WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced three fire departments and one Emergency Medical Services company in Western Maryland have been awarded a total of $553,707 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program to purchase life-saving firefighting equipment. The grants include $207,176 for the Shaft Volunteer Fire Department in Allegany County, $195,579 for the Longmeadow Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. in Washington County, $119,792 for the New Market Volunteer Fire Company in Frederick County, and $31,160 for the Frostburg Area Ambulance, Inc. in Allegany County. Senator Cardin is a member of the Finance Committee. As the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski fights each year to increase federal funding for the fire grants program.
“When we are running away from danger, our first responders are running towards it,” said Senator Cardin. “I am proud to fight for the federal investments that helps make sure that the brave men and women safeguarding our families make it home safely to their own. Maryland first responders are dedicated and committed to what they do, but they need a federal partner to make sure they have the equipment and training they need to get the job done.”
“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 Shaft Volunteer Fire Department will use the $207,176 grant to purchase 32 sets of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and 24 additional face masks. SCBA enable firefighters to breath in smoke-filled rooms to keep them safe in the line of duty. The Shaft Volunteer Fire Department will share this award with the Ridgely Volunteer Fire Department in West Virginia. Each Department will receive 16 SCBA and 12 face masks. For more information, please contact Roger Bennett at 240-580-0220.
The Longmeadow Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. will use the $195,579 grant to purchase 24 sets of SCBA. For more information, please contact John Latimer IV at 301-302-8848.
The New Market Volunteer Fire Company will use the $119,792 grant to purchase 26 new sets of turn out gear to replace gear that is no longer usable. The funds will also purchase life-saving rescue equipment including three Pulse CO/Oximeters to test victims for carbon monoxide poisoning and two thermal imagers that enable fire fighters to search for victims in smoke-filled rooms. For more information please contact Benjamin Nalborczyk at 240-357-1083.
The Frostburg Area Ambulance, Inc. will use the $31,160 grant to purchase two automatic chest compression systems to assist with emergency resuscitations. For more information, please contact Christopher Green at 301-689-3356.
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 over $139.5 million in fire grant funding.