BWC awards grants to protect Ohio firefighters

Staff report

COLUMBUS – Thirty-three Ohio fire departments will share $331,112 in grants from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) under a new program to reduce firefighters’ exposure to toxic environmental elements.

The fire departments (listed below) are receiving the funding under BWC’s Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements Grant Program, which provides $2 million a year to help departments purchase safety gear and equipment designed to protect firefighters from carcinogens and other harmful elements encountered during a fire fight.

“We have received an outstanding response to this new program,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison. “While their jobs will continue to be among the most dangerous, we’re pleased the firefighting community recognizes the importance of prevention in reducing injuries and illnesses.”

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.

Osgood Community Volunteer Fire Company in Darke County received a grant for $14,335 to purchase one extractor/washer, 29 sets of washable gloves and 58 barrier hoods.

The grant program, announced in April as a component of BWC’s Third Billion Back rebate plan, provides a 5-to-1 match, up to $15,000, for public and private employers with annual payroll of at least $500,000. No match is required for employers with less than $500,000 in payroll. Learn more about the program at

Staff report