U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, along with Congressman Chris Van Hollen (all D-Md.) today announced the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has been awarded $3,646,098 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program to rehire 23 fulltime firefighters. 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. Congressman Van Hollen is the Ranking Member on the House Budget Committee.
"Now more than ever, we need to make sure that we are attracting and retaining the most capable first responders," said Senator Cardin. "From fires to natural disasters to possible terrorist threats, these dedicated men and women put their lives on the line for all of us. Federal investment in our first responders is vital, and it is important that we ensure our communities have the best personnel and training so they are prepared for any situation."
"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 staff, equipment and training our protectors and communities deserve."
"I am pleased that the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has been awarded this funding, which will go towards rehiring 23 brave men and women who work every day to keep our community safe," said Congressman Van Hollen. "Their service is vital to our County, and we will continue to fight for needed federal investment in our emergency services."
The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will use these federal dollars to re-hire 23 full time firefighters they were previously unable to re-hire.
The goal of any SAFER grant is to 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.