Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) today announced that the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department and the Chillum-Adelphi Volunteer Fire Department won $446,245 and $103,500, respectively, in federally-funded tuition aid for first responders.

The money comes from the Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) program to provide tuition assistance for volunteer firefighters who agree to live at the station, helping keep the department staffed 24 hours a day. With tuition assistance, young volunteers are less likely to work part-time, allowing them more time to respond to emergencies. .

“I know how important this funding is to Maryland communities – often it’s the difference between life and death. First responders protect our homes and communities, and the federal government has a responsibility to protect them by providing them with the tools they need to do their jobs safer and smarter,” Mikulski said.

“When a natural disaster occurs or we are faced with a terrorist attack, it is our first responders who provide the first line of defense for our citizens,” said Cardin. “This federal funding is an important investment in keeping Maryland families and businesses safe if and when a disaster strikes. It ensures that our first responders have the resources they need to protect us and the equipment and training they need to do their jobs.”