Coon Rapids veterans donated thousands of dollars to the Fire Department to help preserve protective gear Dec. 15.

The Coon Rapids VFW donated $15,500 to the Coon Rapids Fire Department for turnout gear dryers in stations one and two. The specialized dryers will help improve the life span of fire fighter turnout gear.

“After it goes through the washer, we put it in a conventional commercial tumble dryer, which really beats them up — it takes a lot of the life out of them, and each set is approximately $2,500,” Chief John Piper said.

Washing and drying the gear is critical after each fire. Not only does turnout gear get dirty, but washing also removes carcinogenic material that may have clung to the gear, according to Piper.

The new dryers are similar to a cabinet. Instead of the gear tumble drying, it is hung up, and warm air flows over the gear.

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