Anne Arundel County has accepted a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant that supports up to 70 new firefighter positions.
The grant is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“This is great news for our fire department and all county residents,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “Public safety is the most important obligation we have, and I’m pleased that we are moving forward to fill critical vacancies and expand our firefighter force to provide better coverage for our communities. I want to thank Senator Chris Van Hollen and our entire Maryland delegation for their support in securing this important federal funding.”
Anne Arundel County’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes 50 new firefighter positions. The SAFER grant supports up to 70 new positions by contributing up to $8.5 million in federal funding over three years. If all of the new positions can be hired before the end of the fiscal year, the Pittman administration intends to introduce legislation to the county council to authorize 20 additional firefighter positions to bring the FY2020 budget total to 70.
The announcement of the SAFER award comes shortly after the fire department graduated its 58th class of firefighter recruits. Recruit Class 58 included 30 members who will go to the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, nine members to the Annapolis Fire Department, and four members to the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport Fire and Rescue Department. The fire academy lasted 30 weeks and the graduation ceremony was September 20 at the Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park.
“Through the SAFER grant, we look forward to the opportunity to increase our staffing and improve our service delivery to the residents, businesses and visitors of Anne Arundel County,” said Fire Chief Trisha L. Wolford.
Another recruit class with up to 70 members is planned for early 2020.