With the donation, the fire department purchased an exclusive dryer designed to clean gear in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks it takes to air dry the firefighter clothes, Cedar City Fire Chief Mike Phillips said.
In addition to cleaning dirty gear after each incident, dangerous chemicals that accumulate in the clothing and exposed to a firefighter on duty and can cause serious illness or cancer, are eliminated.
“We have a huge push for cancer prevention within our department” he said. “Before we had the dryer, sometimes I wouldn’t clean my gear for weeks or months to be certain I’d have it available at anytime.”
Phillips said the danger of not washing his gear often also led to continual exposure to those dangerous chemicals over time after each incident. With the dryer, he said six sets of firefighter gear can be cleaned within four hours instead of air dried in 3 to 5 days.
“By being able to launder our gear after every fire we can be sure to prevent cancer within our department,” Phillips said.
To receive the donation, the Cedar City Fire Department applied for a grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which they were awarded on Dec. 22.
Donations were collected through money jars at Cedar City and St. George Firehouse Subs locations as well as customers having the option to round up their orders to the nearest dollar, with the extra change being donated to the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, Firehouse Subs Owner Holly Yergensen said.
“It is nice to give back to the community for all they do,” Yergensen said of the donation to the Cedar City Fire Department. “Giving back to the firefighters is our whole reason for business.”
She said the department received the donation when they applied for a grant within the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.
“The Foundation has one big fund and when a department applies for the grant it is received through the local donations,” she said.
Yergensen said the Foundation has given $400,000 in Utah alone and $20 million nationwide within a year.
Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson said she thought it was great that the fire department was able to get the grant and take care of their gear.
“It’s a huge asset to the community and department ot make sure toxins are cleared from the gear and not harming the firefighters,” Wilson said. “We are super appreciative of Firehouse Subs for giving the grant.