U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that the Prince George's County Fire Department (PGCFD) was awarded grants through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program to hire 18 firefighters. The PGCFD has been awarded $2,589,516 in federal funds. As a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Mikulski fights each year to increase federal funding for the fire grants program. Senator Cardin is a member of the Finance and Budget committees.
"Now more than ever, we need to make sure that we have the first responders in place that are needed to protect our families and communities," Senator Cardin said. "From fires to natural disasters to possible terrorist threats, communities cannot shoulder this burden alone. It is important that we provide the federal investment that is needed so communities can hire the first responders that are needed to protect us from harm."
"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 staffing, equipment and training our protectors and communities deserve."
The PGCFD will use the grant funds to hire 18 full time positions in their fire houses to protect the more than eight hundred thousand residents of the county through both education prevention programs and fire emergency response teams. For more information, please contact Chief Marc S. Bashoor, the Fire Chief for Prince Georges County at (301) 583-2200.
The goal of any SAFER grant is to enhance the ability of grantees to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing. SAFER works 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 $107 million in fire grant funding, more than $10.1 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Montgomery County. In fiscal year 2009 alone, the PGCFD was awarded $3.5 million to hire 24 full time firefighters.