New equipment enhances Twinsburg fire department's safety

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
Twinsburg firefighter Dan Woll adjusts one of the protective helmets the department recently acquired to protect firefighters and paramedics from the novel coronavirus, in this photo taken Jan. 28.

TWINSBURG – The Twinsburg Fire Department’s healthcare personnel will be safer with the purchase of 24 Power Air-Purifying Respirators.

The PAPR units, which were paid for through funds from the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, cost about $1,550 each, and are air-purifying respirators that work to protect health care personnel from aerosolized pathogens, said Lt. John Dunn, fire inspector and investigator.

“The PAPR units will be worn for high-risk aerosol-generating procedures,” said Steve Bosso, assistant fire chief and CIO. “The respirators meet CDC guidelines for protection against many types of exposures.”

Dunn said that the PAPR units include a helmet or hood that covers the user’s head.

“There is a spacious plastic face shield which allows others to see the entire face of the user,” Dunn said. “The helmet or hood is connected with a hose to a battery-powered filter that forces air into the system through a HEPA filter. The helmet or hood is connected with a hose to a battery powered filter that forces air into the system through a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air.”

A HEPA filter, Dunn said, is a type of mechanical air filter that forces air through a fine mesh. This mesh traps particles like pollen, pet dander, dust mites and tobacco smoke.

“The PAPR units can run continually for approximately eight hours and increase protection and comfort of the user,” Dunn said.

The fire department also used money from the CARES Act funds to purchase Victory Professional Cordless Electrostatic Handheld Spraying units.

Twinsburg firefighter Ryan Nutter sprays down equipment at the Twinsburg Fire Department.

“These units are carried on each ambulance and allow the paramedics to disinfect the ambulance after each call quickly and more efficiently,” Dunn said.

Victory Innovations is in Twinsburg, Dunn said. He added the units cost about $700 each.

“It is interesting to watch the spray connect to all surfaces,” Dunn said.

In addition, Twinsburg Firefighters Local 3630 received a $500 donation from #Frontlineproud, which was used to purchase each member new safety glasses and custom masks with the department’s union logo.

Joe Schuerger, a firefighter/paramedic with the department, said that around 30 members of Twinsburg Firefighters Local 3630 received a mask and safety glasses, and there were plans to purchase more to be used as spares or for new staff members. The masks were obtained through Badlime Promo & Apparel in Twinsburg.

“We have to wear masks every day in the administration buildings and in public,” Schueger said. “The masks are being used every day by our members, and the eye glasses are a higher quality than the ones we had.”

Ron Burns, who co-founded #Frontlineproud and is Schueger’s father-in-law, said the Tiffin-based organization aims to help front-line workers such as police, fire and hospital workers with funding items such as PPE and equipment to providing meals for staff. To date, #Frontlineproud has given away about $25,000 to date to front-line workers, he said.

“Hopefully it makes someone’s life a little easier, a little happier as they get through this pandemic,” Burns said.

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