GFFR seeking grant for safety, decontamination and wellness equipment
Great Falls Fire Rescue is applying for a grant from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant for safety and decontamination equipment.
GFFR is applying for $188,879.52, which if approved, the city’s match would be $17,170.87 and would come from GFFR’s safety equipment account.
The tentative announcement for the grant is September or October, according to GFFR.
In early March, the City Commission voted to authorize the grant application submittal.
The grant would fund the purchase of specialized decontamination equipment that can remove particulates from the fire hoses, turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatus units after a fire has been extinguished, according to GFFR. It would fund a fire hose washer, SCBA washer, tornout washers, extra sets of turnouts and workout equipment, which according to GFFR, would complete their safety program and reduce the exposure risks for firefighters.
“Currently, GFFR has implemented a clean cab policy and post-fire rehabilitation procedures to minimize the potentials for exposure to carcinogens that can cause cancer from the byproducts of fire,” according to GFFR. “GFFR has implemented a mental health and wellness program that encompasses living healthy lives as one way to combat the effects of first responder work. Part of this is having accessibility to equipment to work out and relieve stress and anxiety. GFFR has converted racquetball courts in small gym facilities to allow access to this equipment and have an area established for the program. The current equipment has been donated or purchased decades earlier and GFFR has no sustainment account to upgrade or purchase new equipment for the purposes of maintaining the health and wellness of our firefighters.”
Currently, according to the grant application:
- GFFR currently doesn’t have any mechanism to effectively decontaminate SCBA harnesses and
bottles that are used during a fire;
- GFFR doesn’t have any mechanism to properly decontaminate fire hoses after a fire to remove all
products of combustion from the hose;
- with the addition of 2 PPE (personal protection equipment) extractors and the replacement of one worn out extractor, all of the city’s
fire stations will have a machine to properly decontaminate PPE post fire and return the PPE to service
- GFFR currently has no funding availability to upgrade wellness equipment to meet the needs of their program.
GFFR applied for the grant last year and received funding to install a diesel exhaust removal system in all four fire stations.
The equipment funded by this grant request would allow GFFR to improve their post-fire decontamination procedures.