The Strasburg Fire Department has received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build an exhaust removal system in the fire station.
Milton Painter, the interim president for the department, said that a number of fire departments, particularly larger departments, have invested in the exhaust removal systems in recent years because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified diesel exhaust as a potential carcinogen.
“It’s a system designed to minimize the exposure to carcinogenic materials that are in diesel exhaust,” Painter said.
The system, which the Strasburg Fire Department has not previously had, operates by capturing diesel exhaust when vehicles in the fire station turn on.
“It’s kind of like the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner, for lack of a better word,” Painter said.
The grant gives the Fire Department $52,143 to fund the system. Painter said that the grant will be fully funded by the federal government and will not require any matching funds from the department.
Painter said that the Fire Department first started the process of applying for the grant in 2017 or 2016 and just recently heard back. U.S Rep Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, sent an email to the department on Friday congratulating them on the decision.
“Congress makes tough decisions in appropriating taxpayer dollars and I know these funds are an important priority as you think about the health and safety of your firefighters,” the email stated.
Painter estimated that the installation of the new system would likely be completed toward the end of 2018 or in early 2019.
In addition to the exhaust system grant, Painter said that the Fire Department has applied for another grant with FEMA that would pay for new gear for the department.
Much of the gear the department currently has, Painter said, is older than its 10-year lifespan.
If the department receives that grant, it would replace 50 sets of gear.