SHARP COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - An Arkansas law passed earlier in 2017 requires all fire departments to acquire access to special equipment to wash turnouts within the next few years.
Some counties are already getting their plan in place.
The new mandate is tied to state aid money for Arkansas fire departments, so if a department does not have a washer-extractor that they can use by 2022, then they will not receive their Act 833 money.
A department can either buy their own washer-extractor capable of 100 g-forces or enter into an agreement to use the machine at another department.
"A lot of our smaller departments will be signing agreements with larger departments," Sharp County Fire Coordinator Kal Deints said.
Sharp County departments are already discussing how they will handle this new requirement.
Cave City Fire Department plans to buy a machine next year and the Highland Fire Department will use their state aid money to buy one in 2019.
"Washer-extractors are necessary because it's the g-force that actually removes the carcinogens from our turnout gear," Deints said. "A lot of standard washers, which is what a lot of departments use now, don't necessarily spin fast enough to remove those from the turnouts."
Deints urges all departments to start discussing their plan because right now there are a couple of years to get an agreement together, but it is a large purchase and he would hate to see a department lose thousands of dollars in aid because they didn't plan ahead.
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