Press Release

September 22, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski both D-MD), and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) today announced the College Park Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) in Prince George’s County has been awarded $140,980 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP).  Senator Mikulski is on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the AFGP and fights each year to increase its federal funding.  Senator Cardin is a member of the Budget Committee, which each year sets priorities for funding to federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security.      

“First responders have always been on the front lines, keeping our families and our neighborhoods safe from harm.  I thank these brave men and women for their continuing service and sense of duty to our community,” said Senator Cardin.  “I am proud to support federal investment through local grants like this, which is essential to ensure our community heroes have the equipment and training they need to do 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,” said Senator Mikulski.  “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.”

“Every day, our first responders show up to the firehouse prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of others. Providing them with much needed equipment is the least we can do to show our appreciation for their heroic service,” said Congressman Hoyer. “I am pleased that funds from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program will help College Park VFD more efficiently and safely undertake their mission.”

The College Park VFD will use this grant to purchase 29 portable radios and seven mobile radios.  The new radios will give the College Park VFD interoperable communications capability throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.  This is the second award for the College Park VFD.  In 2003, the Department received $53,044 to install a new diesel exhaust system.  For more information, call Steve Kerber at 301-901-9112.

AFGP grants fund firefighting equipment, personal protection equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, firefighter/first responder safety projects, and staffing recruitment and retention.  Since 2001, Prince George’s County fire departments and emergency medical services have been awarded more than $8.2 million in AFGP funding.