BWC awards grants to protect area firefighters

R-H Staff

COLUMBUS – Seventy-five Ohio fire departments will share $745,000 in grants from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) under a program to protect firefighters from carcinogens and other harmful elements encountered during a fire fight. Among those departments receiving the grants was the City of Eaton Fire & EMS Division.

Eaton Fire & EMS was awarded $10,904.16 to purchase one extractor/washer and 40 barrier washable hoods, according to the BWC.

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 it’s cleaned properly.

“Ohio’s firefighting community is confronting the Cancer threat head-on by equipping their stations and officers with tools that can protect their health now and into the future,” said Abe Al-Tarawneh, superintendent of BWC’s division of safety and hygiene. “I’m pleased BWC was able to identify and meet this need for hundreds of fire departments across the state.”

Originally funded at $2 million a year, BWC increased funding for the program due to heavy demand and has now awarded more than $3.3 million to 324 fire departments statewide. Yesterday, BWC announced the creation of similar grant programs targeted to police and school safety.

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

R-H Staff