Senator Elizabeth Warren advocates for the continuation of vital firefighter grant programs

April 9, 2024

Urgent call for action on fire grants and safety act

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has called upon Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to expedite the passage of the Fire Grants and Safety Act.

This legislation is crucial for the continuation of two key federal grant programs: the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) programs, both of which are set to expire next year.

“Massachusetts fire departments have a strong history of securing AFG and SAFER grants to support their local firefighting and emergency response duties,” Senator Warren stated.

She emphasized her strong support for the fire departments’ efforts in safeguarding communities and expressed her desire to see the programs receive the funding they need to continue.

Impact of grants on Massachusetts fire departments

Since 2015, fire departments across Massachusetts have received over $270 million from the AFG and SAFER grants.

This funding has been instrumental in acquiring life-saving medical equipment, protective gear, and supporting the recruitment, training, and retention of personnel.

Recent beneficiaries include the Hingham Fire Department, which received over $100,000 to purchase emergency medical equipment, and the Belchertown and Worcester departments, which received substantial grants for hiring new firefighters and paying existing personnel, respectively.

Senator Warren’s history of support for firefighters

Senator Warren’s advocacy for firefighters and emergency responders in Massachusetts has a long history.

In December 2022, she and the Massachusetts congressional delegation announced $225 million in federal funding for various projects, including essential technology upgrades for firefighters and EMTs in Franklin County.

Additionally, in 2019, she co-introduced a resolution with a bipartisan group of senators to designate October 28 as “Honoring the Nation’s First Responders Day,” further highlighting her commitment to supporting those on the front lines of community safety.

FSJA Comment

The call by Senator Elizabeth Warren for the reauthorization of the Fire Grants and Safety Act underscores the critical role of federal funding in maintaining and enhancing the capabilities of fire departments across the United States.

The examples from Massachusetts alone showcase how such grants directly contribute to saving lives and improving the safety and effectiveness of firefighters and emergency responders.

The bipartisan nature of past initiatives, as well as the broad support from both Democratic and Republican senators, reflects the widespread recognition of the importance of these grants.

As these programs approach their expiration date, the urgency of Senator Warren’s appeal to her colleagues highlights the ongoing need for financial support to ensure the readiness and effectiveness of fire services nationwide.

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