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Friday, April 15, 2011

PGFD Awarded Federal Grant for Communications Equipment

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

Prince George’s County, MD…U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) along with Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5), Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD-8), and Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4), announced this week that the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will receive a $1.267 million grant through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. This funding will be used to install mobile data terminals throughout the department’s fleet. These state of the art computer-based terminals will enable point to point contact with dispatchers, reduce radio traffic, and provide first responders with detailed information about the emergency situations to which they are responding. Having as much information about the emergency as possible in advance of arriving on the scene will improve firefighter safety and effectiveness in protecting their communities.

The total project is $1,584,000 as Prince George's County is responsible for a $316,800 match.  Through this grant the Fire/EMS Department will purchase over 200 personal computers for pumpers, special services units and marked command officer vehicles. 

“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.”

“Now more than ever, we need to make sure that our first responders have the resources they need to protect our families and communities,” Senator Cardin said. “From fires to natural disasters to possible terrorist threats, these brave men and women put their lives on the line for all of us. Federal investment in our first responders is vital because we must ensure that they have the equipment and training they need to protect us from harm and to perform their jobs safely and efficiently.”

“I am pleased that Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department was awarded with this grant, which will help our firefighters more efficiently and safely undertake their mission,” stated Congressman Hoyer. “In these difficult economic times, our local governments have been forced to make tough budgetary choices, so I am pleased that this funding will assist Prince George’s County in ensuring that it has the resources it needs to adequately respond to emergencies and protect our citizens. As co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I am proud that the AFG program is making fire departments across the country and in our neighborhoods more prepared for emergencies, and better equipped to do their job. But I am also proud to support this programs because we owe firefighters our support: it’s the least we can do in return for their sacrifices and dedication to our communities.”

“As we continue to rebuild our economy, it is critical to ensure that states and localities are able to retain public services. The SAFER and Fire Grants programs are integral to our area – they help our first responders have enough staff and equipment on hand to protect the public and respond to emergencies safely and efficiently,” said Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

“The SAFER and Fire Grants programs have been a tremendous resource for ensuring that our communities receive 24-hour protection from fire and fire-related hazards,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “I am excited that these funds are going where they are needed - to help the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department provide critical public services to our families and our friends.”

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 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 $4.6 billion in grants to first-responder organizations to obtain much-needed emergency response equipment, personal protective equipment, firefighting and emergency vehicles, and training. During fiscal year (FY) 2011, the AFG will award another $390 million to first-responder organizations that need support to improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.  Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received more than $95 million in AFG funding, more than $17 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Prince George’s County.


“Thanks to the hard work of the Prince George's County Congressional Delegation, the citizens of Prince George’s County became safer today,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “Our firefighters and EMS professionals risk their lives to save others every day and we are honored for their service to the County. This grant will help them do their jobs more quickly, safely, and accurately than ever before. “

Acting Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department stated, “These AFG funds will provide the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department with the state of the art equipment that will enhance our first responder’s safety and improve our community service delivery. By incorporating Mobile Display Terminals into our fleet of apparatus will help minimize radio traffic, provide accurate and timely information to responders, and will allow for quicker response and improved service capability to the community we serve. I would like to thank the Prince George's County Congressional Delegation along with Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker for their support in the application and implementation of this grant project.”

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.

For more information on grants available to fire departments and emergency responders, visit http://www.firegrantsupport.com/. This site also offers resources to help fire departments prepare and submit grant requests.

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