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Mikulski, Sarbanes Announce Federal Funding for the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department

Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes (both D-Md.) today announced Volunteer Fire Company #1 of Capitol Heights in Prince George’s County has been awarded $47,074 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. Senator Mikulski is on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the AFG program and fights each year to increase its federal funding.

“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 Prince George’s County communities. Congratulations to Volunteer Fire Company #1 of Capitol Heights on being awarded this well-deserved money.”

“As was demonstrated during the 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina 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.”

Volunteer Fire Company #1 of Capitol Heights will use its $47,074 to purchase a mobile fire safety education trailer that will be used at elementary schools, senior centers and other events around the county. For more information, call Volunteer Fire Chief James McClelland at 301-336-2111.

So far this funding cycle, Maryland fire departments have received 62 awards totaling $8,866,978. This is the eighth award for a Prince George’s County fire department this funding cycle, bringing the total to $2,087,433. Since 2001, Prince George’s County has received more than $4.04 million in funding through the AFG program.

Senators Mikulski and Sarbanes recently criticized the lack of support for America’s firefighters in President Bush’s FY 2007 budget, which cuts $244 million in federal support for the AFG program. In addition, the President’s budget eliminates funding for firefighter staffing (SAFER) grants, which received $105.8 million in FY 2006.

“How can the President support Homeland Security when he has cut the most valuable funding source for America’s firefighters? We need to support our first responders with more than just words,” said Senator Mikulski.