WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and, Barbara A. Mikulski together with U.S. Representative John Delaney (all D-Md.) today announced the Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Company has been awarded $64,695 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 Smithburg Volunteer Fire Company works hard around the clock to protect their community. They do valiant work but need a federal partner to help supply equipment as vital as Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses,” said Senator Cardin. Our first responders and their families deserve the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that they have the equipment, and training needed to do their dangerous jobs and come home unharmed.”
“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.”
“I’m proud to see the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program making a difference in Washington County. It doesn’t get more commonsense than helping first responders purchase life-saving firefighting equipment,” said Congressman Delaney. “First responders and firefighters command such tremendous respect because they rush in, head towards the flames, and risk their lives to save others. The Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1931 and purchased their first fire truck in 1932 and they’ve protected local residents and their property ever since, I want them to have the resources they need to save lives in Smithsburg for the next eighty years.”
The Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Company will use the funding to replace outdated Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). SCBA enable firefighters to breath in smoke-filled rooms to keep them safe in the line of duty. For more information, please contact Patrick Baker at 240-520-8771.
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 almost $146 million in fire grant funding, almost $12 million of which has gone to fire departments in Washington County.