By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
In less than 24 hours after applying, the Oxford Fire Department was awarded a $7,997.98 First Responder Grant from the Gary Sinise Foundation to purchase two Clorox Total 360 electrostatic sprayers.
These machines will be used to regularly disinfect the fire department’s 17 vehicles (including four ambulances) and two stations. The goal is to help keep fire personnel and the general public safe and healthy by preventing the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) along with a variety of other infectious diseases.
“A huge and heartfelt thank you to the Gary Sinise Foundation!” said C.J. Carnacchio, Oxford Township’s Communications and Grants Manager who prepared and submitted the grant proposal.
The whole process happened quickly. On Thursday, March 12, Carnacchio had neither heard of the Clorox Total 360 nor of the Gary Sinise Foundation.
That changed when he went to the fire department to take a photo of the Clorox 360 on loan from Oxford Community Schools, to make a social media post about it.
Later that day someone sent him a link to the Gary Sinise Foundation offering first responder grants for “personal protective equipment” to protect against the coronavirus.
Carnacchio figured a disinfectant sprayer would count. “It’s a valuable piece of equipment that protects against many infectious diseases,” he said.
The Clorox 360 combines disinfectant cleaner and hard surface sanitizer. First, the electrostatic sprayer system turns the liquid into small droplets. Then the sprayer applies a charge to each drop so they adhere to surfaces.
The system is more effective and efficient than traditional trigger sprayers, according to a promotional video for the product. It can kill pathogens like MRSA, cold and flu viruses, norovirus and E.coli.
The majority of calls the fire department responds to are medical. Normally, all surfaces are thoroughly wiped down with antimicrobial wipes after every single call, and before returning from the hospital.
The Clorox 360 works quicker and would provide better coverage. “It’s a great product to help keep employees and the public safe,” Fire Chief Pete Scholz said.
On Friday, March 13, Carnacchio met with Chief Scholz to gather some information and statistics. Then he researched the Clorox 360, worked on the grant application over the weekend and submitted it on Monday, March 16. He got a call the next afternoon, from Bobby George of the foundation, saying they had been awarded the grant.
Carnacchio was floored. “I was ecstatic. And everyone else at the township and fire department were ecstatic too.”
When he saw the call, he expected follow-up questions, not an award announcement. That’s the fastest turnaround he’s ever seen for a grant. “I applaud the foundation for their quick response during this crisis.”
He secured a quote from same the same company the school district bought the sprayer from, Ferguson Facilities Supply in Indiana, who agreed to honor the same price they charged the district, $3,899 each. Elsewhere on the market, the Clorox 360 goes from $6,000-$7,000.
In addition to the two sprayers, the grant provides enough to purchase two cases of disinfectant cleaner and hard surface sanitizer.
It may still be a while before the fire department is able to get the sprayers, possibly not until mid-April. In the meantime, the fire department will continue to use the school district’s sprayer, since the schools are closed.
Addison Fire Department has borrowed the machine during the last week as well, while they are looking into the grant.
The mission of the Gary Sinise Foundation is to honor defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.
“The Charter Township of Oxford and the Oxford Fire Department wish to express their sincere gratitude to the Gary Sinise Foundation for supporting our community during this difficult time,” Carnacchio wrote in the grant announcement. “We truly appreciate it. Thank you, thank you.”
By James Hanlon