Updated: FEMA approves GFD grant
By Sarah Einselen
The Galion Fire Department received notification on Wednesday, Feb. 1, from Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that the department’s application for a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant was approved. The $50,000 grant will be used to purchase ventilated fire gear storage and equipment to eliminate diesel exhaust from the city building, chief Phil Jackson said.
“FEMA, as I do, recognized the inherent dangers of constant exposure to toxic fumes and carcinogens on our firefighters as well as all other city employees that work at the municipal building,” Jackson said.
Of the $50,705 included in the grant, $48,170 will come from the federal government and Galion will pick up 5 percent, or $2,535.
The equipment to be purchased includes a vehicle-mounted diesel exhaust module for every truck, as well as non-porous gear storage systems that allow air to ventilate the gear. The current, wooden storage systems do not allow for ventilation.
“The city building is an older building and is not completely isolated from other connected city departments,” said Gene Toy, city manager. “As a result all municipal building employees are, to a degree, exposed to the fumes and contaminants from the fire department trucks. This system will eliminate this dangerous exposure to all who work at the city building as well as the general public that may visit.”
The grant was one of 362 grants totaling about $68 million that were awarded this week through the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, according to figures from the grant program’s website. Shelby’s fire department was one of 35 other Ohio departments that just received grants. Its grant, approximately $75,000, will go toward purchasing equipment for the department and personal protective equipment for the firefighters.
The 991 grants awarded year-to-date total $185.5 million for fiscal year 2011, not counting each fire department’s matching 5 percent.
Another FEMA grant that the Galion department applied for was denied for 2011. That grant would have funded the purchase of a replacement fire truck, Jackson said. The city recovery plan and budget included appropriations for the purchase in the case the grant was not obtained.