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Firefighter attends meeting with Homeland Security
ARLINGTON — An Arlington firefighter and EMT recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to work with the Department of Homeland Security on developing the next generation of personal protective gear for all first responders, and on Monday, July 15, he reported the results of that trip to Arlington’s mayor and City Council.
Steve Daggett was chosen by Arlington Fire Chief Bruce Stedman to represent the city and fire department of Arlington in the nation’s capitol from June 26-27, and the feedback Stedman received from the event’s organizers not only praised Daggett for his input, but asked if he could become a regular participant in the group’s meetings.
Daggett’s June 26-27 trip cost taxpayers nothing, since it was funded by members of the Rotary Club of Arlington and the command staff of the Arlington Fire Department, and Stedman informed Mayor Barb Tolbert and the City Council that Homeland Security had agreed to cover the expenses of any future such trips.
“Steve has impressed the heck out of us with his expertise and drive, so I told Homeland Security, ‘You guys need him,’” Stedman said. “It turns out they agreed.”
Daggett was excited to meet with the developers of potential base ensembles, that would be designed to be worn under civilian clothes or uniforms, while offering resistance to fire, ballistics, chemicals and blood-borne pathogens, as well as being cost-effective.
“What I learned is that this almost never happens, where everyone comes together in one room like that,” said Daggett, who was excited to speak with developers about not only breathable yet durable base ensembles for personal protective gear, but also equipment such as hands-free head-mounted thermal imaging. “They were very interested in getting the city of Arlington to test out their equipment. Developers apparently find it hard to reach out to first responder agencies like ours, but I made it clear that we’re very easy to deal with. Their objectives are very clear, and the same as ours — safety, effectiveness and the reduction of liability.”
City Council member Chris Raezer told Daggett that he eagerly anticipated the possibility of such state-of-the-art technology being brought to Arlington, while fellow Council member Debora Nelson thanked not only Daggett for representing Arlington well, but also Stedman for nurturing such motivated firefighters.
“From here, we look forward to seeing where this takes us,” Tolbert said.