WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes and Kweisi Mfume (all D-Md.) today announced an award of $1 million in federal funding for the Baltimore County Fire Department to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and related supplies for firefighters and first responders as the Department continues to serve Maryland communities amid COVID-19. Yesterday, they provided mutual aid to their brother and sister members of the Baltimore City Fire Department in response to the devastating and fatal explosion in Northwest Baltimore.
“As we saw once again yesterday, Baltimore County firefighters and first responders put their safety at risk to protect local residents every day – especially during this unprecedented pandemic,” the lawmakers said. “This new federal funding will help equip our first responders with the tools and protection they need to do their job safely and to continue providing critical services to Marylanders.”
The funding was awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters – COVID-19 Supplemental (AFG-S) program, which provides funds for the purchase of PPE and related supplies for our nation’s first responders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response. The AFG program 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 that of first responder personnel. The Members worked to secure $355 million for the AFG program for Fiscal Year 2020 as well as $100 million for the Fiscal Year 2020 AFG-S program, and continue to work towards robust funding for the program – including by urging FEMA Administrator Gaynor to increase federal support for firefighters as the pandemic devastates state and local budgets.