Caledonia Fire Department's drying rack

Pictured is the drying rack the Caledonia Fire Department built with donated materials from Esch Builders and Caledonia Lumber. The drying rack will reduce the time to fully dry their protective clothing from three days to three hours.

Using an image of a drying rack as their guide, the Caledonia Fire Department was able to build a drying rack of their own.

“Following just a picture we were able to put this together,” Caledonia Police Chief Kurt Zehnder said.

The materials for the project were donated by Esch Builders and Caledonia Lumber. Two local businesses who were happy to help.

“For two businesses to come together and help us like this is awesome,” Zehnder said. “A huge thank you to them both.”

The drying rack works by running air through PVC pipes with several holes punched into it, and placing the firefighter gear over those pipes. The air is moved through the pipes by an air blower similar to one used to inflate bouncy houses.

“Used to take three days to dry, now it’s three to four hours,” Zehnder said. “Both the outer and inner layers need to be washed and dried. Anything to speed up the process goes a long way.”

It is important for the department’s equipment to be properly washed and dried, as fire fighters encounter more carcinogens than the average person.

“Their are higher rates of carcinogens in fire fighting” Zehnder said.

The drying rack will aid the Caledonia Fire Department in servicing the area.

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