The Woodstock Fire Department plans to install a vehicle exhaust extraction system with a recently awarded $64,761 federal grant.

“We are proud of the fact this is a national grant and we were competing against a lot of fire departments. It's the third (AFG) grant in four years that we received,” said Lt. Zach Hottel, a member of the volunteer fire department.

The system would remove the exhaust of running vehicles and fire engines from the bay of the fire station they are parked in, resulting in cleaner air.

Hottel said there has been a lot of research conducted into vehicle exhaust, especially diesel exhaust.  That research, he said, has found higher rates of cancer among those who are continually exposed to the exhaust.

“We are exposed on a daily basis,” Hottel said.

He said the particulates that are generated by exhaust when vehicle engines in the station’s bay are started are airborne and taken into the body. The contaminants also eventually settle into items in the bay where the vehicles are kept – such as the firefighters' turnout gear.

There is also public safety to consider when other people visit the station for tours or events, he said.

The department has already obtained quotes for a couple of different types of exhaust extraction systems, he said.

The grant should cover about 95 percent of the cost of the system with the department responsible for the remaining 5%. Hottel noted that the department would not be able to afford the system without the grant.

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