Press Release

March 2, 2007

Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and
Barbara A. Mikulski(both D-MD) today announced that two Washington County fire departments have been awarded a total of $365,744 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.”

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 more than $45.7 million through the AFGP.

Funkstown Volunteer Fire Company in Washington County has been awarded $226,094 to install a Diesel Exhaust System and an Air Cascade System, and to purchase two Rapid Intervention Team kits, 10 portable radios and 30 new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) units. This is the third award for the department. In 2002, they received $198,000 to purchase a new engine, and in 2003 they received $97,983 to purchase a thermal imaging camera and new air cylinders. For more information, call Glenn Fuscsick at 301-790-0090.

Mt. Aetna Volunteer Fire Department of Hagerstown in Washington County will use its $139,650 to purchase portable radios and a thermal imaging camera. This is the third award for the department. In 2004, they received $104,112, and in 2005 they received $266,000 to purchase a new urban interface pumper. For more information, call Assistant Chief Anthony Veney at 410-797-5555.