Frederick County has been awarded a $6,339,748 grant to pay for 41 additional combined firefighter and emergency medical positions. U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin, along with U.S. Representatives Chris Van Hollen and John Delaney announced the award today through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant program. The funds will allow the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services to meet national staffing standards for most emergency calls.
“The 41 new positions will make a huge difference to the citizens of Frederick County, who rely on firefighters and medics in times of need,” County Executive Jan Gardner said Wednesday. “I want to thank Senators Mikulski and Cardin, and Congressmen Van Hollen and Delaney for their work to secure these funds so we can better serve and protect our community.”
“This grant will enable the county to meet staffing requests made by several volunteer companies and accelerate our transition from station staffing to tactical unit staffing so the work of our fire/rescue personnel is safer for them and tactically more effective for our community,” Fire Chief Thomas Owens said.
Over the past 10 years, the call volume handled by the Division of Fire and Rescue Services has increased 26 percent. At the same time, the availability of volunteer firefighters has decreased. Because of the increased workload, career staff have been unable to use the leave time they have earned. The award pays for salaries and benefits for two years.