Annapolis awarded $225,000 for new fire and rescue boat

City will add $25,000 to the federal grant

February 10, 2005|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

The Annapolis Fire Department has been awarded $225,000 in a federal grant to purchase a new fire and rescue boat that will serve the historic port and waterways of several counties, city officials announced yesterday.

The funds were provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and will be combined with a $25,000 contribution from the city, said Fire Chief Michael P. Lonergan.

The award is part of $750 million that was distributed through the program to departments nationwide.

"We're very, very excited," said Lonergan, noting that plans are being drawn for the 32-foot boat, which will be able to hold about 15 people and will replace the department's aging fireboat.

City spokeswoman Jan Hardesty said the new boat will conduct rescue operations along 26 miles of waterfront and will assist with emergency operations in surrounding areas.

In a written statement, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a 3rd District Democrat, called the fireboat a critical resource, and said the grant program "represents a major effort by the federal government to ensure that our nation's firefighters have the equipment they need to do the job."

Lonergan said he hopes the boat will be ready for use by the end of the year.

Two years ago, Anne Arundel County launched a specially equipped 42-foot fire and rescue boat to cover the county's 500-plus miles of shoreline.

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