Fire Grants Reauthorization Passes Key Committee

WASHINGTON – Today, legislation to reauthorize grant programs that help train, equip, and hire firefighters around the country, cleared the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Chairman of the Federal Financial Management (FFM) Subcommittee and Co-Chair of the Congressional Fire Caucus Tom Carper (D-Del.), Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) and FFM Ranking Member Scott Brown (R-Mass.) introduced the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 550) in March. It was approved by a vote of 8-2 in the Committee.  

“The Fire Grants Reauthorization Act of 2011 is critically important to fire fighters and emergency service organizations throughout the country, and especially to our fellow fire men and women in Delaware”, said Sen. Tom Carper. “As co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I’m committed to ensuring our first responders get the tools they need. Many emergency services organizations have had to make drastic cuts in equipment and personnel due to the challenging economy and severely strained state and local budgets. This program allows our first responders to obtain essential grants that allow them to perform at their very best during times of crisis. I’d like to thank my colleagues on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for passing this life-saving bill.”  

The bill would reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters program (AFG), which funds equipment, training, and vehicles; the Fire Prevention and Safety Grants (FP&S), which support projects to increase the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and fire-related hazards; and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program (SAFER), which provides funds for hiring. The bill also includes a number of accountability measures, including performance assessments and a competitive award process.