December 1, 2018

Dear Plainfield Friends,

Each year, your generous contributions help the Plainfield Volunteer Firefighters Association provide financial support to the Plainfield Fire-EMS Department for projects that exceed the department’s annual town budget. You make it possible for the town to operate a volunteer department of a quality that larger towns with larger budgets strive for. In the last year, your donations purchased upgraded radio technology. In previous years, you acquired vehicle stabilization tools, a thermal imager and more. This year, we are writing to ask for your help in helping protect our firefighters from cancer.

Thirty or forty years ago, cancer was not considered an issue in the fire service, certainly not among the roster of the volunteer Plainfield Firefighters and EMTs. Responders took pride in how dirty their fire gear was and breathed in what we now know are toxic diesel fumes that filled the garage bays while they waited for fire apparatus to build enough air pressure to release their brakes before responding. As building and motor vehicle construction changed and more items in homes and vehicles were made out of plastic and other synthetic materials, the smoke given off by their combustion became even more hazardous. Call after call, year after year, your fire department responded to your requests for help.

Firefighters everywhere now have self-contained breathing apparatus to keep from breathing these fumes within a burning building or near a burning vehicle.  Our 10 year old Public Safety Complex, like most newer fire stations, has air filtration systems that come on automatically when fire apparatus starts or returns to the building. Despite having safety tools like these, the Boston Fire Department is seeing a huge jump in the number of their firefighters fighting many forms of cancer. If it’s in Boston, it’s here too. One of the hazards that has been identified is contact with cancer-causing residue on firefighting turnout gear. Your fire officers recognize this issue and want to do everything they can to protect our firefighters from coming in contact with contaminants from hazardous environments.

We need your help to provide a way to effectively remove contaminants from firefighter turnout gear after an incident. We need to purchase a Continental commercial washer/extractor and dryer. These units clean up to four sets of turnout gear at a time. They are designed to wash and “extract” potential hazardous materials attached to the gear after an incident. This specialized equipment is not cheap; we expect up pay as much as $20,000 for the full system. This must happen now, and your support of our goal of personal protection for all Plainfield volunteer firefighters is the only way we will overcome the financial challenge.The cost is steep, but the potential to protect our most valuable assets, your firefighters and EMTs, is worth every penny. These are your friends, your neighbors, who are committed to protecting our small town. Will you step forward and help us to reach our critical goal?

We hope you will support our Annual Fund Drive through a tax-deductible donation. Checks save credit card processing fees and can be made out to the PVFA and mailed to:

PVFA, c/o Treasurer Andy Stevens, 815 West Main Street, Plainfield, MA 01070

Credit card donations can be made below. Please consider adding a few dollars extra for fees.

As always, thanks for your support and for making Plainfield a true community and a safe place to live.

PVFA, supporting Plainfield’s volunteer firefighters and EMTs

We are a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. Our IRS EIN is 04-3283889.