Press Release

January 12, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced the Baltimore City Fire Department won $1,393,432 million in competitive federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program to purchase firefighting equipment. As a senior member 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 Finance and Budget committees.

“Now more than ever, we need to make sure that our first responders have the resources 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.”

“I want to thank Senator Mikulski and Senator Cardin for their continuing support of the Fire Act Grant program,” said Baltimore City Fire Chief James Clack. “In very challenging economic times, this grant will allow the City of Baltimore to provide modern life-saving tools for our firefighters to better protect us from the devastating effects of fire.”

The Baltimore City Fire Department will use the grant funds to purchase more than 1,100 sets of firefighting pants and coats and 25 thermal imaging cameras, which allow firefighters to search for fire and victims inside smoke-filled buildings. For more information about the award, please contact Chief Kevin Cartwright, Public Information Officer, at 410-396-5616.

AFGP grants fund firefighting equipment, personal protection equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, firefighter/first responder safety projects, and staffing recruitment and retention, as well as public fire safety education.

Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received nearly $106 million in AFGP funding, more than $9 million of which was awarded to the Baltimore City Fire Department.