WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that the Water Witch Fire Company of Port Deposit in Cecil County has been awarded $414,286 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.
“Now more than ever, we need to make sure that our first responders have the tools 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 Water Witch Fire Company will use this federal funding to purchase a new Pumper Tanker that will replace an engine acquired by the Department in 1996. A Pumper Tanker is vital to aid in fire suppression in communities without fire hydrants. Water Witch Fire Company’s new state of the art Tanker will have the capability of carrying 2,500 gallons of water to a fire scene. For more information, contact Chief Wayne Tome at 410-378-4133.
The AFG Program of the DHS, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an important component of the larger, coordinated effort to strengthen the Nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. Since 2001, the AFG has provided approximately $6.4 billion in grants to first-responder organizations to obtain much-needed emergency response equipment, personal protective equipment, firefighting and emergency vehicles, and training. Over the course of 2016, the AFG will award $304.5 million to first-responder organizations that need support to improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.
Since 2001, Cecil County Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received almost $3.5 million from the AFG. Statewide, Maryland has received $196 million since 2001 through the AFG.