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Local Fire Department Faces Hefty Fines

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The Owosso Fire Department is under fire, facing $14,000 in State fines. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or MIOSHA, found violations in equipment, training and safety within the department.

The director of MIOSHA’s compliance division says the inspector was actually investigating an employee complaint against the department, w hen they found a laundry list of “serious” violations that could have posed grave danger to the public and the firefighters themselves.

Owosso’s public safety director says he got this stack of violations at the end of July, b ut he says these problems were there before he took over a little over a year ago. The department’s old and ill-fitting face masks are cited in the report, s o the State wanted the department to get new ones, and to make sure everyone knew how to use them.

Michael Compeau, Director of Public Safety, Owosso: “They had already been purchased, We were cited for the violation.”

In fact, MIOSHA has already crossed some of the face mask violations off the list, b ut there’s still more issues to work out. The department is also cited for not providing firefighters and paramedics with hepatitis B vaccinations, protection from tainted blood.

Michael Compeau: “I’ve provided them with a letter.”

And public safety is also an issue. The inspector reports that 1st responders weren’t trained well enough to handle emergencies like chemical spills, an issue Campeau says is too big to tackle alone.

Michael Compeau: “I’ve asked for an extension and they will have someone to assist us.”

They’re also working to get new tires for 2 of the fire engines, a ll steps to make sure the Owosso Fire Department meets State standards. Campeau says if he meets State requirements willingly, the fines will be cut in half to $7,500. They have until August 22nds to come up to code.

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