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Thirty-eight Ohio fire departments will share $406,270 in grants from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation under a new program to reduce firefighters’ exposure to toxic environmental elements, the bureau announced on Friday.
The fire departments are the first in the state to receive funding under the bureau’s new Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements Grant Program, which provides $2 million a year to help departments purchase safety gear and equipment designed to protect firefighters from carcinogens and other harmful elements encountered during a fire fight, the bureau said in a statement.
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, the bureau stated.
“The dangers of fighting a fire do not stop when the flames are extinguished,” Sarah Morrison, bureau administrator and CEO, said in the statement. “The men and women who risk their lives to save ours deserve access to the best equipment and tools that can minimize long-term threats to their health and well-being.”
Business owners, fraudulent claimants and a health care provider who attempted to steal from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation are among eight convictions secured by the agency in August, the bureau announced on Friday.