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Safety Grant AwardTraining reimbursement covers cost of gas monitors and safety equipment

Pictured: (back row, L to R) Dan Alexander, Captain Michael Fittipaldi, Firefighter Brooks Stephens, Mike Marinan, Matt Baker; (front row, L to R): City Manager John Regan, Humarn Resources Manager Donna Hayes, Deputy Chief Chris Pacetti, Firefighter Abby Taylor

The City of St. Augustine’s Safety Committee recently discovered a way to provide critical safety training and updated gas monitoring equipment for confined space entry. 

Several divisions of the Public Works Department, including Wastewater Collection, Transmission and Distribution, and Stormwater were in need of this vital training.  Confined spaces, such as storage tanks, sewer lines, underground culverts and other small spaces are a challenge to enter in order to perform a rescue due simply to the fact such spaces may be narrow, underground and unlit. But, these spaces may have additional dangers such as the presence of limited breathable air and may contain hazardous gases or liquids. It is the kind of space public works crews often work.

Without this important training and the calibrated gas monitors essential for a safe working environment, our staff and rescue personnel can find themselves in grave danger when it comes to both daily work and rescue operations. Since firefighters are the first responders in confined space rescues, it was only logical for the city’s fire personnel to train city public works personnel. 

Deputy Chief and Training Officer, Chris Pacetti, and fire department personnel coordinated a combined classroom and field training program for public works crews. By using fire department staff to train public works staff, the need to hire outside trainers was eliminated and the savings were applied to purchasing new gas monitors for both departments.  However, it still wasn’t quite enough to cover all the costs.

The Human Resources and Risk Management Division joined forces with the city’s liability insurance provider, Preferred Governmental Insurance Trust, and applied for a matching training incentive program, which matches funds up to $5,000 for safety related training and equipment.  Last month, the application was made and funds granted to reimburse the city for new gas monitors and other safety equipment.

The grant funds, a total of $4,259.81, were presented to the city on March 24 by Mike Marinan, Director of Member Services with Preferred who was joined by Matt Baker, President, & Dan Alexander, Vice President, ThompsonBaker Agency, the city’s insurance broker. 

Through the ingenuity of city employees, they were able to save money by sharing their own knowledge and skills with fellow employees and then use those funds to purchase essential equipment. A simple act, but the kind of creative problem solving that city employees embrace every day.

For more information, contact the city’s Human Resources and Risk Management Division at 904.825.1013.