The Albertson Fire Department was awarded an almost $80,000 FEMA grant for the purchase of a diesel exhaust system. The department now has a year to purchase a new system.
“Every little bit helps. Anything we can do to make our jobs safer,” Fire Department Trustee Donald McMahon said.
The application was prepared by Grant-Guys Inc., an organization in Mineola that helps departments apply for federal grants.
This is the second consecutive FEMA Fire Grants award for the Albertson Fire Department.
In 2017, the department received a $26,000 FEMA grant to obtain new self-contained breathing apparatus face masks for every member. McMahon said that when he started in the department in the 1970s, firefighters did not even have breathing masks.
“FEMA grants keep taxes down, improve services to the community and improve firefighter safety,” said Tom Devaney, the director of Grant-Guys. “Albertson has been my client for almost 10 years.”
Devaney, a volunteer firefighter for the East Williston Fire Department, said his business is meant to help local firefighters get the help that they need without relying on taxpayer funds.
“Our bread and butter is the federal grant system,” Devaney said.
He said that diesel exhaust systems remove harmful cancer-causing particles from the air which are produced from the daily operation of fire vehicles. Diesel soot has been proven to be a human carcinogen as soot settles on clothing, surfaces and eating areas, Devaney said.
McMahon said the department will now search for systems to purchase. Devaney said that the department has a year to use the grant money for the diesel exhaust system.
Devaney and McMahon also stressed that Albertson and other local departments are looking for volunteers to join.
“When I was a kid there used to be waiting lists,” McMahon said.