Mikulski, Sarbanes Announce Federal Funding for Charles County Rescue Squad

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes (both D-MD) today announced that the Charles County Rescue Squad in Southern Maryland has been awarded $61,476 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Senator Mikulski is on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and fights each year to increase federal money for the program.

"I'm so proud of Maryland's firefighters, risking their lives to protect others," said Senator Mikulski. "But we need to protect our protectors with the best equipment training and resources. I will keep fighting for a federal investment in the safety of our first responders and Southern Maryland communities. Congratulations to the Charles County Rescue Squad on being awarded this well-deserved money."

"As was demonstrated during the 9/11 tragedies and during other emergencies across Maryland and the Nation on an almost daily basis, the heroism and diligence of America's firefighters and first responders is crucial to the health and safety of our communities," said Senator Sarbanes. "These hard-working firefighters deserve the most-up-to-date equipment, and I am pleased that this funding is being awarded to assist them in their efforts to protect their respective communities."

The Charles County Rescue Squad in La Plata, MD, will use its funds to purchase personal protective equipment, pants, jackets and other articles to protect primarily from pathogens. For more information on the Charles County Rescue Squad, call Brent Huber at (301) 346-8374.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is a competitive program that awards one-year grants directly to fire departments nationwide. Fire departments can apply for federal assistance for training and equipment, fire education and awareness programs, or firefighting vehicles. This year, approximately 20,400 departments nationwide applied for funding, totaling more than $2.6 billion in requests. Grants will be awarded on a weekly basis until all funds are disbursed.

In 2004, Senator Mikulski introduced an amendment to the FY 2005 Homeland Security appropriations bill that would have increased federal funding for the Fire Grant Program to its authorized level of $900 million. Senator Mikulski's amendment failed by a vote of 50-45, with 60 votes needed for passage.

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