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IAFC celebrates the passage of the Fire Grants and Safety Act

May 10, 2024

U.S. House of Representatives approves Fire Grants and Safety Act, moves to Senate for final approval

The U.S. House of Representatives has recently passed the Fire Grants and Safety Act (S. 870), marking a significant step toward securing continued support for critical fire and emergency services programs.

The bill, aimed at preventing the termination of key grant programs and enhancing fire safety measures, will now head to the U.S. Senate for final passage, as reported by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC).

Details of the Fire Grants and Safety Act

The Fire Grants and Safety Act proposes significant measures to ensure the ongoing support of fire and emergency services across the nation.

Key provisions of the bill include the authorization of $750 million in funding for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs over the next five years.

Additionally, the bill seeks to extend the sunset date for these programs to September 30, 2030.

The act also proposes $95 million in federal funding for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).

This funding is designated for the development of the National Emergency Response Information System, enhancement of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) programs, and support for research into the causes of major fires and the dissemination of best practices for prevention.

Reaction from the fire service community

The passage of S. 870 has been met with enthusiasm from leaders within the fire service community.

Fire Chief John S. Butler, President and Board Chair of the IAFC, expressed his gratitude towards the Congressional Fire Services Caucus: “This is a momentous occasion,” said Butler.

“I would like to personally thank the Congressional Fire Services Caucus leadership for their persistence in passing this vital legislation.

“To Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr., Mike Bost, Steny Hoyer, and Brian Fitzpatrick, Representative Tom Kean, Jr., the sponsor of the House companion bill, Representatives Frank Lucas and Zoe Lofgren, the chairman and the ranking member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee: thank you for standing up and supporting our nation’s fire service.

“This bill will protect critical sources of funding and training for local fire and EMS departments.”

Next steps for the Fire Grants and Safety Act

With the House’s approval, the focus now shifts to the U.S. Senate, where S. 870 must be considered and passed once more.

The bill had previously passed the Senate on April 20, 2023, but subsequent amendments in the House require another round of approval.

The IAFC remains optimistic about the bill’s final passage and is actively working with Senate supporters to facilitate this outcome.

FSJA Comment

The recent approval of the Fire Grants and Safety Act by the U.S. House of Representatives represents a crucial step in the ongoing effort to ensure the stability and effectiveness of fire and emergency services in the United States.

By securing funding and extending the life of essential grant programs, this legislation not only supports the operational capabilities of fire departments but also contributes to the overall safety and preparedness of communities nationwide.

The bipartisan support for this bill highlights the collective acknowledgment of the critical role that fire services play in public safety.

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