Township secures funds to protect firefighters from respiratory disease, cancer

A Butler County fire department is one of 31 across Ohio that 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 during their daily work activities.

The Reily Twp. Fire Department is receiving $14,544 to purchase one extractor, 56 hoods and 30 gloves 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, according to the BWC.

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“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, in a statement. “Protecting them from harm keeps them healthy and on the job, and that means our communities are safer, too.”

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

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