Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson

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Her Eagle Scout project was to help local firefighters stay healthy

She is a member of a Virginia all female troop of the Boy Scouts and she concluded her Eagle Scout project presenting local firefighters with a gear-drying device that can help its members stay healthy.

Micah Peay, a 17-year-old High School senior, created the piece of equipment to allow firefighters to hang their gear to dry once it has been cleaned, a process “crucial in the fight against firefighter cancer."

The department said that cancer is the leading cause of death for firefighters in the line of duty, causing 61% of deaths since 2002. While firefighting gear is made to protect the first responders, it contains toxins that can be absorbed by firefighters’ skin when exposed to heat.

When returning to the fire house, crew members remove their personal protective equipment and place it an a commercial-grade “extractor,” or large washing machine, to remove toxins, according to the department’s release. Once cleaned, the gear has to dry in a commercial clothes dryer or air-dry in the fire station’s vehicle bays. Micha's creation allows for air provided by a blower motor to pass through the gear’s fabric and speed up the drying process.

The county has four extractors and four dryers for all of its firefighters, it said. Contaminated gear has to be transported to the site of a washer and dryer to be cleaned.” The cost of a new extractor and dryer pair is about $20,000. She presented her drying device to the Cave Spring Volunteer Fire Department Tuesday afternoon, will help the department avoid the cost of new fire protection and cleaning equipment.


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