U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin (both D-Md.) announced that the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has received $96,000 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP). Senator Mikulski is on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the AFGP and fights each year to increase its federal funding. Senator Cardin is a member of the Budget Committee, which each year sets priorities for funding to federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security.
“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,” said Senator Mikulski. “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.”
Senator Cardin said, “First responders have always been on the front lines, keeping our families and our neighborhoods safe from harm. I thank these brave men and women for their continuing service and sense of duty to our community. I am proud to support federal investment through local grants like this, which is essential to ensure our community heroes have the equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently.”
The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department received the award under the Operations & Safety program area of the AFGP, and will use the funds to purchase EMS training equipment, including simulation mannequins, an ambulance simulator and Audio/Visual technology. Prince George’s County, MD, has the largest and busiest combination Fire/EMS Departments in the Country responding on nearly 135,000 calls for service a year with a career/volunteer staff of just over 2,000 personnel.
Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene Jones acknowledged the attention to detail that is required to be successful in receiving federal funding. “I commend Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Brian Frankel and staff at the Fire/EMS Training Academy for successfully pursing this funding for EMS training equipment. These funds translate into being able to provide the best possible service for our citizens and residents.”
AFGP 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. Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received nearly $80 million in AFGP funding, over $10 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Prince George’s County.