San Diego Fire Rescue vehicle
A San Diego Fire-Rescue vehicle. Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Public safety and city officials, including Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, Tuesday unveiled a $50,000 wish list of upgrades intended to improve firefighter health at the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department‘s Station 21 in Pacific Beach.

The improvements are part of the national Cancer Awareness and Prevention Program movement, which was created in 2016 to improve workplace conditions and practices.

Cancer is the leading cause of death among firefighters, according to the International Association of Firefighters. Pacific Beach Town Council Board of Directors member Denise Friedman said that doesn’t have to be the case.

“It used to be real cool to have the dirty clothing to show you’ve been out in the field — but those were toxic chemicals getting into their bodies,” Friedman said. “We’re trying to change that culture.”

The wish list includes the purchase of commercial-grade washers and dryers so firefighters can clean their gear after each fire. Currently, the station doesn’t have large machines, so certain materials are sent to a centralized location for washing, Friedman said.

The wish list also includes extraction fans to improve station air quality where fire engines idle and a new workroom for equipment repairs.

Friedman said that in the last month, she has already raised 40 percent of wish list funds. The annual Police And Emergency Services Appreciation Night picnic in September is also expected to generate money.

— City News Service