South Fulton firefighters will be receiving more than $1 million worth of new equipment.

The department is purchasing new self-contained breathing apparatus and personal protective equipment that will replace sets due to expire in the next few months, according to Freddie Broome, chief of the South Fulton Fire Rescue Department.

“As fire chief, I am responsible for ensuring we keep our firefighters safe and that they return home in the same condition they reported to work,” Broome said. “We owe this to their families. The new equipment will help ensure our firefighters operate effectively and efficiently while serving and protecting our citizens.”

The breathing apparatus provides safe air in situations where smoke and other contaminants make air unfit to breathe. In addition, firefighters will be fitted with personal protective equipment, including jackets, coats, pants, helmets, boots, hoods and gloves.

Each breathing apparatus features an integrated thermal-imaging camera that allows firefighters to see in dark and smoke-filled environments. That ability improves the speed and effectiveness of searching for occupants, rescuing injured firefighters and extinguishing fires.

The new air packs also are equipped with wireless connections that allow others to monitor a firefighter’s position from a remote location.

In another move to improve firefighter safety, Broome recently implemented a cancer reduction program after learning that research revealed a link between fighting fires and an increased rate of cancer.

“Firefighters are encouraged to clean their PPE after every fire,” Broome said. “However, many of our firefighters do not have two sets of PPEs. We are excited that the addition of over 100 sets of new turnout gear is a major step toward issuing our firefighters two sets of gear and enhancing the department’s cancer reduction program.”

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