Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee allocated $1 million for the FDNY Decontamination Specialization Unit to purchase and install new equipment necessary for cleaning firefighters’ equipment, Lee announced on Tuesday, March 17.
The only FDNY Decontamination Specialization Unit in the city is located at 104-32 43 Ave., in Corona. It’s equipment is old and doesn’t operate at full efficiency, leaving firefighters more susceptible to carcinogens picked up on the job.
“These necessary upgrades are an earnest step toward the ultimate goal of equipping all 51 Queens firehouses each with their own washing and drying systems in the near future,” Lee said. “Time is a luxury, however, and with the necessary capital now fully secured, we hope work can first begin at least on the FDNY Decontamination Specialization Unit located here in Queens. In the Borough of Families, this is a deliberate investment into more birthdays for our first responders and their families, who are often directly or inadvertently exposed to various, dangerous toxins in the line of duty.”
The staff at the FDNY Decontamination Specialization Unit is responsible for cleaning and decontaminating gear and equipment used by firefighters and EMTs across the city. Last year, over 47,000 pieces of gear were decontaminated at the site, Lee said.
Despite the high volume of work, the current equipment is not properly ventilated, which causes the facility to overheat. It also increases the time it takes for gear to dry.
The influx of funds will allow for the FDNY to purchase and install new models of equipment and exhaust ductwork, which are expected to result in a faster drying processes.
The equipment is important – it cleans off gear that has been contaminated with carcinogens caused by fires.
“Cancer has taken the lives of far too many members of the FDNY family,” said Daniel Nigro, commissioner of the FDNY. “We know this investment will make a substantial impact in the lives of those who bravely serve our city.”