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Lawmakers push to renovate aging Maryland fire stations

Posted at 5:23 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 17:25:15-04

CATONSVILLE, Md. — There's a push in Washington D.C. to get infrastructure aid for our first responders. Several senators introduced a bill to help modernize aging fire halls.

Congressional members met at Fire Station 4 in Catonsville, the oldest professional fire hall in Baltimore County, built in 1928.

A national survey found 43 percent of fire stations are more than 40 years old and are in desperate need of repair and nearly 60 percent of fire stations lack exhaust emission control systems.

Senator Chris Van Hollen's office did a survey of volunteer stations in Maryland.

“71 stations in Maryland needed significant renovations, repair, and in some cases, replacement all together,” Van Hollen said.

Many stations have no back-up power, have outdated ventilation systems, mold and lack crew quarters for female personnel.

Senator Van Hollen will introduce a bill that will put $1 billion in the fire station construction grant program for improvements to fire station in Maryland and around the nation.

“The fire house itself, that men and women leave and come back to, need repairs, and in many cases, overhauls,” Van Hollen said.

Baltimore County Fire Chief Joanne Rund said she would like to see more improvements to the health and safety to her firemen and women.

She would also like to see more of these exhaust capture systems put into their fire stations.

“Just basically cleaning the entire fire station from so many years of the exhaust system getting into them,” Rund said. “That's absolutely huge. If we can start with that and then expand to the larger projects it would be wonderful because our firefighters do you have the highest level of cancer out there.”

A similar bill has already been introduced in the house.

“Men and women go out on a mission, they have a fire station that is worthy of the sacrifice and putting themselves at risk,” Van Hollen said.