WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, together with U.S. Representatives Steny H. Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes and Donna F. Edwards (all D-Md.) today announced that the Anne Arundel County Fire Department will receive $7,072,520 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) program to hire 52 full time firefighter positions for two years including training and full benefits.
“Protecting our communities from harm is one of the most basic functions of government,” said Senator Cardin. “This federal grant will help ensure that the Anne Arundel County Fire Department is able to recruit and retain the very best first responders.”
“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’m pleased that this SAFER grant will help to ensure that Anne Arundel County can hire and recruit the appropriate staffing levels necessary to protect our local families and communities,” said Congressman Steny Hoyer. “Our dedicated men and women firefighters and first responders are essential to residents and businesses. Public safety continues to be one of my top priorities and I will continue to support federal funding that will assist our fire departments with keeping Marylanders safe.”
“The goal of SAFER grants is to ensure fire departments can maintain round-the-clock staffing and rehire fire fighters laid off due to the economy,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “This is exactly the type of basic government service we should be investing in during tough times – nothing is more important than citizen safety and protecting those that protect us. Families and businesses in Anne Arundel County will directly benefit from these federal funds.”
“Anne Arundel Country boasts world-class firefighters that devote themselves to protecting our communities,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “Thanks to this new commitment of federal resources, we can hire and train more first responders that keep Anne Arundel County families safe.”
“For many Maryland families, first responders like the Anne Arundel County Fire Department are the last chance for them to be safe,” Edwards said. “Today’s announcement lets the County’s working families and small businesses know that the federal government is doing its part to ensure public safety continues.”
The Anne Arundel County Fire Department (AACOFD) 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 Anne Arundel County Fire Chief Allan Graves at 410-222-8301.
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 $23 million of which has been awarded to fire departments in Anne Arundel County.
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