WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman John Sarbanes (all D-Md.) today announced more than $238,400 in federal funds for the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. Through this four year award, the Department will work to attract new firefighters and retain existing ones, building upon the progress made through a similar 2015 grant. Specifically, activities will include providing incentives and training opportunities and recognizing individual participation. Recruitment and retention are key challenges for the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company and nationwide.
“Round-the-clock availability of well-trained firefighters is a matter of life and death for Maryland families,” said Senator Cardin. “Providing our volunteer fire departments with the resources necessary to ensure adequate staffing will reduce risks for them and for the people that they regularly save from harm. I thank firefighters throughout Maryland for their brave service and will continue to fight for robust federal resources to support their efforts.”
“The men and women of the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company put their lives on the line every day to keep the community safe, and this funding will help ensure that they have the staffing levels needed to properly handle emergencies and protect Maryland families,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committees. “I will keep working to support our volunteer firefighters and provide them with the resources they need to keep Marylanders safe.”
“This new federal funding will provide the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company with additional resources to attract, train and retain firefighter personnel,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “My colleagues and I will continue working to ensure that our courageous and committed volunteer firefighters have the equipment and training they need to keep Maryland communities safe.”
The SAFER grant program enhances the ability of fire departments around the country to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing by providing grants directly to fire departments. Specifically, the grants help fire departments increase the number of frontline firefighters and help rehire firefighters who lost their jobs during the economic downturn. The SAFER program provides approximately $350 million in competitive grants to fire departments and statewide or local volunteer firefighter support groups.