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Pascrell, Gottheimer Secure Federal Award to Protect Teaneck Firefighters from Cancer

Teaneck, NJ, February 10, 2020

Today, U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) celebrated the awarding of a $45,000 federal grant to the Teaneck Fire Department for equipment to decontaminate firefighters’ gear and help prevent cancer. Pascrell, Gottheimer, and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) helped win this investment for the Teaneck Fire Department.

“This federal investment is game-changer for Teaneck’s Bravest in their work to keep our community protected,” said Congressman Pascrell, co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “This generous award will be used to decontaminate our firefighters’ gear of hazardous chemicals and pathogens and will help prevent against incidences of cancer. The federal government is providing these generous resources and not shifting the burden onto Teaneck and Bergen County – as it should be. With our firefighters watching over us every day, we’re watching out for them in Washington and fighting for every dollar they need.”

“We must always get the backs of those who protect our communities, who make us safer, who make our neighborhoods, like here in Teaneck, the places we want to raise our families. Our brave firefighters and first responders put their lives on the line for us each and every day — rushing to the scene of a fire, accident, or threat of terror against our homeland,” said Congressman Gottheimer. “But, our first responders cannot protect us without the resources they need to do their job safely and effectively. When our firefighters charge into an emergency, combating smoke and fire, they and their gear are exposed to harmful, cancer-causing toxins. To combat this, our fire departments need to be able to fully decontaminate their gear after exposure. With this federal investment for the Teaneck Fire Department, we are clawing our federal tax dollars back here to Jersey away from the Moocher States, standing by our first responders, and making sure they and our community are safe.”


“Teaneck firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect New Jerseyans and we are grateful for their selfless service,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) said. “This FEMA assistance grant provides key federal resources that will allow the Teaneck Fire Department purchase vital safety equipment upgrades, specifically cleaning equipment that will help firefighters safely and more efficiently clean their gear following emergency responses.”

In November, Rep. Pascrell sent a letter to DHS in support of Teaneck receiving this grant money, which can be viewed here. Just days after Paterson firefighters dueled a tragic blaze, Rep. Pascrell announced that a $289,450 federal grant had been secured for their department. In 2018, Rep. Pascrell celebrated the signing into law of his Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (H.R. 931), which established a national cancer registry for firefighters diagnosed with the deadly disease. Rep. Pascrell and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) first announced introduction of the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act in May 2016 during a news conference at Clifton Fire Station 5, where they were joined by dozens of firefighters, including retired Haddon Heights Fire Chief Gene Dannenfelster, who since lost his battle with cancer. H.R.931 was introduced in the 115th Congress on February 17, 2017.

Administered by the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), this federal award is part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, which provides direct financial investment to eligible fire departments to equip and train emergency personnel for the demanding and ever-evolving nature of their work.

Specifically, this federal investment has provided Teaneck’s firefighters with a Personal Protective Equipment Washer Extractor and Drying Cabinet to help protect them from hazardous chemicals, blood-born pathogens, carcinogens, and other contaminants that they may encounter in the line of duty. Multiple studies show high rates of cancer in firefighters due to contaminants left behind on their gear from burning materials and smoke. The Teaneck Fire Department’s new equipment, won through the AFG program, has been ranked in the top five best practices to help prevent cancer in firefighters.

Pascrell and Gottheimer were joined today at the Teaneck Fire Department Headquarters by Bob Allen of the New Jersey Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA), Teaneck FMBA 242 President Brian Taylor, Teaneck FMBA 42 President Steven Van Master, Teaneck Fire Chief Jordan Zaretsky, Teaneck Township Manager Dean Kazinci, and Teaneck firefighters.

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