The city of Akron invited residents to have a look inside its two new fire stations at ribbon cutting ceremonies Thursday.
Residents got to see how the city is spending Issue 4 money at the fire stations in Middlebury and downtown.
Voters approved the income tax increase for the city’s fire and police forces, and to repair roads in 2017.
Station 4 downtown is Akron’s largest and busiest station. The new building houses emergency fire services as well as Summit County Hazmats and special rescue teams.
At Station 2, the department’s oldest ladder truck was replaced with a nearly $1 million truck designed specifically for the city’s needs.
Mayor Dan Horrigan referred to September 11 when he told attendees the new facilities are the least the city can do for its safety forces.
“We are fundamentally able to alter a neighborhood and our public safety forces to be able to invest back into the city, to the men and women who literally -- if you remember what the anniversary was yesterday, 18 years ago -- and to invest in their training and their infrastructure,” he said. “Everything they need on a daily basis, that’s the minimum requirement for the service they give to us.”
Replacing old gear and updating Akron’s century-old fire stations will help protect the firefighters.
“Between 64 and 68 percent of all firefighters across this county develop some type of cancer in their lifetime,” said Fire Chief Clarence Tucker. “This station is state of the art, designed to reduce those cancer causing agents that we absorb through our skin or breathe in and will help keep firefighters safe for many, many years to come.”
Before the tax increase, firefighters each had only one set of safety gear.
If they were called to a second fire, they had to wear equipment that had absorbed harmful chemicals.
Now all 14 fire stations have extractor machines, which look like large clothes dryers, but pull the toxins out of the clothing and gear worn into fires.
The station in the Wallhaven neighborhood will be replaced next.