The Fullerton-based Central Alarmers, a group that provides food and beverages to first responders, is a little closer to having the funds to buy a new rehabilitation vehicle thanks to a recent grant made by a local utilities company.
Last Wednesday the Alarmers received a $10,000 check through the 2012 BGE Emergency Responders Safety Grant program. The much-needed funds will help cover the costs of a $190,000 new truck to replace a 16-year-old vehicle that company president Frank Ward said costs 4-500 dollars a month in upkeep.
"[We were] excited and shocked, I should say," Ward said of receiving the grant, which he said was very competitive. "From my understanding a lot of the companies only got 1,000 so we were lucky to get 10,000."
The check put Central Alarmers just past the halfway point in their fundraising campaign—since last July they've raised $27,000 of the $50,000 they need to pay for the truck through bus trips, fruit sales, raffles and fundraiser nights.
Back in September the group, which police and fire spokeswoman Elise Armacost said provides an "invaluable service", was the recipient of a $142,000 loan through the Baltimore County Volunteer Firefighters Association.
All those good turns of fortune have added up to one thing: the new truck is set to be delivered late in March.
"We're going down in two weeks to look at it," Ward said "From what I was told the vehicle should be in the paint shop, it's due for delivery around March 22."
To help raise the remaining $23,000, the group is hosting a fundraiser night from 5-9 p.m. Feb. 27 at Pizza Hut, 8641 Belair Road. Ward said the group also recently put up a new website where people can donate through Paypal.
Central Alarmers was among 40 emergency responder organizations in Central Maryland that are receiving up to a $10,000 portion of nearly $318,000 in grants from Baltimore Gas and Electric Company.
"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, he 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 non-profit emergency services organizations, and lets each organization request how the money will be spent, he said.