Baltimore County will be using $1 million in ARPA funds for volunteer fire company grants.
Baltimore County allocated $1 million in grants to the County’s volunteer fire companies, which are a crucial component of the County’s public safety infrastructure. The funds will come from the County’s American Rescue Plan (ARPA) allocation.
According to the press release:
“Our firefighters never hesitate to answer the call when others are in need, even when it means putting themselves in harm’s way,” said U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen. “Federal Team Maryland fought to pass the American Rescue Plan so our communities could advance important local priorities like bolstering public safety infrastructure. I’m glad to see County Executive Olszewski investing American Rescue Plan funds in helping Baltimore County’s volunteer fire companies recover, especially as many have struggled financially during the pandemic. These resources will strengthen first response capabilities in order to help better protect our communities.”
Baltimore County has 29 volunteer fire companies, which are independent corporations but play a vital role in the County’s emergency response services. At fires and other emergency events, volunteers work alongside their career counterparts.
The companies will be able to use the grant funds in accordance with their individual needs, as long as the expenditures meet federal guidelines for ARP spending. Expenditures could include certain types of equipment or contributions toward the cost of emergency apparatus, for example.
Baltimore County’s push for increased resources for volunteer fire companies aligns with MACo’s work on realigning emergency medical service (EMS) reimbursements. For the 2022 Legislative Session, MACo prioritized advocating for an updated EMS reimbursement formula. SB295/HB44 would provide professional and volunteer fire companies with a more appropriate reimbursement phased in over three years.