Madison Heights and Hazel Park receive FEMA fire grants

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Firefighter on probation Nick Larson stands in front of Madison Heights Fire Department vehicles. The MHFD recently received a federal grant for a wellness program.

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MADISON HEIGHTS / HAZEL PARK – The Madison Heights Fire Department and Hazel Park Fire Department were recently approved for federal grants that will help fund items that improve the health and safety of their staff.

Madison Heights and Hazel Park were among five communities in Southeast Michigan that received funding under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Firefighter Assistance Grant program, also known as AFG. The other three communities were Canton, Dearborn and Dearborn Heights. In total, nearly $ 800,000 was given to the five communities.

Madison Heights will receive $ 98,589, which will be used to fund a health and wellness program. Hazel Park will receive $ 63,795 to purchase a new source capture exhaust system.

The City of Madison Heights will provide a 10% contribution to help cover the overall cost of the wellness program of $ 108,448. The initiative will include annual physical exams, cancer screenings, vaccinations and a behavioral health program. The funds will also be used to purchase new exercise equipment for the city’s two fire stations.

The Madison Heights Fire Department currently has all budgeted fire stations filled, with a staff of 32. Last year, the minimum daily manpower increased from six firefighters per day to eight.

Madison Heights Fire Chief Gregory Lelito said in an email that this was his department’s second attempt to secure a wellness and fitness grant. The department has received several other FEMA AFG awards in the past, which have included hiring additional firefighters, purchasing new safety equipment, and educational materials for fire prevention.

“The sudden death of Captain Jeff Brozich (on duty March 1) has underscored the importance of regular health checks to the entire department,” Lelito said. “The fire department is one of the most dangerous jobs. A high level of physical fitness and mental well-being is necessary to accomplish the daily tasks that we perform. This award continues our efforts to make the well-being of firefighters a top priority. Last year, the ministry implemented a cancer prevention program, and the new funding will take our firefighter health and wellness initiative to a new level.

At Hazel Park Fire Department, funds will be used to fund a source capture exhaust system, which attaches to the fire apparatus in the station’s vehicle bay, capturing the exhaust gases. toxic and safely evacuating them from the building. The current fire station system is 25 years old and nearing the end of its operational life, so a replacement was needed.

“Studies have shown that exhaust fumes stay in buildings for a long time and cause cancer,” Hazel Park Fire Chief Richard Story said in an email. “So there is a rail system near the ceiling of the bay, and a corrugated pipe is attached to the rail, one section of which hangs almost to the floor. This part is hooked to the vehicle via a quick fixture and around the truck’s exhaust pipe. When the truck starts up, the vacuum that is attached to the other end of the crawler pipe system turns on and sucks the exhaust gases through the pipe and out of the building roof, like a chimney. This hose remains attached and moves with the vehicle, until it reaches the bay door, then automatically disconnects.

Story said staffing remains a challenge for the department.

“The public service doesn’t have the circulation it once had,” Story said. “Here at HPFD, we are fortunate to have a stable workforce. We had an opening, but I managed to fill this position yesterday (August 11). We have found creative ways to attract candidates.

He said the ministry periodically seeks grants. Last year, Hazel Park received a FEMA AFG grant for new self-contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA. This grant amounted to $ 126,000 and replaced all of the ministry’s SCBAs, which were 21 years old.

“I want to thank one of my staff, firefighter Tony Galati – he wrote both grants, and without him we would fix the old equipment and look for ways to buy these items,” Story said. “Also, thanks to FEMA and AFG for setting up this grant system. It certainly helps low budget communities to operate with new, secure equipment. At HPFD, we are delighted to put this new system in place.

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