Hudson -- Firefighters will be able to get a much-needed update to their physical fitness equipment, thanks to a $22,000 federal grant.
The Hudson Fire Department was one of two Summit County departments to receive funds from Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Grants program, according to a March 6 press release from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Hudson will receive $22,680 and the Northfield Center Sagamore Hills Fire District will receive $61,750.
"Our first responders put their lives on the line every day across Ohio," according to Brown's release. "These funds ensure that firefighters in Northfield Center and Hudson have the resources they need to perform their jobs safely."
Hudson Fire Chief Bob Carter had not received formal notification of the award as of March 7, but said he expected notification within a day.
The money is the federal share of a $25,200 project to replace pieces of the department's physical fitness equipment, Carter said. Carter applied for the grant in July. The local share will be $2,520, or 10 percent.
"The department has a formal physical fitness and wellness program which was enhanced in 2012 to include city-funded medical physical exam," Carter said.
The examination is mandatory every three years, Carter said. Members of the department have the option to have the examination each year. Department members also receive "limited compensation to work out on station," Carter said. About 50 percent of the department members participate, Carter said.
"We have had workout equipment on station for a number of years, which is shared with the members of the emergency medical services," Carter said.
The equipment includes weights and cardio equipment, such as a stair machine, a treadmill and an elliptical trainer.
However, the equipment, which is all more than five years old, is "wearing out rapidly," the chief said.
"The grant will fund replacement of this equipment with club-grade equipment which will improve effectiveness and usage," Carter said. "As cardiovascular issues are the most common cause of death for firefighters, the fitness and wellness program is an important means by which the city protects volunteer firefighters who protect the city."
The fire department has received the grant, which pays 90 percent to fund various projects in 2002, 2003, 2204 and 2009.
Past amounts and items funded include: $40,885 in 2002 for turnout gear and portable radios; $39,105 in 2003 for supply and attack hoses and nozzles; $186,817 in 2004 for a traffic signal preemption system, which controls traffic signals and $99,320 in 2009 for a sprinkler and alarm system for the safety center.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grants program helps firefighters and other first responders purchase protective equipment, vehicles, and gear, according to FEMA.