Press Release

May 6, 2013
Cardin, Mikulski Announce Federal Funding To Purchase Life-Saving Firefighting Equipment In Wicomico County

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced the Salisbury Fire Department has been awarded $187,389 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The West Side Volunteer Fire Department also received an AFG award for $60,805. Both awards will be used to purchase life-saving firefighting equipment. 


“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 Salisbury Fire Department will use the competitive award to purchase 55 portable radios which will replace radios that are outdated. The new radios will have interoperability functionality, and will increase the department’s efficiency when responding to emergencies.  For more information, please contact chief Richard Hoppes at 410-548-3120.


The West Side Volunteer Fire Department will use its award to purchase new rescue tools to aid in vehicle extraction, including “jaws of life” spreaders and an emergency generator. These new tools will replace outdated tools and will enhance the West Side Volunteer Fire Department’s mutual aid capabilities. For more information, please contact Donald Messick at 410-873-2140.


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 over $125 million in fire grant funding.  Wicomico County Fire & EMS Departments have been awarded over $3 million since 2001.