Firefighters in the Biloxi Fire Department have a new and unique way to keep safe after responding to fires.
Exposure to harmful carcinogens is just one of the many things Biloxi firefighters have to keep in mind while responding to fires. Battalion Chief David Williams said, “Cancer’s a big thing for us, so any little step that we can take to combat, to get these guys out of this soiled gear, out of this cancer gear, is what we try to do.”
Enter a restored 1982 Chevy van the department transformed into a gear carrier. The repurposed van has a sealed-off area for dirty equipment as well as another compartment with fresh equipment for firefighters. “This responds to a fire, there are new sets of gear. Each firefighter is given a new set of gear to wear the rest of the shift.”
Veteran firefighters like Captain William Wiley say this van allows crews to better respond to modern fires. “Most fires are not just basic fires. Fires are hedged towards a lot of harmful, really combustible material.”
After nearly 30 years of previous service to the department and responding to three fires in the first month in its new role, department officials say this vehicle will continue to serve first responders for years to come. “We’ll keep getting new gear as the years come along to replace the gear that’s on there now. So, you know firefighters in the future don’t have to worry about cancer as much as we do now.”