Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue receives grant to reduce cancer risks

Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue receives grant to reduce cancer risks

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue received word Friday the department is the recipient of a national grant.

The department applied for the grant last year to help reduce toxic exhaust fumes inside fire stations, which can reduce the risks of cancer.

The grant is called the Assistance to Firefighters Grant and gives money to stations that applied for needed supplies and equipment until the grant's money runs out.

It wasn't certain Myrtle Beach would get the grant, but the MBFR was awarded $227,375 Friday to purchase exhaust capture systems for five of the city's six stations.

"It's going to help us eliminate some of the cancer-causing particulates that come out of diesel fuels," MBFR Lt. Jon Evans said. "It won't be in our gear, in our clothes, in our ice anymore."

Diesel fumes from fire rescue trucks, engines and other vehicles accumulate inside fire station bays, settling in anything from uniforms to food. With repeated exposure, this leads to high cancer risks among firefighters, Evans said.

The exhaust capture systems are a ventilation system inside the bays, with a hose that hooks up to the engines to capture toxic fumes, eliminating them from settling in other objects.

Myrtle Beach Fire Station No. 6 will not receive the exhaust capture system because the station is not old enough to qualify for the grant, Evans said.

However, Evans said the department will look for money elsewhere to fund an exhaust capture system for that station as well. He said most modern stations have an exhaust capture system.

The grant must pass through the Myrtle Beach City Council.  After that, Evans said he hopes to have all of the systems installed within the next year.

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