The departments will share $426,000 in grants from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) under a program to protect firefighters from carcinogens and other harmful health hazards encountered by firefighters during their daily work activities.
Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department was awarded $13,860, which it used to purchase an extractor, 27 hoods and 27 gloves for the men. Because the department is run by volunteers and has a payroll under $500,000 there was no monetary match needed to earn the funds.
The fire departments received the funding under BWC’s Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements Grant Program, which helps departments purchase safety gear, exhaust systems and specialized washing machines. Because residue collected on firefighters’ gear during a blaze can cause respiratory disease, cancer and other ailments, it is important not only to wear appropriate protective gear, but also to ensure its cleaned properly.
“Firefighters face life-threatening exposure to harmful materials even after dousing a blaze, and those are the threats we’re targeting with this grant program,” said Dr. Abe Al-Tarawneh, superintendent of BWC’s division of safety and hygiene. “The program is helping to bring this important protective equipment to fire departments across the state."
Fire chief Ed Eden could not be reached for comment.