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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fire/EMS Department Awarded Federal Grant to Hire Firefighters

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

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department was notified late this week that we were awarded a federal grant to hire 18 new firefighters.  The Fire/EMS Department has been awarded $2,589,516 to hire 18 new fire fighters under the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program which was created by Congress to help address the significant staffing, equipment, training and health and safety needs of fire departments.

Under SAFER, fire departments apply for federal grants to help pay the costs associated with hiring new personnel to maintain safe staffing levels. The importance of adequate fire department staffing has been well documented by independent studies. The National Fire Protection Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration promulgated standards for the minimum number of fire fighters needed to respond safely and effectively to emergencies.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor stated, “The ability to hire 18 firefighters through the SAFER Grant will help us improve service delivery and will increase the safety of our first responders by ensuring adequate staffing levels.  Our Department motto of ‘Safety First so Everyone Goes Home’ is reinforced by having the ability to hire additional staffing to increase safety and reduce on the job injuries.”

The eighteen (18) SAFER grant funded positions are in addition to the 70 firefighters that will be hired under the FY13 Budget. They will be deployed at the Department’s busiest stations, will help reduce the number of understaffed responses, and will decrease the injuries to personnel attributed to understaffing.

Receipt of our grant award would not be possible if it were not for the hard work of our partners in the United States Congress. U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and U.S. Representatives Steny Hoyer and Donna Edwards have always helped to support and ensure continued funding for these important programs. Congressman Hoyer, a champion for the fire service and one of the key sponsors of the SAFER program stated “I’m so delighted that Prince George’s County was awarded this SAFER grant that will help our Fire Department safely respond to emergencies and protect our residents. Democrats have consistently fought for investments in the SAFER grant program, and I remain committed to protecting these critical funds so that our fire stations have the personnel and resources needed to do their jobs safely and effectively.”

"I want to thank Senator Mikulski and all of our Congressional delegation members for providing this needed funding that will make a significant impact on improving the public safety of Prince George’s County residents," stated Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III. "One of the top priorities of the Prince George’s County government is the safety and security of our citizens. With this grant, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will be able to increase the quantity of the greatest and most effective public safety resource they have – the firefighter.”

This is the second SAFER grant that has been awarded to the Prince George’s County. In 2010, the Fire and EMS Department received $3,458,682 to hire twenty-four (24) Fire Fighters and Emergency Medical Providers.

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