Press Release

August 27, 2010

Senators Benjamin L. Cardin
Barbara A. Mikulski
Benjamin L. Cardin and
Congressman Chris Van Hollen
(all D-MD) today announced the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association won $391,400 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program to recruit volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians. As a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Mikulski fights each year to increase federal funding for the fire grants program. Senator Cardin is chairman of the Homeland Security and Terrorism Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. Congressman Van Hollen is a strong supporter of delegation efforts to fully fund SAFER grants and Assistance to Firefighters Grant programs, consistently advocating for Maryland funding.


“The Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association is one of the finest in our nation and I thank them every day for what they do for our community,” said
Senator Cardin. “This federal funding will ensure that Montgomery County has the resources it needs to recruit the volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians who are essential to protect residents and respond to any emergency situation that may arise.”


“This funding is about keeping first responders and the communities they protect safe,”
Senator Mikulski said. “In today’s tough economy, fire departments don’t need a hand out, they need a helping hand. These funds will help the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association recruit the volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians needed to protect our homes and communities. 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.”


 “With state governments having to make tough budget choices, it is critical that first responders have the resources they need to keep our communities safe,” said
Congressman Van Hollen. “Our first responders and fantastic volunteer firefighters are true heroes – they save lives, homes, and communities. This funding will allow the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association to recruit additional volunteers, ensuring that our communities are safe day and night.”


Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association will use the competitive award to develop and implement a volunteer recruitment drive through television, radio, print and online advertising. This is the organization’s second SAFER award. For more information, please contact Eric Bernard, executive director, at 301-424-1297.


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.


Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received nearly $91 million in fire grant funding, more than $8.5 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Montgomery County.