PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal, Jimmy Patronis, paid a visit to Panama City Beach on Monday to deliver important funding for firefighters. 

Patronis presented checks to eight fire departments across the Panhandle at a ceremony on the west end of Panama City Beach on Monday morning, totalling almost $59 thousand.

The funding will allow departments to purchase life-saving equipment to help protect firefighters against cancerous contaminants, infections and other risks while on the job.

Patronis said as firefighters work across the state, it’s important to keep them safe as they save lives, especially from cancer-causing smoke and chemicals.

“Their sacrifice is appreciated,” he said. “It’s important though, there’s hazards that go along with the profession whether it be cancer, whether it be PTSD, and now even with COVID-19, these dollars will help provide the necessary resources in order to ensure they have the equipment in order to live long healthy lives.”

Bay County Emergency Services Chief, Brad Monroe, said the funding is extremely important for firefighters, as it helps them to make contaminant-extraction technology more available, helping to prevent cancer in the local departments. 

“This is an important funding program for the Cancer Prevention Act because it enables us to purchase extractors which are big washing machines that we clean the firefighters’ gear,” Monroe said. “We don’t have those at every station and that’s our goal is to get them at every station.”

The funding is matched by counties; in total, the grant program will award $250 thousand to fire departments across the state.