Press Release

August 23, 2007

Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and 
Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced two Western Maryland fire departments have been awarded a total of $32,569 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.

“First responders are our true heroes – protecting our homes, our businesses and our communities.  I’m grateful for the sacrifices they make every day,” said Senator Mikulski.  “The federal government has a responsibility to protect our protectors, providing them with the tools they need to do their job safer and smarter.  That’s why I will continue to fight to provide the federal support they need to get the equipment, training and resources they deserve.”

“Firefighter grants represent a major effort by the Federal government to ensure that our nation’s first responders have the equipment and training they need to do the job,” said Senator Cardin.  “Our firefighters are on the frontlines every day, and it is critical that they have the resources to deal with any emergency or life-threatening situation they may have to confront.”

The Fairplay Volunteer Fire Company in Washington County has been awarded $19,000 to purchase new thermal imaging cameras. This is the second award for the department. In fiscal year 2006, the department was awarded $116,921 to purchase new turn out gear and Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) units. For more information, call Lieutenant Mark Kopp at 410-928-3171.

The Ellerslie Volunteer Fire Company in Allegany County has been awarded $13,569 to purchase six SCBA units and a Cascade Air Station for refilling oxygen tanks. This is the second award for the department. In 2003, the department was awarded $55,206 to purchase new SCBA units. For more information, call Chief Edward Williams at 301-777-0959.

AFGP grants fund firefighting equipment, personal protection equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, firefighter/first responder safety projects, and staffing recruitment and retention. Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and fire service organizations have received approximately $49.6 million through the AFGP.