NORTHFIELD VILLAGE — Firefighters at the Northfield Village station will breathe cleaner air thanks to a federal grant and a little bit of matching money.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announced recently the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded $41,429 to the Northfield Village Fire Department for operations and safety through the Assistance to Firefighters grants program.

"Ohio firefighters and first responders work every day to protect our families," said Brown. "We must support our first responder organizations so communities like Northfield have the resources to shield families and homes from fire hazards."

Fire Chief Jason Buss said the department is very excited to land the grant money, which will be used to install diesel exhaust removal systems at the Northfield Road station.

Studies have shown that firefighters are much more likely to contract various cancers than the general public, and Buss said removing harmful exhaust fumes from the stations would go a long way toward creating a more healthy environment for firefighters.

Buss said the village is responsible for coming up with $2,071 as its share of the diesel exhaust removal system cost.

Buss explained the exhaust removal system consists of tubes being connected to fire vehicles to vent the fumes outside the building, thus enhancing the health of firefighters. "Being exposed to fumes can cause affect a person’s heart, lungs and skin," he said.

The AFG program supports fire departments across the country to ensure the safety of first responders and the public.

The program provides funds for supplemental training, upgrades to protective equipment, facility modifications, and other supplies that protect firefighters and first responders in moments of crisis.

Grants are awarded to fire department-based and non-affiliated EMS organizations that best address the priorities of the AFG program.

Recently, the Macedonia Fire Department received an Assistance to Firefighters grant for exhaust removal systems at the Macedonia, Northfield Center Township and Sagamore HIlls Township stations. That grant amounted to $138,270, with the city having to chip in $12,000.

The Twinsburg Fire Department also was awarded a FEMA grant recently for $80,000, which it will use for a new fire suppression system at Station 1.

Buss said the Northfield department received a $15,000 grant last year, which was used to purchase new hoods and gloves. He said grants free up money the village has available for other fire equipment such as turnout gear and rescue tools.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or klahmers@recordpub.com