XFD captain builds dryer for gear

XENIA — Over the last few years, national firefighter organizations have put an emphasis on cancer preventions. Firefighters face higher rates of cancer diagnosis and cancer-related deaths than the general population.

Innovative work by the Xenia Fire Division will help them be more diligent about keeping gear clean to prevent the inhalation of carcinogens.

Jeff Bruggeman, a captain at the department, began to help other fire stations build their gear dryer systems. So, he decided to build his own for the department.

“It’s just a series of PVC pipes. We have a bouncy house blower of all things. It’s what we’re using to drive air into it,” Bruggeman said.

It took the department about 36 hours to build. The machine features hangers and hooks for wet jackets, pants, gloves, hoods and liners.

“Commercial units run anywhere between $7,000 and $12,000. We built this one just under $1,000,” Bruggeman said.

National guidelines require firefighters to wash their gear after every fire. Most have two sets, but if they respond to more than one fire in a day, they’re in trouble.

“We can’t put it in the dryer because the heat will degrade the fire gear so because it has to hang dry, it takes about three days for the gear to become completely dry,” Bruggeman said.

This homemade unit dries gear in eight to 10 hours.

The machine can dry three full sets of gear. Knobs allow crews to switch off hangers not currently in use.

“We would’ve had to try to budget our money to afford a $10,000 drier and that money’s just not there,” Bruggeman said.

He said administration is appreciative of the fact that it saved them a lot of money. It’s a trend other fire stations may soon be following.

“This is our prototype. I think its gonna work out great,” Bruggeman said.

Story courtesy WDTN.

Story courtesy WDTN.