Sunday, February 21, 2010

North Charleston Fire Department receives grant to protect firefighters’ health

North Charleston’s Fire Department will receive $254,102 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under its 2009 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The grant requires a $50,820 match, which was approved unanimously by the North Charleston Finance Committee on the Thursday, February 18, 2010. The match requires final approval at City Council on Thursday, February 25, 2010.

The funds received from FEMA will be used to install 26 vehicle exhaust removal systems to be placed in city fire stations. The systems utilize a source capture system that removes exhaust directly from the apparatuses to be expelled directly to outside air.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the most effective means is to connect a hose (to the exhaust pipe of all vehicles) that ventilates exhaust to the outside. This reduces the carbon monoxide, oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, and unburned or partially burned hydrocarbons that are present, as well as the amount of particulates that are often inhaled. Diesel emissions contain many different chemicals that have been found to have a negative effect on firefighters’ health.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have declared human exposure to diesel exhaust as a potential occupational carcinogenic hazard. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded in a report made public on Sept. 3, 2002 that long-term exposure to diesel engine exhaust in the air is linked to lung cancer. In addition, NIOSH states that vehicle exhaust fumes are a potential health carcinogen and recommends that occupational exposure to this carcinogen be lowered to the lowest feasible concentration.

North Charleston Fire Chief Gregory A. Bulanow stated, “A fire station combines living quarters with a garage where exposure to diesel exhaust will occur regularly without these systems. I am very pleased that we were awarded this grant to help us maintain our commitment to the long term health and safety of our firefighters.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

North Charleston's 2010 State of the City

North Charleston's 2010 State of the City Address presented by Mayor R. Keith Summey at City Council on Thursday, January 28, 2010.