WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department and the Chillum-Adelphi Volunteer Fire Department won $446,245 and $103,500, respectively, in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) program to provide tuition assistance for volunteer firefighters. As 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 Finance Committee.
“When a natural disaster occurs or we are faced with a terrorist attack, it is our first responders who provide the first line of defense for our citizens,” said Senator Cardin. “This federal funding is an important investment in keeping Maryland families and businesses safe if and when a disaster strikes. It ensures that our first responders have the resources they need to protect us and the equipment and training they need to do their jobs.”
“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 Morningside Volunteer Fire Department and Chillum-Adelphi Volunteer Fire Departments will use the grant funds to provide tuition assistance for volunteer firefighters who agree to live at the station, helping keep the department staffed 24 hours a day. With tuition assistance, young volunteers are less likely to work part-time, allowing them more time to respond to emergencies. For more information, please call David Hansen of the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department at 301-736-4343 or John Guyton of the Chillum-Adelphi Volunteer Fire Department at 240-508-7307.
The goal of any SAFER grant is to enhance the ability of grantees to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing. The objective of the program is to award grants directly to volunteer, combination, and career fire departments to help the departments increase the number of frontline firefighters, and to rehire firefighters who were laid off due to the economy.
Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received over $119 million in fire grant funding, approximately $22.3 million of which was awarded to fire departments in Prince George’s County. Including today’s awards, Morningside Volunteer Fire Department has been the recipient of five awards totaling over $1 million, and Chillum-Adelphi Volunteer Fire Department has been the recipient of 3 awards totaling almost $200,000.