Categories: Featured News, Americas
Tags: politics

IAFC calls for reauthorisation of vital firefighter programs


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International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) President and Board Chair, Chief Donna Black, made a significant appearance before Congress, testifying at the Research & Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on May 11.

Black’s impassioned testimony advocated for the reauthorisation of three critical programs: the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program, and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).

These programs, Black emphasised, are integral to providing essential resources to fire departments and emergency responders nationwide. She specifically proposed that both the AFG and SAFER programs be reauthorised through Fiscal Year 2030 and that the USFA receive authorisation through FY 2030 with an increased funding of $95 million annually.

During her testimony, Black underscored the success of these programs in offering matching grants to local fire departments, addressing their fundamental requirements. However, she pointed out that numerous departments continue to face challenges in equipping their members with personal protective gear and necessary training.

Black also spotlighted the pivotal role of Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grants in financing research that aims to identify and mitigate the growing incidence of cancer in the fire service.

The IAFC President requested an extension of the sunset date for the AFG and SAFER programs to September 30, 2032. This would provide Congress with sufficient time to review and revise the programs before their potential termination.

“I thank the subcommittee for focusing on reauthorising these programs. They provide important resources, but there still remains work to be done,” Black stated. “On behalf of the IAFC and its members, I look forward to working with the subcommittee to draft and pass legislation to reauthorise these critical programs.”

The IAFC, representing over 11,000 members including fire chiefs, firefighters, and emergency responders nationwide, has underscored the significant role of the AFG and SAFER programs, as well as the USFA, in supporting the country’s emergency response system. Their reauthorisation is seen as critical in ensuring fire departments across the nation are well-equipped to protect their communities.

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