WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have announced $500,000 in federal funding for the University of Maryland’s Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI) through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. This funding will allow MFRI to purchase crucial equipment, including 25 sets of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, 25 sets of turnout gear, breathing air compressors, hazmat spill materials, and a simulation training enhancement kit.

“Maryland’s first responders deserve every resource they need to safely go about the difficult and dangerous business of saving lives – and training the next generation to do the same,” said Senator Cardin. “This federal investment will help ensure they have exactly that. I’m glad to see the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute getting the equipment they both need and deserve, and I’m committed to bringing these critical investments to first responders across our whole state.”

“Our first responders put their lives on the line every day – we must make sure they have the tools and training they need to best serve our communities,” said Senator Van Hollen. “This grant will support the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute in their mission to prepare and equip our first responders. I will continue fighting for federal investments to ensure the safety and security of our communities.”

“We are grateful to be awarded this grant that will help us provide quality instruction to the state’s emergency responders,” said Michael E. Cox, Jr., Executive Director of the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute. “We train more than 34,000 students each year and this needed grant will allow us to do this in a more effective manner. Our sincere thanks to Senators Van Hollen, Cardin and our other congressional officials for their work in strongly supporting the AFG grant program.”

These federal funds are awarded through the AFG program, which awards grants directly to fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services organizations, and state fire training academies to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel. Senators Cardin and Van Hollen worked to secure $345 million for the AFG program for Fiscal Year 2018 and continue to work towards robust funding in Fiscal Year 2019.