BWC awards $315,000 in grants to protect Ohio firefighters

Submitted by OHIO BWC

COLUMBUS –Thirty-one Ohio fire departments will share $315,769 in grants from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation under a program to protect firefighters from carcinogens and other harmful health hazards encountered by firefighters during their daily work activities.

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.

“Firefighters are routinely placed in harm’s way while performing their job duties, because they are threatened by both acute injury and long-term health complications,” said Dr. Abe Al-Tarawneh, superintendent of BWC’s division of safety and hygiene. “Protecting them from harm keeps them healthy and on the job, and that means our communities are safer, too.”

To date, BWC has awarded 496 grants totaling $5.1 million.

Locally, Woodville Township in Sandusky County was given $15,000 to purchase one extractor, 30 gloves and 30 hoods. 

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