Auburn City firefighters add new safety measures to their routine

By: Mary West
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Auburn City Fire Department firefighters have added new safety measures to their routine after the work related cancer death of Engineer Trent Lindholdt this spring. Firefighters have a 9 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer and 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the general U.S. population, per a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study.

Auburn City Firefighters now use special disposable wipes to wipe skin of toxic residue common in structure fires. After a fire is extinguished firefighters don a paper N95 mask while working in the structure to reduce inhalation of carcinogens. Firefighters also separate themselves as soon as possible from their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and the clothing they wear into structures, called turnout gear, by putting them in plastic bags and storing them on the exterior of the engine until they are cleaned.

“We have taken our safety measures to another level,” said Auburn City Firefighter Intern Anthony Hess.  “I haven’t been here long but what I have seen is an environment of caring for one another because they have seen a fellow firefighter fall.”

“The less firefighters are exposed to toxicities the better,” added Auburn City Fire Department Engineer Neil Bennett. “These measures limit our exposure, hopefully prolonging our lives.”

Engineer Trent Lindholdt was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer in November of 2017. Lindholdt died on April 10. He was 47 years old. Lindholdt’s name will be placed on the firefighter memorial in Sacramento Sept. 29.