WASHINGTON – U.S. Ben Cardin and Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI) will receive $500,000 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program (AFG) to purchase updated equipment to protect its fire service instructors and students during training exercises, and to ensure MFRI students learn to use the most current technology to respond to emergencies.
“Providing trainees and instructors with state-of-the-art firefighting equipment is a matter of national security,” said Senator Cardin. “Our first responders deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are receiving training on the latest techniques and equipment. I will continue to ensure that the federal government is a strong partner in equipping and training first responders across Maryland.”
“Firefighters and their families already understand the hazards of being on the job, whether it is rushing into a burning building or suffering from physical exhaustion and injury. These funds in the federal checkbook are crucial to providing training to protect our protectors,” Senator Mikulski said. “First responders protect our homes and communities, and the federal government has a responsibility to protect them by providing them with the tools and training they need to do their jobs safer and smarter. I will continue to fight for the training, equipment and staffing our protectors and communities deserve.”
MFRI will use this federal funding to replace old and outdated Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) with 62 newer and safer units. SCBA enable firefighters to breathe in smoke-filled buildings, and are critical to firefighter safety. MFRI will purchase 69 new sets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which will include firefighting coats, helmets, pants and boots. These PPE will protect instructors as they enter MFRI burn buildings to instruct students. MFRI will also purchase 7 new Thermal Imaging Cameras to replace cameras which are over ten years old. This equipment will enable MFRI utilize the best available current technology to train its students to respond to hazardous material emergencies. For more information, please contact Becky Spicer-Himes at 301-226-9907.
MFRI is the Statewide Training Academy for the Fire Service in Maryland. The Institute creates and delivers quality programs to enhance the ability of emergency services providers in Maryland to protect life, the environment and property.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program of the Department of Homeland Security (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 $6.1 billion in grants to first-responder organizations to obtain much-needed emergency response equipment, personal protective equipment, firefighting and emergency vehicles, and training. During fiscal year (FY) 2014, 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, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received just over $162 million in fire grant funding.
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