Dec 23,2010 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin (both D-Md.) announced the Water Witch Fire Company won $76,760 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program to purchase firefighting equipment. 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 chairman of the Homeland Security and Terrorism Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee.
“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.”
Senator Cardin said, “First responders have always been on the front lines, protecting our families and keeping our communities safe from harm. From fires to natural disasters to possible threats to our nation’s security, I thank these brave men and women for their continuing service and sense of duty. I support federal investments like this because our first responders must have the equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently.”
The Water Witch Fire Company will purchase three thermal imaging cameras, an automatic CPR machine and a washer/dryer to help keep firefighting gear clean of toxins. The fire company will also purchase 52 voice emitters, which help make communication between firefighters clearer and safer.
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 more than $91 million in AFGP funding, more than $2.6 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Cecil County.