PIMA — Plenty of games, fun and food will be in store at the Pima Volunteer Fire Department’s third annual Big Splash Bash on Aug. 10. Held at Yellow Ribbon Park and the Pima Pool, the event begins at 5 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.
“This year, we are going to use the funds raised to help purchase a specialized washer extractor to clean our firefighting gear. I have a focus this year on cancer prevention. Structure fires expose firefighters to a deadly mix of carcinogens that has been found to significantly increase all firefighters’ chances of being diagnosed with cancer, the leading line-of-duty deaths cause for firefighters,” said Pima Volunteer Fire Department Chief Scott Howell.
“Firefighters have a 60-percent chance of dying from cancer compared to 20 percent for the rest of the population, according to the International Association of Firefighters. Firefighting is inherently dangerous. However, if there are standards or best practices that we can implement to help protect our firefighters from injury or illness, such as cancer, I am going to find a way to do it. It is recommended to wash our gear after every fire where we are exposed to these carcinogens, and this equipment will allow us to do that.”
Howell told the Courier the department recently received a safety stipend from the 100 Club of Arizona so firefighters may replace their hoods with models designed to reduce exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. Also, Howell expressed his gratitude to the club for its dedication to the safety of first responders.
“Aside from being a fund-raiser, it is also a great way to have a community event and give first responders an opportunity to connect with the community,” Howell said.