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Firefighters pay tribute to fallen comrades

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Today marks 14 years since the September 11th terror attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The Grande Prairie Fire Department held a memorial service this morning in honour of all firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Firefighter Ian MacDonald argues the loss of 411 emergency workers in the attacks helped bring greater awareness to the daily dangers they face.

“September 11th really just brought to light what we do as a profession, and the need to support us as a profession in having good equipment, having adequate manning on trucks, having reliable equipment, proper personal protective equipment.”

MacDonald says they continuously strive to improve safety, and most recently, members now have two sets of gear. That means they can take off their protective equipment immediately after a fire, cutting down on the time spent in a suit covered in carcinogens. They also have wipes on hand for exposed areas of their body at highest risk for cancer.

“We wipe down, and then when we get back to the hall, the guys that were inside immediately have a shower. Guys take proper control of their gear that gets washed immediately. It seems like a little thing, but the rate of cancer within the fire service as a result of these things is staggering.”

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They’re also working on improving resources for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, including having local people who are trained to deal with the traumas first responders encounter.

Fire Department Sept 11 2015

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