COLUMBUS – Thirty-nine Ohio fire departments will share $376,517 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 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.
The village of Versailles received a grant for $9,294, which will be used to purchase 52 barrier hoods and 52 pairs of washable gloves.
“Our first responders deserve the best tools to protect them against the dangers of fighting a fire,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison. “Those dangers include toxins and carcinogens that linger on equipment after the firefight is over. With these grants, firefighters across Ohio can purchase equipment that guards against these long-term dangers to their health.”
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.
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 bwc.ohio.gov.