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Clear Spring fire hall to get exhaust system

January 02, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

CLEAR SPRING -- The Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a $71,440 federal grant to install an exhaust removal system to protect firefighters from dangerous engine-room fumes, Chief Michael Reid said.

The grant comes from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The company will use the money to install exhaust removal equipment in seven engine-room bays, Reid said. It will use source-capture systems, which connect directly to the exhaust pipes on the fire equipment, he said.

The department was relieved to learn it would receive a grant for the system, Reid said.

"It was one of these things that we absolutely needed to do, but we didn't want to pay for it out of our own pocket," he said.

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Controlling exhaust is important because breathing carcinogens from diesel exhaust can lead to lung cancer and other health problems, Reid said. Currently, the only way the department can get rid of the exhaust is to leave the doors open after leaving to air things out, he said.

"We still have some older diesels, which are extremely bad," Reid said.

Reid said he was especially determined to get an exhaust removal system after a co-worker at another fire department where he works professionally was diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of exposure to diesel exhaust, he said.

This fiscal year, the Clear Spring department also has received a grant from the state Department of Natural Resources for wildfire fighting equipment, from the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems for stabilization equipment to use in auto accidents, from the LP Snyder Fund for automatic external defibrillators and from State Farm Insurance for fire prevention efforts, Reid said.

"Especially with money getting tight, it was a pretty good year," he said.

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