot of exposures,” Dailey said. “What you don't want to have if the exposures in your own home.”

As a colon cancer survivor, Dailey knows the importance of protection. The department has a strict sequence of steps for decontamination after every call for the fighters’ equipment and clothing.

The department will soon buy 85 new protective hoods that help reduce the risk of exposure worn underneath their helmets.

“Years ago, firefighters had burnt helmets, dirty gear, kind of like a badge of honor,” Dailey said. “Today it’s a change. We keep our gear as clean as we can at all times.”

On Monday, the Thomasville City Council approved a 10 percent match to fund the ventilator system. The department should have them for installation in the next few weeks.

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