March 17, 2011

CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE FEDERAL FUNDING TO RECRUIT VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS IN HARFORD COUNTY

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Department won $186,000 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program to hire a full time recruiter to recruit & retain volunteer firefighters.  As a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Mikulski fights each year to increase federal funding for the fire grants program. Senator Cardin is a member of the Finance and Budget committees.

"Now more than ever, we need to make sure that our first responders have the resources they need to protect our families and communities," Senator Cardin said. "From fires to natural disasters to possible terrorist threats, these brave men and women put their lives on the line for all of us.  Federal investment in our first responders is vital because we must ensure that they have the equipment and training they need to protect us from harm and to perform their jobs safely and efficiently."

"I know how important this funding is to Maryland communities - often it's the difference between life and death. First responders protect our homes and communities, and the federal government has a responsibility to protect them by providing them with the tools they need to do their jobs safer and smarter," Senator Mikulski said. "Every day when our first responders report for duty, they don't know what they will face. That's why I fight every year for the equipment, training, and staffing our protectors and communities deserve."

The Abingdon Volunteer Fire Department will use the competitive award to hire a staff person to recruit volunteer firefighters and increase the department's retention of volunteers. For more information, please contact Ron Evans at 410-638-3955.

The goal of any SAFER grant is to enhance the ability of grantees to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing. The objective of the program is to award grants directly to volunteer, combination, and career fire departments to help the departments increase the number of frontline firefighters, and to rehire firefighters who were laid off due to the economy.

Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received more than $95 million in fire grant funding, nearly $2 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Harford County. 

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