Impact assessment: Senate reauthorizes Fire Grants and Safety Act for firefighter funding

June 25, 2024

Senate approves Fire Grants and Safety Act

On June 18, 2024, the Senate voted 88 to 2 in favor of the bipartisan Fire Grants and Safety Act (S. 870), as reported by IAFF and CFSI.

This legislation reauthorizes funding for the Assistance to Fire Fighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) remarked on the importance of the bill: “Today the Senate does a great thing for our fire fighters in New York and across America: we are passing the bipartisan Fire Grants and Safety Act.”

Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) added: “By passing this legislation, Congress has helped ensure these brave heroes have the necessary resources to keep themselves safe in the line of duty.”

Bipartisan support for firefighter resources

The Fire Grants and Safety Act garnered support from lawmakers across party lines.

The bill aims to provide fire departments with essential resources, including funding for staffing, equipment, and training.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) noted her long-term involvement: “In 2003, I helped create FEMA’s fire fighters grant program, which provided funding for staffing, equipment, and training to help fire fighters do their important jobs as effectively and safely as possible.”

Representative Tom Kean (R-NJ) emphasized the urgency: “This bill, which incorporated my introduced language, will reauthorize federal grants and programs for local fire departments which will help protect families in New Jersey and nationwide.”

Efforts of IAFF and CFSI in legislation passage

The passage of the Fire Grants and Safety Act is the result of extensive advocacy efforts by IAFF and CFSI.

These organizations collaborated with Congressional members to highlight the importance of continuous funding for firefighter programs.

Bill Webb, CFSI’s Executive Director, said: “The core mission of CFSI is consensus building, and for over 24 years, we have worked collaboratively with other national organizations to preserve and fund these two programs, as well as the United States Fire Administration.”

The journey began in 2022 and faced several challenges, including a stalled bill in the 117th Congress.

However, the collective effort of fire and emergency services groups ensured the bill’s progress in the 118th Congress.

Next steps for the Fire Grants and Safety Act

With the Senate’s approval, the Fire Grants and Safety Act is now awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature.

This legislation will extend the sunset date for AFG and SAFER to September 30, 2030, and provide continuous support for the U.S. Fire Administration through fiscal year 2028.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) highlighted the bill’s significance for wildfire-prone areas: “Wildfires are becoming more prevalent throughout the country, and resources are stretched.”

CFSI has pledged to continue advocating for robust funding for these programs and the USFA, ensuring that the fire and emergency services have the support they need in the coming years.

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