May 07, 2010

CARDIN, MIKULSKI PRAISE PRESIDENT FOR ISSUING MAJOR DISASTER DECLARATION FOR MARYLAND'S FEBRUARY BLIZZARDS

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced the Baltimore County Fire Department has been awarded $442,080 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP).  Senator Mikulski is on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the AFGP and fights each year to increase its federal funding.  Senator Cardin is a member of the Budget Committee, which each year sets priorities for funding to federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security. 
 
"First responders have always been on the front lines, keeping our families and our neighborhoods safe from harm.  I thank these brave men and women for their continuing service and sense of duty to our community," said Senator Cardin.  "I am proud to support federal investment through local grants like this, which is essential to ensure our community heroes have the equipment and training they need to do 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," said Senator Mikulski.  "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 Baltimore County Fire Department will use the funds to purchase voice emitters for firefighters' face masks, which increase safety by amplifying a firefighter's voice and reducing background noise during radio communication. For more information, please contact Chief Mark Hubbard at 410-887-8114.
 
AFGP grants fund firefighting equipment, personal protection equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, firefighter/first responder safety projects, and staffing recruitment and retention, as well as public fire safety education.  Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received more than $81 million in AFGP funding, more than $4 million of which has gone to the Baltimore County Fire Department.