WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that the Kensington and Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Departments in Montgomery County have been awarded grants through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program to help recruit volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians. The Kensington Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded $866,838 and the Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded $81,867 in federal funds. 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 we are attracting and retaining the most capable first responders,” said Senator Cardin. “From fires to natural disasters to possible terrorist threats, these dedicated men and women put their lives on the line for all of us. Federal investment in our first responders is vital, and it is important that we ensure our communities have the best personnel and training so they are prepared for any situation.”
“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 staffing, equipment and training our protectors and communities deserve.”
The Kensington Volunteer Fire Department will use the grant funds to prepare members for a career in volunteer fire service through tuition assistance in attaining a relevant degree from a regional college or university in exchange for volunteer service. The grant will also continue funding for a Volunteer Recruitment and Retention Coordinator to handle recruiting and retention activities. It will also purchase an LED electronic reader sign for the front of the firehouse which will display recruitment and community messages as well as safety announcements including Amber Alerts. For more information, please contact Chris St. John at (301) 929-8000.
The Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department will use the grant funds for recruitment and retention activities. For more information, please contact James Seavey Sr at (301) 365-2028 ext. 220.
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 more than $107 million in fire grant funding, more than $10.1 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Montgomery County.