Cascade Township Fire Department Awarded $117,000 FEMA Grant for Firefighter Safety and Wellness Programs and Equipment

Funding Will Help Cover Both Physical and Mental Health Initiatives 
Cascade Township, Michigan, Sept. 20, 2022 – The Cascade Township Fire Department recently was awarded a more than $117,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for new programs and equipment to help maintain and improve firefighter safety and wellness.
The purpose of the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is to provide funding directly to fire departments for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of the public and first responders against fire and fire-related hazards. The Cascade Township Fire Department was selected for the grant because its proposed wellness program met all of FEMA’s health and safety priorities. The grant is one of 46 awarded this year in Michigan and is being matched with nearly $5,856 from the Township for a total of $122,971.
“We’re beyond excited to receive this grant, which will help maintain and improve the physical and mental well-being of the members of our department who risk their lives every day to help protect our community,” Cascade Township Fire Chief Adam Magers said. “These funds will help ensure we have a mentally and physically fit fire department that will be able to maintain a high level of service for decades to come.”
The Cascade Fire Department will use the grant funds for:
  • Periodic health exams to screen firefighters for cancer, cardiovascular issues, infectious diseases, mental wellness and other health risks.
  • Sessions with third-party occupational rehabilitation trainers to develop fitness and wellness programs and mitigate injuries before and after incidents.
  • Commercial gym-quality fitness equipment, including treadmills, step mills, dumbbells, spin bikes and other exercise tools, to replace outdated equipment at Fire Station 1 and 2.
  • Third-party comprehensive wellness evaluations measuring strength, flexibility, body composition and cardio endurance as well as an overall health survey.
  • The department’s wellness team will be sent to advanced training to obtain fitness trainer certifications in order to become peer fitness trainers.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency’s 2021 report, there were 135 on-duty firefighter deaths in 2021. Sixty-five deaths were due to COVID-19 and, of the 70 deaths not related to COVID-19, 40 were the result of overexertion, stress and medical issues, including 29 sudden cardiac arrests. The same study showed 89 firefighters died by suicide in 2021.
“When most people think about firefighting, they often think about the physical impact it has on firefighters – but the impact on the mind is just as damaging,” Magers said. “That’s why it’s so critical that every firefighter is given access to mental health programs and checkups.”
In 2021, Cascade firefighters completed nearly 1,449 hours of fitness training, which included cardio, strength and flexibility exercises. Cascade firefighters are required to complete a one-hour workout during each shift.
The new health and wellness programs are set to begin March 2023. The programs and equipment installation will begin at Fire Station 2 while the new Fire Station 1 is built at its current site at 2865 Thornhills Ave. SE.
To learn more about the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, click here.
Home to more than 19,000 residents, Cascade Township is committed to serving the public by providing the finest community services possible with respect, efficiency and integrity. With the Thornapple River at its heart, Cascade Township is recognized as an excellent place to live, work, play and raise a family. For more information, visit
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