From the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) today announced the Abingdon Fire Company has been awarded $82,800 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program to purchase life-saving firefighting equipment. As the 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.”
“Our first responders are running towards danger to help others who are running for safety,” said Senator Cardin. “I am proud to fight for the federal investments that helps make sure that the brave men and women safeguarding our families make it home safely to their own. The Abington Fire Company is committed to what they do, but they need a federal partner to make sure they have the equipment and training they need to get the job done. This grant from the Department of Homeland Security is going to save lives and property in Harford County. ”
The Abingdon Fire Company will use the funding to purchase 40 sets of new turn-out gear to keep new recruits safe in the line of duty. The Fire Company was able to hire new recruits after using a $186,000 grant it received in 2010 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response program (SAFER) to hire a staff person to recruit and retain volunteers. For more information, please contact Ronald Evans at 410-436-5896.
AFG grants fund firefighting equipment, personal protection equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, firefighter/first responder safety projects, and staffing recruitment and retention, as well as public fire safety education.
SAFER grants enhance the ability of grantees to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing. The objective of the program is to award grants directly to volunteer, combination, and career fire departments to help the departments increase the number of frontline firefighters, and to rehire firefighters who were laid off due to the economy.
Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received more than $140 million in fire grant funding, over $2.5 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Harford County.