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US Senate reauthorises Fire Grants and Safety Act

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The US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has repassed the Fire Grants and Safety Act. The act reauthorises federal grant programs designed to bolster fire fighter staffing and purchase vital equipment.

The grants include the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant and the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG).  

The AFG and SAFER grants are each funded at US $360 million annually. More than 2,700 AFG grants – totaling $567.6 million – for apparatus, PPE, and training were awarded to IAFF affiliates between 2018 and 2021. More than 450 SAFER grants adding up to more than $1 billion were awarded to affiliates for hiring and maintaining existing personnel. The legislation also would ensure the United States Fire Administration (USFA) is maintained.

Protecting people across the nation

The bill’s chief sponsor, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), said that Congress needs to swiftly come together and vote in favour of the Fire Grants and Safety Act: “Fire stations rely on federal grant programs for the resources and tools they need to protect people across the nation

“Congress must pass this legislation to extend these programs that ensure brave and courageous fire fighters can safely protect communities from fires and other emergencies.” 

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) General President, Edward Kelly, said that the reauthorisation of the grant programs sends a strong message that staffing, safety, and the wellbeing of firefighters remains a high priority for Congress.

“Passing this legislation helps make our dangerous job safer and is an important step in protecting communities across the United States,” said Kelly.

The legislation now moves to the full Senate for consideration. 

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