New US bill proposes budget cuts for two firefighter grants


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The US House and Senate Appropriations Committee released their Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2471) earlier this week. 

The bill would cut both the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (also known as the ‘FIRE Grant’) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programme by $10m each from President Biden’s request of $370 million to $360 million for each programme, IAFC’s director of government relations and policy Ken LaSala reported.

Chief Kenneth Stuebing, president and board chair, International Association of Fire Chiefs said: “I am alarmed that Congress would propose cutting the FIRE and SAFER grant programs. After two years on the front lines helping their citizens afflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic, fire and EMS agencies are in desperate need of funding to replenish staffing, equipment, and training. The IAFC will work with our allies in Congress to protect these critical programmes. I urge all IAFC members to contact their members of Congress and ask them to save the FIRE and SAFER grant programmes.”

Overall, the bill is set to increase funding for many fire and EMS programmes, including:

  • U.S. Fire Administration – $53.2 million
  • Urban Areas Security Initiative – $740 million
  • State Homeland Security Grant Program – $645 million
  • Volunteer Fire Assistance – $20 million
  • SIREN Rural EMS Grants – $7.5 million
  • National Firefighter Cancer Registry – $3 million

The bill also would allow the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to waive requirements to the FIRE and SAFER grant programme, including the local cost-share requirement and maintenance of expenditure requirements.  

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