Press Release

June 16, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service was awarded $59,456  in federal funding through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program (AFG) to help reduce the frequency and severity of fires caused by children and youth. As a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, 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.”

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will use the grant to support a Juvenile Firesetter Intervention and Counseling Services Program, which will train firefighters to work with children to prevent them from setting fires. The fire department will also purchase fire prevention materials and contract with a mental health firm to counsel and educate program participants. Once operational, the program will decrease fires set by juveniles in Montgomery County.

The goal of any (AFG) grant is to strengthen the response of fire and emergency medical services in communities across the nation. The objective of the program is to award grants directly to local fire departments to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public as well as firefighting personnel.

Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received more than $98 million in fire grant funding, nearly $9 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Montgomery County.