WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have announced $97,062 in U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding for fire departments in Abingdon and Port Deposit. Abingdon Fire Company, Inc., located in Harford County, will receive $36,395. Water Witch Fire Company, Inc., located in Cecil County, will receive $60,667.
“Our first responders provide the first line of defense for our citizens and our communities, and it’s our responsibility to ensure they have the tools, training and resources they need to stay safe while they do their job,” said Senator Cardin. “After each incident, we want every firefighter to return home to his or her family unharmed and ready to defend our community against whatever comes next.”
“These grants will help our region’s firefighters act quickly to save lives and keep our communities safe,” said Senator Van Hollen. “Funding for our local fire departments is a good investment in the safety and security of our neighborhoods, and we’ll continue to fight to make sure our first responders have the support they need.”
Abingdon Fire Company will use the award funds to replace a compressor unit to refill air cylinders at the station. Air cylinders store compressed air for the self-contained breathing apparatus to ensure firefighters can breathe safely whenever entering a building or encountering heavy smoke. The existing compressor unit failed in October, forcing them to go off-site to fill cylinders and taking the station unavailable for fire suppression calls during those periods.
The Water Witch Fire Company will be acquiring two Mechanical CPR Devices to ensure that they have the most up to date CPR tools for sudden cardiac arrest resuscitation. Additionally, they will replace their aging alert pagers with more reliable hardware to notify volunteer first responders of emergencies.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, administered by DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 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. The AFG has provided 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) 2017, the AFG will award $345 million to first-responder organizations that need support to improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.