OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Fire Department this week got a fiscal shot in the arm in the form of a $383,000-plus federal grant through homeland security to purchase lifesaving rescue equipment.
U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin this week announced the Ocean City Fire Department will receive the federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program to purchase lifesaving and rescue equipment. The Ocean City Fire Department will use the grant funds to purchase 50 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units.
The SCBA units allow firefighters to breathe inside smoke-filled buildings. AFG program grants are used to fund firefighting equipment, personal protection equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, firefighter and first-responder safety projects, staffing recruitment and retention and public fire safety education. Mikulski, now chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said this week she fights each year to increase federal funding for the fire grants program.
“I know how important this funding is to Maryland communities,” she said. “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. Every day when our first 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 need and communities deserve.”
Since 2001, fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received around $119 million in AFG program funding, including roughly $1.3 million awarded to fire departments in Worcester County. Including this week’s grant, the town of Ocean City’s fire department has been the recipient of four separate AFG grant awards totaling over $440,000.
“When a natural disaster occurs, or we are faced with a terrorist attack, it is our first responders who provide the first line of defense for our citizens,” said Cardin. “This federal funding is an important investment in keeping Maryland families and businesses safe if and when a disaster strikes. It ensures that our first responders have the resources they need to protect us and the equipment and training they need to do their jobs.”