The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company received $141,645 to upgrade the exhaust systems in its two firehouses. The $141,645 grant was from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This grant was fantastic because the exhaust system is not something the firehouse could have afforded.
When the volunteer firefighters currently do the weekly maintenance on the vehicles and test the engines and pumps, they do it outside to let the diesel fumes drift into the air. The benefit of the new exhaust system will allow the firefighters to do maintenance inside the building. This cuts down on potential carcinogens in the air and protects the firefighters.
A Plymovent Vehicle Exhaust System was purchased from the Plymovent Corporation costing about $150,000. The DHS grant covered 95 percent of the cos and the fire company paid around $8,300. A Plymovent Vehicle Exhaust System with a fan was installed at the two firehouses–the headquarters location and its ambulance service facility on Route 133. Each of the fire trucks and two ambulances each got its own exhaust hose to run from the tailpipe to the building’s exhaust system fan.
Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company was one of about 5,000 fire departments and first responder organizations nationally receiving grants from the DHS as part of the Fiscal Year 2006 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. That year a total of $485 million was given out. The AFG program, established in 2001 by the DHS was “basically started as a response to bring fire companies up to a basic level of operating standard,” said Branda Napper, DHS spokesperson. A fire company or response agency must use the money for training, equipment, personal protection equipment, wellness and fitness, or health and safety modifications. The awards are being given out late because it took the DHS a long time to go through the 18,000 applications it received.