Press Release

July 7, 2008

Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and
Benjamin L. Cardin (both D-Md.) today announced the Whiteford Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded $231,088 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP). Senator Mikulski is on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the AFGP and fights each year to increase its federal funding. Senator Cardin is on the Budget Committee, which each year sets priorities for funding to federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security.

“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,” said Senator Mikulski. “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.”

“First responders have always been on the front lines, keeping our families and our neighborhoods safe from harm. I thank these brave men and women for their continuing service and sense of duty to our community,” said Senator Cardin. “I am proud to support federal investment through local grants like this, which is essential to ensure our community heroes have the equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently.”

The Whiteford Volunteer Fire Department in Harford County will use the funding to purchase 100 sets of turn out gear and individualized face masks. The department will also purchase fit testing equipment which will enable masks to be fit specifically for each member so that firefighters are not sharing face masks that do not fit properly. Properly fitted masks decrease the possibility of inhalation of harmful fumes and carcinogens, and allow for proper hygiene, thus avoiding contamination issues. This is the second award for the department. Since 2001, Harford County Fire Department & Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Companies have been awarded nearly $2 million in AFGP funding. For more information, call John Williamson at 410-638-3630.

AFGP grants fund firefighting equipment, personal protection equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, firefighter/first responder safety projects, and staffing recruitment and retention. Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and fire service organizations have received nearly $62 million through the AFGP.