WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, together with U.S. Representatives Chris Van Hollen and John Delaney (all D-Md.) today announced that the Frederick County Division of Fire and Services will receive $575,000 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program to purchase portable radios for interoperable communications.
“Our first responders need the right resources at the ready to protect them as they protect the public during natural disasters or man-made crises. They are our first line of defense and we want them all to return home to their families safely,” said Senator Cardin. “This federal funding is an important investment in keeping Frederick County families and businesses safe if and when a disaster strikes.”
“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.”
Our first responders selflessly put their lives on the line day and night to protect our community,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “This important funding will help give Frederick County’s first responders the resources necessary to better protect themselves and those in harm’s way. I will continue to work to ensure that our brave firefighters are receiving the training, education, and resources that they need to do their jobs and keep our families safe.”
“Our firefighters are heroes who risk their own lives every day to save people who they’ve never met. Whether they’re facing a fire or responding to a natural disaster, it’s our job to make sure firefighters have the equipment they need to stay safe,” Congressman Delaney said. “This grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) helps to make sure that the men and women serving in Frederick County fire departments are prepared for whatever challenges they face.”
The Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services will use the grant funds to purchase dual band portable radios which will provide interoperable communications during mutual aid responses. Regional interoperable communication between Frederick County and mutual aid partners is paramount to providing efficient, effective, and safe fire protection and emergency medical services. Due to the challenging terrain in Western Maryland, counties located along the western border of Frederick County are operating on 400 MHz UHF frequencies that provide better coverage in local mountainous areas but are not interoperable with Frederick County’s 800 MHz radio system. The grant funded radios will be assigned to critical riding positions and support units in key first due areas that provide services from the City of Frederick and westward in Frederick County and have the highest incidence of responding to mutual aid calls in the adjacent counties of Washington County, Md., Jefferson County, W.Va. and Franklin County, Pa. that are outside of Frederick County’s 800 MHz radio system footprint.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an important component of the larger, coordinated effort to strengthen the Nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. Since 2001, the AFG has provided approximately $6.1 billion in grants to first-responder organizations to obtain much-needed emergency response equipment, personal protective equipment, firefighting and emergency vehicles, and training. During fiscal year (FY) 2014, the AFG will award $304.5 million to first-responder organizations that need support to improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.
Since 2001, Maryland Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received nearly $162 million in fire grant funding, of which nearly $16 million has been awarded to fire departments in Frederick County.
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