Fire Grants and Safety Act receives Senate approval


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Fire Grants and Safety Act overview

“This legislation confirms our nation’s commitment to firefighters.”

IAFC President Fire Chief John S. Butler

The U.S. Senate has passed the Fire Grants and Safety Act (S. 870), as reported by the IAFC.

This legislation aims to extend and fund the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program.

The bill authorises $750 million for these programs from FY 2024 through FY 2028 and delays the programs’ sunset date to September 30, 2030.

Additionally, the bill authorises $95 million for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to fund the National Emergency Response Information System (NERIS), develop EMS programs, and examine the causes of major fires.

The bill also includes provisions for promoting nuclear energy development in the U.S.

Fire Chief John S. Butler, President and Board Chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, expressed gratitude: “I thank Congress for passing this critical legislation.”

He acknowledged the leadership of various committees and caucuses for their dedication to the bill’s passage.

Legislative process and next steps

The Fire Grants and Safety Act previously passed the Senate on April 20, 2023.

It was then amended and passed by the House of Representatives on May 8, 2024, with a vote of 393-13, with one member voting “Present”.

The Senate’s final passage of the bill by a bipartisan 88-2 vote now sends it to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.

Edward Kelly, General President of the IAFF, highlighted the impact of AFG and SAFER grants: “Lives in every state have been saved by AFG and SAFER grants, including the lives of firefighters.”

He also praised the IAFF’s Government Affairs team for their efforts in advancing the bill.

Funding and impact of AFG and SAFER grants

The AFG and SAFER grants have distributed over $15 billion to fire departments nationwide.

In Fiscal Year 2022, IAFF-affiliated departments received 70 SAFER grants and more than $286 million, while 400 AFG grants provided over $100 million.

These grants help fire departments hire and retain firefighters, purchase modern equipment, and provide training to enhance safety.

Kelly emphasised the bipartisan support these programs have received: “Over the years, these programs have been reauthorized by Republican and Democratic congresses committed to protecting our communities and our firefighters.”

The IAFF said it is grateful to key Senators and Representatives for their leadership in passing the Fire Grants and Safety Act.

Commitment to fire safety and emergency response

The Fire Grants and Safety Act is seen as a significant commitment to the safety of firefighters and the communities they serve.

The bill’s provisions ensure that fire departments across the U.S. will continue to receive essential funding for staffing, equipment, and training through 2030.

Fire Chief John S. Butler underscored the importance of the legislation: “This legislation confirms our nation’s commitment to firefighters and EMS personnel across the nation, who provide lifesaving service to their communities every day.”

The bill’s passage is a crucial step towards maintaining and enhancing fire safety and emergency response capabilities in the United States.

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