WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, together with U.S. Representatives Steny H. Hoyer and Donna F. Edwards (all D-Md.) today announced that the Prince George’s County Fire Department will receive $3,620,808 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) program to hire 24 full time firefighter positions for two years including training and full benefits. As Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski fights each year to increase federal funding for the fire grants program. Senator Cardin is a member of the Finance Committee.
“Protecting our communities from harm is one of the most basic functions of government,” said Senator Cardin. “This federal investment will help ensure that the Prince George’s County Fire Department can recruit and retain the best applicants. First responders in Prince George’s county put their lives on the line daily and deserve a federal partner as dedicated to public safety as they are.”
“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 and staffing 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 am pleased that the Prince George’s County Fire Department will receive these funds that will create more jobs and keep residents and businesses safe.” said Congressman Steny H. Hoyer. “This grant will help the department hire more personnel at their stations and provide the necessary resources and training they need to protect our communities. As a co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I will continue to work on behalf of these brave men and women firefighters and first responders who put their lives on the line every day to ensure our safety.”
“Adding 24 full-time firefighter positions is welcome news for the residents and all first responders in Prince George’s County,” Rep. Edwards said. “Firefighters are often the first to arrive on scene, and we rely on their professionalism and training in our greatest moment of need. These additional firefighters will make a measurable impact in protecting our communities. I thank Sen. Mikulski for her leadership on this issue, and today’s announcement highlights the dedication of Team Maryland to ensure the federal government helps strengthen public safety in Prince George’s County.”
The Prince George’s County Fire Department will use the grant funds to hire 52 full time firefighters to fully compliment 24/7 staffing for two full years including recruitment and training of the positions. These positions will be assigned to the Special Services Units – specifically the ladder trucks. For more information, please contact Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor at 301-883-5200.
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. The SAFER program provides approximately $340 million in competitive grants to fire departments and statewide or local volunteer firefighter support groups.
Since 2001, Maryland Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received nearly $162 million in fire grant funding, of which $32 million of which has been awarded to fire and EMS departments in Prince George’s County.
# # #