Firehouse receives a breath of fresh air
Paul Burke (on ladder) and Rick Blom from Air Cleaning Specialists put the final touches to the installation of a new diesel exhaust system for the Goshen firehouse. In this photo, 56-E1 was removed from the middle bay to make room during installation.
Our station, which was built in 1985, has changed usage in the past several years. Until 2004, it was accessed by volunteers on a limited basis. Now, the EMS staff from Highland Ambulance is in the station throughout the day and night. They utilize the recreation room and exercise area on the second floor as well as the training room on the first floor. The EMS Director has an office on the first floor adjacent to the training room. The Fire Chief’s office is on the second floor. Fire personnel use the training room for local and region training on a regular basis. The diesel exhaust in the garage permeates these areas whenever any apparatus other than the ambulances would start and run in the station. Over the years, black soot has accumulated on the white walls inside the station not to mention the smell on the clothing of the personnel due to off gassing when they leave the station.
The EPA, NIOSH, OSHA, NFPA and the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety (DOS) all recognize diesel exhaust as containing potential human carcinogens. The Goshen Fire Department (GFD) recognized this hazard and began a diesel exhaust removal system project in 2005. This project used a $15,000 state grant to start installing a Plymovent diesel exhaust system in the firehouse. That money was used to purchase the blower (fan motor), control panel and complete hook up for one bay – the one with the two ambulances. The GFD planned on using future state grant money to complete the project which consisted of fitting the remaining two bays (which contained four more vehicles). However, state grant money had dwindled to less than 30% of its original levels and would no longer cover the cost of adding a bay to the system ($13,400/bay).
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant was our only hope of completing this project. Fortunately for us, the GFD received a $25,460 Assistance to Firefighters grant in 2007 to fund the completion of a diesel exhaust removal system.
With the help from workers at Air Cleaning Specialists from Hanover MA, they have now completed the installation of rails, piping and airtight sealing nozzles for 4 more vehicles.
Paul Burke from Air Cleaning Specialists runs low voltage wiring that powers the sensors for the system. Behind him through the glass windows is the second floor recreation room. One end of the flexible yellow duct connects to the tailpipe of a vehicle which winds its way through the station to a blower that exausts diesel fumes directly to the outside of the building.
(Friday, March 22, 2008)