COLUMBUS — Seventy-five Ohio fire departments will share $745,000 in grants from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation under a program to protect firefighters from carcinogens and other harmful elements encountered during a firefight.
The fire departments are receiving 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 it’s cleaned properly.
Originally funded at $2 million a year, BWC increased funding for the program due to heavy demand and has now awarded more than $3.3 million to 324 fire departments statewide. Thursday, BWC announced the creation of similar grant programs targeted to police and school safety.
Grant recipients in the Lima area include:
• Invincible Fire Company (Allen County)
$5,580 to purchase 36 particulate hoods and 36 washable gloves
• Uniopolis Volunteer Fire Company (Auglaize County)
$4,510 to purchase 22 particulate hoods and 22 washable gloves
• Burkettsville Community Fire Department (Mercer County)
$13,567 to purchase one extractor, 46 hoods with barrier protection and 23 washable gloves
• Rockford Community Fire Company (Mercer County)
$11,130.71 to purchase one extractor/washer
• St. Henry Volunteer Fire Department (Mercer County)
$14,966 to purchase one extractor/washer and 30 washable hoods
• Village of Leipsic (Putnam County)
$5,850.83 to purchase one extractor with base
The grant program, announced as a component of BWC’s 2017 rebate, 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. More about the program is available at bwc.ohio.gov.