WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced the Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company has been awarded $222,300 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The Betterton Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. also received an AFG award for $147,440. Both awards will be used to purchase life-saving firefighting equipment. As the Chairwoman of the 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.
“Our first responders need the right resources at the ready to protect them as they protect the public during natural disasters or man-made crises. They are our first line of defense and we want them all to return home to their families safely,” said Senator Cardin. “This federal funding is an important investment in keeping Maryland families and businesses safe if and when a disaster strikes.”
“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 Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company will use the competitive award to purchase 30 new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) units which allow firefighters to breathe inside smoke-filled buildings. These new SCBAs will replace units which are nearly 19 years old. Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company will also purchase spare face masks and oxygen tanks. For more information, please contact Chief Troy White at 410-639-7636.
The Betterton Volunteer Fire Co., Inc., will use their award to purchase 28 SCBA units to replace their 18 year old units. For more information, please contact Amanda Clark at 410-778-5300 ext. 106.
AFG grants fund firefighting equipment, personal protection equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, firefighter/first responder safety projects, and staffing recruitment and retention, as well as public fire safety education.
Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received nearly $125 million in fire grant funding. Kent County Fire & EMS Departments have been awarded just over $1.2 million since 2001.