Asheville Fire Department to apply for FEMA funding to increase firefighter safety

firefighter self contained breathing aparatus gear
For their own safety, Asheville firefighters are required to wear wear Self Contained Breathing Apparatus gear (SCBA) when on the scene of an active fire. These air compressors would refill the air bottles more quickly.


The Asheville Fire Department is requesting the authorization to apply for a FEMA Firefighters Grant of $130,910 to provide funding to purchase two air compressors to allow greater accessibility to fill air bottles used by firefighters during operation at a fire scene. 


During their June 22 meeting, Asheville City Council authorized a resolution for the City Manager to submit an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for this grant.


Due to the prevalence of carcinogens emitted during an active fire scene, AFD has a policy that requires all firefighters, including fire investigators, to wear Self Contained Breathing Apparatus gear (SCBA) when entering a structure for overhaul and/or cause and origin determination for up to 90 minutes after acceptable atmospheric levels have been determined by the Safety Officer on the scene. This policy protects the health and safety of our firefighters and reduces the risk of exposure to cancer-causing carcinogens. The additional time using SCBA on a fire scene means that more readily available air is needed for every active fire scene; therefore the need for additional air compressors.


This equipment would be used to support the department’s Air Management and Cancer Prevention Policies. This policy has significantly increased the usage of breathing air at all of our fires while creating a safer work environment for our firefighters.


Each year, AFD applies for FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program requesting funding to purchase safety and protective equipment to ensure we are doing all we can to reduce the risk of exposure to cancer-causing carcinogens. 


To read the staff report to Council, visit this link.