City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUSTIN, TX…The Austin Fire Department (AFD) has been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The grant provides $210,000 over two years for the replacement of station fitness equipment and Per/Polyfluoroalkyl Substance (PFAS) testing for 100 members in the department. The grant covers the following expenses:
- Treadmills ($75,000)
- Stairmills ($42,000)
- Rowers ($12,000)
- Barbells and bumper plates ($21,000)
- PFAS blood tests for 100 members ($60,000)
The purchase of replacement treadmills, rowers, and special training exercise equipment for AFD will extend budget funds and reduce maintenance costs, as well as improve access to functioning and standard station fitness equipment. In order to identify which stations should receive replacement equipment, AFD will assess each location to identify equipment nearing the end of its expected life cycle or will need to be replaced due to frequent use.
PFAS testing assists in the identification and reduction of cancer risk. PFAS, a suspected carcinogen, is a likely contributor to the increased rates of cancer and death from cancer among firefighters across the U.S.: 9 percent and 14 percent respectively, per the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Blood testing can be used to guide any additional PFAS risk-reduction efforts AFD may want to take, especially in the areas of site mitigation and cancer screening.
The Austin Fire Department was founded on September 25, 1857 and is now one of the 20 largest departments in the country, with 52 fire stations located throughout the city and more than 1,300 employees. For more information about life-saving fire prevention, please visit www.austinfiredepartment.org.
For years, FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant has helped fire departments across the country obtain the tools, training, and emergency vehicles they need. To learn more about AFG, visit www.fema.gov/grants/preparedness/firefighters.
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