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Westfield Insurance pays for Wadsworth fire/EMS gear

WADSWORTH — New hoods, gloves and fire wipes are in the works for the Wadsworth Fire and EMS Department after receiving a $9,000 grant from the Westfield Insurance Foundation.

Chief Robert Lindner said Monday the grant will enable the department to purchase new turnout gear that is better at preventing exposure to carcinogens.

“The big thing we are finding is through skin absorption, mostly around the neck and the wrist,” Lindner said of exposure.

The new hoods, which firefighters wear under their helmets, have a barrier that helps block the carcinogens from being absorbed into the skin, the chief said.

“(It) doesn’t block 100 percent, but most of it,” he said.

The check was presented to the department from members of Westfield Insurance and The O’Neill Group, a Westfield independent insurance agency in Wadsworth, at the city’s North Lyman Street fire station.

The grant is a part of the Westfield Legacy of Caring Program, which invited The O’Neill Group to nominate a local organization for funding.

“This is one of our most special things we can offer to our agencies in the funding of foundational money in terms of offering local funds to local services that are in need,” Monica Mamer of Westfield Insurance said.

O’Neill Group President Patrick O’Neill said it is important for the agency to be involved in the Wadsworth community.

“Our roots go back to 1924, but we have been The O’Neill group since 1996,” he said. “We take our community involvement very seriously.”

Lindner said it means a lot to the department to receive the grant.

“I was excited. With grants you hope for them, but you never expect to get them,” he said. “Especially in this case, it helps benefit our people, the ones that respond out.”

Lindner said the department employs nine full-time firefighters, in addition to himself and Assistant Chief Richard Potter. The department also includes 43 volunteers that respond from home.

Linder said full-time firefighters and volunteers will receive new gear.