New gear for Evansville firefighters protects beyond the flames - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

New gear for Evansville firefighters protects beyond the flames

Evansville Fire Department gets approved for funding to purchase 120 new sets of turnout gear.  (Source: WFIE) Evansville Fire Department gets approved for funding to purchase 120 new sets of turnout gear. (Source: WFIE)
EFD firefighters on scene of house fire in April.  (Source: WFIE) EFD firefighters on scene of house fire in April. (Source: WFIE)
EFD gets approved for funding to purchase 120 new sets of turnout gear.  (SOURCE: WFIE) EFD gets approved for funding to purchase 120 new sets of turnout gear. (SOURCE: WFIE)
EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -

Research shows firefighters are at an increased cancer risk.

But now there's good new for firefighters in Evansville.

New sets of gear for each firefighter to hopefully decrease the risk of cancer.

This week Evansville city leaders approved budgeting $250,000 for new turnout gear for EFD, according to EFD Chief Mike Connelly.

That money is for 120 new sets of turnout gear, that's what firefighters wear on scene.

That's enough money for one new set for each EFD firefighter.

Firefighter turnout gear can become a haven for dangerous chemicals, if not cleaned properly.

Chief Connelly says in 2014, the department laid out of 5-year plan to replace turnout gear for all the firefighters.

Connelly says Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke sped up the process when he agreed to budget money for EFD to purchase all the gear at once, as opposed to waiting several years.

" I know this is important to the firefighters.  And it's important to me.  It's important they're safe.  That's why this is so necessary," explains Chief Connelly.

EFD Captain Larry Zuber says cancer is the number one leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for firefighters now, surpassing heart attacks.

Zuber beat prostate cancer, and continues to fight for cancer awareness among firefighters.

" I was diagnosed at 47.  It's something you don't think about.  Guys used to think the dirty gear was a badge of honor, we can't have that mindset anymore," explains Zuber.

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