Grant to enhance firefighter safety in Bazetta

BAZETTA — A grant totaling nearly $11,400 will help keep firefighters in Bazetta safer.

Trustees last week approved the Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements Grant and then approved resolutions to purchase 25 pairs of firefighting gloves, 25 firefighting hoods and a gear washer.

The washer will hold two sets of gear while cleaning a variety of different carcinogens, biohazards and blood-borne pathogens, fire Chief Dennis Lewis said. He said the hoods are specially lined to block carcinogen particulates and the gloves will provide firefighters with a second pair.

“It helps prevent cancer,” Fiscal Officer Rita Drew added.

Firefighters are 14 percent more likely to develop cancer than the average person, Lewis said.

“A lot of it has to do with the materials in peoples’ houses,” Lewis said. “Everything was made of natural fibers, but now everything is basically plastic.” Lewis said the hydrocarbon from burning plastic is killing firefighters.

“It’s all about safety,” Lewis said. “I have to protect the community and the people protecting the community.”

By receiving the grant and implementing the new equipment, Lewis said the township will also save tax dollars that might have gone toward workers’ compensation.

If a firefighter gets cancer, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will cover them for up to ten years after an incident under the new firefighter cancer presumption law, Lewis said.

The grant was created to reduce dangerous environmental element exposure among firefighters according to the bureau.

Lewis said the equipment will be delivered and installed within the next few days.

By providing the equipment, Lewis said he hopes his firefighters won’t have to worry about cancer when they retire.

lcummins@tribtoday.com

By the numbers

$9,496 — Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements Grant amount

$1,899 — Local match for grant from Bazetta Township

$7,945 — Cost of a gear washer

$2,100 — Cost of 25 firefighting hoods

$1,350 — Cost of 25 pairs of firefighting gloves

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