Press Release

January 3, 2012

WASHINGTONU.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced the Sykesville Freedom District Volunteer Fire Department won $47,610 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program to purchase vital water rescue equipment and other firefighting equipment.  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 our first responders have the resources they need to protect our families and communities,” Senator Cardin said. “From fires to natural disasters to possible terrorist threats, these brave men and women put their lives on the line for all of us.  Federal investment in our first responders is vital because we must ensure that they have the equipment and training they need to protect us from harm and to perform their jobs safely and efficiently.”

“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. “The brave men and women of the Sykesville Freedom District Volunteer Fire Department lost their fire station nearly two years ago. I am proud that this grant program can help them get back on their feet so they can continue to protect and serve the community. 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 grant funds will allow Sykesville Freedom District Volunteer Fire Department to purchase 26 Shore Based First Responder Water Rescue Kits to help respond to water emergencies, including those on the Liberty Reservoir. Funds will also be used to purchase two Rope Rescue Team Kits, which includes equipment to help respond to rope rescues, rappelling and confined space rescue. Additionally, the fire department will purchase updated power tools in order to respond more quickly and effectively in a fire emergency. For more information, please contact Bill Flanagan at 410-795-9311. 

AFGP 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 $105 million in AFGP funding, nearly $2 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Carroll County.