It may not be the kind of equipment one would usually think of when we say “Life saving” and “Fire Department”, but not everything a firefighter uses in personal protection is taken to the scene of a fire or rescue situation.
Through the sharing of an expense for a mandatory new washer-extractor the Mena Fire Department has acquired a piece of equipment that will help save firefighters lives. With the help of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and a $3,000 grant from the Western Arkansas Fire and Rescue Association, a new Dexter T400 Washer-Extractor is now available to clean the clothing of firefighters.
The machine is not only used to remove the smell of smoke from the clothing and gear, its main purpose is to wash firefighters clothing at the optimal RPM with the right soap to adequately clean the clothing of deadly carcinogens that department personnel come into contact with on the job.
According to a press release “The city of Mena will own, house and maintain the washer-extractor equipment.” And in what will be good news for all fire departments in the county, Polk County has agreed to pay $3,498.23 for the right for all county fire departments to use the washer to clean the harmful carcinogens from their clothing.
County Judge Brandon Ellison and Mena Mayor Seth Smith signed an agreement that is in effect until December 31st, 2022 and will automatically renew every four years unless written notification is made.
Fire Chief Steve Egger, the City of Mena and Polk County have gotten ahead of a mandate. By 2022, a washer-extractor of this quality will be mandatory in each county in the state.
Submitted photo: Pictured from left to right: Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison. Mena Fire Department Assistant Chief Charles Hankins. Mena Mayor Seth Smith. Mena Fire Engineer Jason Head. Mena Fire Chief Steve Egger and OEM Coordinator Kris Lyle.