Press Release

September 7, 2016
Cardin, Mikulski Announce $85,994 In Federal Funding to Purchase Firefighting Equipment in Prince George’s County

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George’s County has been awarded $85,994 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. As Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski fights each year to increase federal funding for the fire grants program. Senator Cardin is a member of the Senate Finance Health Care Subcommittee.

“The equipment used by first responders faces the toughest of rigors every day and is frequently damaged beyond repair, as happened to the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department last year when it lost an engine to fire. This grant will replace the tools and hoses that were lost and ensure that the department is well-equipped to face future dangers,” said Senator Cardin. “Federal investment in our first responders is vital because we must ensure that they have the equipment and training they need to protect our communities from harm and return home to their families safe and healthy.”

“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 West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department will use this federal funding to replace tools and hoses for a fire engine that was destroyed by fire in April 2015.  The Department will also purchase additional face masks and spare air cylinders. For more information, contact Scott Vazquez at 301-577-0777.

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, Prince George’s County Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received more than $37 million dollars from the AFG. Statewide, Maryland has received $196 million in the same period.