PRESS RELEASE: Cardin, Van Hollen Announce $1.2 Million for Recruitment of Volunteer Firefightersin Prince George’s and Montgomery County

For Immediate Release
August 14, 2017

CONTACT: Ian Jannetta (Van Hollen) 202-228-0672
Sue Walitsky/Tim Zink (Cardin) 202-224-4524

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have announced that the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association and the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department have been awarded a total of $1,229,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to recruit and train new volunteer firefighters. The grants will ensure adequate staffing levels to respond to fire and emergency medical calls.

The Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association has been awarded $530,000 to recruit and retain volunteers to adequately staff the 19 volunteer stations throughout Montgomery County. Their program will provide a valuable tuition assistance program for active volunteers to pay for college courses. In addition, the Association will reinstitute a high school cadet program to recruit and train high school students to become volunteers from the County’s 26 high schools. Several years ago during the recession Montgomery County had to cut funds for a very successful high school cadet program.

The Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded $699,000 to initiate a county-wide volunteer firefighter recruitment effort to support the 37 volunteer Fire/EMS Departments in Prince George’s County in conjunction with the Prince George’s County Fire Commission and the Prince George’s Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association.

“This grant is a federal investment in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties’ firefighters and residents alike,” said Senator Cardin. “We trust our first responders to protect our homes and our families. In turn, we have a responsibility to ensure that they have all the resources – and people – necessary to keep themselves and others safe. This grant helps us live up to that responsibility and keep our fire departments well-staffed.”

“Every day, firefighters in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties and across our state put their lives on the line to protect our communities,” said Senator Van Hollen. “This grant will ensure that volunteer departments across our region have appropriate staffing levels to respond to emergencies, whether it’s an accident on I-495, a house fire in Largo, or a medical emergency like a heart attack. This investment will help these brave men and women keep our families, homes, and communities safe.”

Funding is available through FEMA’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER) program. The SAFER grant program enhances the ability of fire departments around the country to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing by providing grants directly to fire departments. Specifically, the grants help fire departments increase the number of frontline firefighters and help rehire firefighters who lost their jobs during the economic downturn. The SAFER program provides approximately $345 million in competitive grants to fire departments and statewide or local
volunteer firefighter support groups.