Press Release

November 8, 2007

Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and
Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced the Willards Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded $107,350 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.

“First responders are our true heroes – protecting our homes, our businesses and our communities.  I’m grateful for the sacrifices they make every day,” said Senator Mikulski.  “The federal government has a responsibility to protect our protectors, providing them with the tools they need to do their job safer and smarter.  That’s why I will continue to fight to provide the federal support they need to get the equipment, training and resources they deserve.”

“Firefighter grants represent a major effort by the Federal government to ensure that our nation’s first responders have the equipment and training they need to do the job,” said Senator Cardin.  “Our firefighters are on the frontlines every day, and it is critical that they have the resources to deal with any emergency or life-threatening situation they may have to confront.”

The Willards Volunteer Fire Department in Wicomico County will use its $107,350 to purchase 30 new sets of turn out gear, which will replace gear that is no longer National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) compliant.  The department will also purchase a new air compressor and an Air Cascade System. This is the second award for the department.  In 2005, it was awarded $96,777 to purchase new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SBCA) equipment.  For more information, call Chief Keith Twilley at 410-835-8679.

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 approximately $52.3 million through the AFGP.