Source: United States Senator for Maryland Chris Van Hollen
Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced $2.7 million in federal funding for Baltimore County to hire 28 new firefighters in 2020. The funding, awarded through Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, will support the department’s expansion of services in Sparrows Point to support the growth at Tradepoint Atlantic. The county will provide $1.7 million in matching funds.
“Every day the men and women of the Baltimore County Fire Department put their lives on the line to keep our community safe. This funding will provide additional staff and resources to accomplish their mission. I was proud to join County Executive Olszewski in announcing this crucial funding today. I will keep working in the Senate to invest in our public safety and ensure our first responders have the tools they need,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Budget and Approbations Committees.
“Our firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect our families and communities, and this new funding will go a long way toward supporting their mission and ensuring they can continue their exemplary service as our county grows,” Olszewski said. “I’m grateful to Senators Van Hollen and Cardin and our entire delegation in Washington for supporting our application for funds and for their continued partnership as we build a better Baltimore County.”
The Baltimore County Fire Department plans to expand services at the Sparrows Point Fire Station in order to accommodate the residential and economic growth associated with the development at Tradepoint Atlantic and the surrounding area. The federal funds will support the salary and fringe benefits of 28 new firefighters who will be hired in anticipation of the growing needs of the Department.
The Department anticipates hiring the new firefighters in 2020.
The SAFER grant program provides funds directly to fire departments to ensure they can maintain an adequate number of firefighters to effectively serve their communities.
The Baltimore County fire department employs more than 1,000 paid emergency response personnel at 25 career stations. There are also 29 volunteer fire companies, with more than 2,000 volunteers supporting them. Baltimore County firefighters and emergency medical technicians respond to more than 138,000 incidents each year.
The county’s infrastructure deal with Tradepoint Atlantic, approved by the council last year, requires Tradepoint Atlantic to identify space on site for the county to build a new fire station. Construction on a new station should begin by Fiscal Year 2022.