Press Release

July 5, 2012

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski(both D-Md.) today announced the Potomac Valley Fire Co. has been awarded $20,150 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program to recruit volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians. 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 staff, equipment and training our protectors and communities deserve.”

The Potomac Valley Fire Co. will use the grant funds for recruitment and retention activities including newspaper ads and mailings letting communities know the needs and benefits of volunteering as a firefighter and administrative volunteer. It will also be used for brochures, pamphlets and uniforms, as well as a department website to keep residents and visitors informed of safety information, severe weather alerts and community fundraising events. For more information, please contact Robert Hunter at (301) 432-2130.

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 $9.7 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Washington County.