Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Air Time: Ecology grant helps Poulsbo Fire protect air, people, taxpayer money

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program

Ecology’s Air Quality Program and the Poulsbo Fire Department put together a neat project that will cut air pollution, protect people’s health and save taxpayers’ money.

Poulsbo Fire is using a $39,000 grant from Ecology to install new idle reduction technology on some emergency vehicles.

Responders must keep the engines of emergency vehicles idling at an incident scene to provide power to the emergency lights and equipment chargers, and to eliminate any chance the vehicle may not restart.

These new idle reduction systems enable firefighters to turn off the engine but still keep the emergency lights running without draining the vehicle’s battery. This cuts toxic air emissions, reduces use of expensive fuel, and avoids costly wear and tear on the vehicle’s diesel engine.

You can read a complete news release on the project.

This is just one of several efforts that the Air Quality Program is making to reduce harmful diesel emissions. Since 2003, Ecology’s Clean Diesel Program has helped to reduce harmful diesel emissions from more than 8,000 engines. Most of those are public school bus engines.

Ecology has identified diesel exhaust as the air pollutant most harmful to public health in Washington. Seventy percent of the cancer risk from airborne pollutants is from diesel exhaust. It makes healthy people more at risk for respiratory disease and worsens the symptoms of people with health problems such as asthma, heart disease and lung disease.

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