On Tuesday, state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis presented $30,789.75 in pandemic protection funding to four fire departments in the Central Florida area.
This past legislative session, Patronis supported an increase in state funding for pandemic protections for firefighters via the agency’s existing Cancer Decontamination Grant Program, so fire departments can buy lifesaving equipment to further protect firefighters from infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. The Cancer Decontamination Grant Program was established within the Florida Department of Financial Services to help protect the health and safety of firefighters by providing financial aid to mitigate exposure to hazardous, cancer-causing chemicals and infectious diseases, like COVID-19.
“I was proud to join area fire chiefs today in Sanford to present them with a check for more than $30,000 in grant funding to ensure they have the vital equipment, training and supplies needed to mitigate exposure to cancer-causing contaminants and other infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. Florida firefighters have been on the frontlines of the pandemic for over a year now, working every day to protect our communities while putting themselves in harm’s way. As a result of their dangerous profession, these heroes are also more likely to contract cancer than you or me. Because of the success of this program, I supported legislation this session to double the total grant funding to ensure our firefighters are fully protected,” Patronis said.
“Our firefighters dedicate their lives to protect our communities and we must do everything we can to protect and support these heroes. Today, we sent a clear message that Florida stands with our firefighters,” Patronis added.
Central Florida Area Firefighter Cancer Decontamination Equipment Grant Program Awards:
- St. Johns Fire Rescue $14,598.75
- Leesburg Fire Department $3,712.50
- Sanford Fire Department $7,425.00
- Ocala Fire Rescue $5,053.50
A host of state legislators praised the support.
“Today’s announcement is an important step to ensure Florida’s firefighters have the tools and resources they need to remain protected from cancer, COVID-19 and other diseases. These heroes have given so much to our communities, and they deserve our support, encouragement and gratitude. I can’t thank CFO Patronis enough for continuing to make protecting Florida firefighters a priority,” said state Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Lady Lake.
“I was proud to join CFO Jimmy Patronis today to present this critical funding for Central Florida firefighters. From running into burning buildings to helping with the vaccine rollout, our fire service community is always there supporting our state. I’m glad we are able to make this crucial investment that will keep them safe and healthy. Thank you, CFO Patronis, for always having the back of our fire service community,” said state Sen. Senator Jason Brodeur, R-Lake Mary.
“The service and sacrifice of Florida’s firefighter for their communities is unparalleled. I’m pleased to provide this important funding to help limit their exposure to cancer-causing contaminants and COVID-19. These heroes protect us every day, and I know that investing in this equipment is one way to keep them safe. I applaud CFO Patronis for leading on this important issue and his commitment to support firefighters in the Sunshine State,” said state Sen. Tom Wright, R-Titusville.
“I’m pleased to see this critical grant program being utilized across the state to protect these heroes from cancer-causing contaminants as well as COVID-19. The brave men and women in Florida’s fire service community put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe. I applaud CFO Patronis stepping up for Florida firefighters and ensuring they have the resources and support they need to stay safe,” said state Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, R-DeLand.
“Our firefighters put their own lives at risk and are on the frontlines, whether it is in a burning building or fighting against a pandemic. I am proud to stand with CFO Patronis as we work to protect and provide relief for firefighters around the state,” said state Rep. Joe Harding, R-Williston.
“I commend CFO Patronis for the proactive steps he has taken to protect Florida’s firefighters. This funding is a great start to help those who put their own lives at risk to protect our communities, and I look forward to continuing to prioritize our first responders,” said state Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood.
The funds also won the applause of the fire departments being supported.
“Our fire service community are some of the hardest working, and honorable people around. Every person heeded the call when they were compelled to serve. CFO Patronis is making sure that those that serve are given attention and funding when they are the ones in need of help,” said Chief Shane Alexander from Ocala Fire Rescue.
“CFO Patronis understands the burdens our fire service community carry. Ask any firefighter and they will say they live to serve. CFO Patronis is helping make sure that those that serve are not forgotten. I want to thank the CFO and his office for his incredible work in fighting for these grants,” said Chief Patrick Welch of St. Johns Fire Rescue.
“This past year has been tough for everyone, especially those in the first responder community. Despite all the challenges the year has presented us, CFO Patronis has always stood in unwavering support of our fire service community. These grants will not only go towards helping those currently suffering, but those that may suffer in the future,” said Chief Craig Radzak, of the Sanford Fire Department.
In total, the Firefighter Cancer Decontamination Equipment Grant Program will award $250,000 to fire departments statewide.