Mikulski, Cardin, Delaney Announce More Than $68,000 in Federal Funding to Purchase New Gear in Washington County
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin, together with U.S. Representative John Delaney today announced that the Hagerstown Fire Department in Washington County has been awarded $68,433 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. As the Vice Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski fights each year to increase federal funding for the fire grants program. Senator Cardin is a member of the Finance Committee.
“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 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.”
“The men and women of the Hagerstown Fire Department face a unique set of challenges as they put their lives on the line to protect their community,” said Senator Cardin. “I am proud to fight for the federal investments that help make sure the first responders safeguarding our families have the equipment they need to make it home safely to their own. It is a matter of national security that the federal government is a strong partner with our local first responders and the people they protect.”
“Hagerstown firefighters can’t save lives if they can’t breathe and this federal grant will pay for over 100 new fitted facemasks for our local heroes. Homeland security starts at home and this grant will have a direct tangible impact for our community. The Assistance to Firefighters Program delivers needed resources to Western Maryland, which is why I’ve fought to strengthen and expand this program so that local first responders have the tools they need,” Congressman Delaney said.
Hagerstown Fire Department will use this federal funding to purchase 102 new individualized face masks. Having masks that are individually fitted to each firefighter is critical to providing a fresh supply of air to first responders, and prevents exposure to harmful carcinogens. Last year, the Department was awarded an AFG grant to purchase 65 sets of SCBA equipment. Chief Steve Lohr is the contact for the Department and may be reached at 301-791-2544.
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.
Over the course of 2016, 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, the Hagerstown Fire Department has received more than $2.2 million in AFG funds, and Washington County fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received almost $12.5 million from the AFG.
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