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Winnipeg firefighting equipment that has reached its lifespan is finding new life around the world, and right here in Winnipeg.

In our city, it takes about $5000 to equip a firefighter with all the essentials including their bunker coat, helmet, pants, boots, gloves and hood.

"Firefighter protective equipment is very specialized. It goes through rigorous amounts of testing and what happens is, after about a 10 year period you need to review your gear and make sure that it is still meeting standards," explained Jay Shaw, assistant chief with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) mandates that turnout gear only has a lifespan of 10 years, even if it still meets some sections.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service has partnered with Firefighters without Borders to give that equipment a new lease on life, where NFPA and other standards to not apply.

Gear from Winnipeg has been delivered to countries in Central America and a number of cities in Mexico, where access to this type of gear is unreachable due to the cost.

"Some of these fire services across Central America, Mexico and areas that may be considered more vulnerable, do not have the robust budget to get brand new fire service equipment and medical equipment. So when we can donate, it definitely adds a level of resiliency and safety for those communities," said Shaw.

Other equipment, such as decommissioned fire hoses also find new homes right here in Winnipeg. The repurposed hoses are often donated to community centres to be used to flood hockey rinks. The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service also donates them to the Assiniboine Park Zoo where they are used to make balls and hammocks for zoo animals.

"You try not to let it go to waste, because there is value to it," explained Shaw. "Any opportunity that we have as the City of Winnipeg to make sure that those tax dollars are being used appropriately and can be repurposed to help other people, we try and take advantage of that."

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