WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman David Trone (all D-Md.) today announced the award of $1,675,272.73 in federal funds to 11 Washington County fire companies for the purchase of 210 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) units. SCBAs provide firefighters with fresh oxygen and prevent them from breathing harmful carcinogens when responding to fires.
“Our dedicated firefighters make a daily sacrifice in responding to emergencies. I commend the Western Maryland firefighters for their courage and strength, especially in the midst of the pandemic,” said Senator Cardin. “I am pleased to join my colleagues in announcing this new federal funding for new equipment, as keeping our first responders safe and prepared is a top priority.”
“Our firefighters don’t hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way for others, but they need the right equipment to stay as safe as possible while doing their jobs. With these federal funds, firefighters can get new safety equipment while saving Washington County’s volunteer fire companies money. Our first responders put their lives on the line day in and day out protecting Marylanders, and we’re proud to support them with these necessary resources,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“Washington County firefighters never waiver in their commitment to keeping the community safe,” said Congressman David Trone. “We owe it to these heroes to get them the resources they need to protect themselves on the job. This funding will help do just that. I will continue working with my Maryland colleagues to secure funding for our first responders in Washington County and across the Sixth District.”
“The Washington County Board of County Commissioners are once again very excited to learn of the successful award of another FEMA Grant; this time the $1,600,000.00 Regional Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) award which is for the purchase of firefighter self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). We are extremely proud of the hard work and partnerships between the Volunteer Fire Company of Halfway (who served as the grant host) and the Division of Emergency Services (who served as the grant coordinator throughout the process). In total, 10 vol. fire and EMS companies, along with the Division of Emergency Services have secured funding for the upgrade and purchase of 200 SCBA’s throughout the County. The award of this grant will create a savings of 1.6M to the volunteer fire department and County budgets. Once again, this award could not come at a more important time and will help all agencies involved continue to work through challenging budgetary times,” said Jeffrey A. Cline, President of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners.
The Volunteer Fire Company of Halfway applied for and received the funds on behalf of 11 Washington County fire companies. The equipment purchased will replace airpacks, air cylinders, and other equipment that has reached the end of its recommended service life. Each awardee will be able to purchase SCBA units as follows:
- Volunteer Fire Company of Halfway – 28 units
- Boonsboro Ambulance and Rescue – 13 units
- First Hose Company of Boonsboro – 28 units
- Community Volunteer Fire Company of Fairplay – 15 units
- Washington County Department of Emergency Services – 18 units
- Community Rescue Service – 19 units
- Hancock Rescue Squad – 10 units
- Hancock Fire Company – 19 units
- Potomac Valley Fire Company – 14 units
- Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Company – 22 units
- Williamsport Fire and EMS – 24 units
The grant was awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, which provides grants directly to fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services organizations, and state fire training academies to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as first responders.