BWC awards $693,000 in grants to protect Ohio firefighters

Submitted by Ohio BWC

COLUMBUS – Sixty-four Ohio fire departments will share $693,000 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 its cleaned properly.

“BWC is pleased to be a part of growing efforts to protect firefighters from cancer,” said Dr. Abe Al-Tarawneh, superintendent of BWC’s division of safety and hygiene. “The more awareness that’s raised, and the more tools we get into the hands of fire departments, the better protected firefighters will be from these dangers associated with an already very risky job.”

Local grant recipients include:

  • Berlin Township/Erie County (Erie County) – $15,000 to purchase one extractor, 41 hoods and 41 pairs of gloves.
  • City of Vermilion (Erie County) – $12,516.66 to purchase one extractor and 60 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 bwc.ohio.gov.