Forty emergency responder organizations in Central Maryland received up to a $10,000 portion of nearly $318,000 in grants from Baltimore Gas and Electric Company.
On Wednesday, BGE leaders and representatives of nonprofit groups gathered to announce awards through the 2012 BGE Emergency Responders Safety Grant program.
"I believe that in many ways we are kindred spirits," BGE president and CEO Ken DeFontes Jr. said of BGE and emergency responders. "Baltimore Gas and Electric Company has a team of people ... who go out into the community, respond to public issues, whether it be a gas concern or carbon monoxide leak, or wire down, or storm, or road closure—anything at all that could cause our team to have to be out to restore power."
Like other responders, BGE needs high-tech equipment and well-trained personnel, and they often work with organizations during emergencies, such as storms, he said.
That's why BGE is helping those groups, DeFontes said. "It's a re-engagement with the community," he said.
Some of the grants were used to purchase defibrillators, radio systems, thermal imager cameras, rescue tools and carbon monoxide detection equipment.
Throughout BGE's nearly 150 years in business, it has worked closely with fire companies and other organizations during emergencies, DeFontes said after the press conference.
But this new grant program is specifically for nonprofit emergency services organizations, and lets each organization request how the money will be spent, he said.
Baltimore received funds for response trailers for the American Red Cross Central Maryland Chapter; for replacing aging infrastructure through the Box 414 Association; for purchasing smoke alarms for use in the city through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation; and radio upgrades for Northwest Citizens Patrol Inc.