Thanks to a grant from the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George's County is able to get new equipment that will help detect gas leaks and hidden sources of fire.

BGE presented grants totaling about $320,000 to approximately 40 emergency response and safety organizations in its Central Maryland service area last month. The Kentland department received about $9,300.

"It's really great that BGE is reaching out to the public safety community," said Sgt. Oleg Pelekhaty. Because the department is a completely volunteer agency, it can be hard to raise funds, he said.

The Kentland department has used the grant to purchase five pairs of flammable gas and carbon monoxide detectors, Pelekhaty said. The equipment will help firefighters determine the gas levels in homes and businesses and also help them pinpoint the sources of leaks.

The firefighters have been using outdated gas-detection technology, and the grant allows the department to modernize.

"We're excited to have up-to-date equipment," Pelekhaty said.

Additionally, the department is going to use some of the grant money to purchase a thermal-imaging camera, which will allow firefighters to find fire victims and hidden sources of fire when there is a lot of smoke, Pelekhaty said.

The Burtonsville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department and the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad were among the other organizations in the D.C. area that received grants from BGE.