WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of Senators and members of the Homeland Security Committee today introduced the United States Fire Administration Reauthorization Act of 2012. The bill authored by Senators Tom Carper, D-Del., Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., Susan Collins, R-Maine, John McCain, R-Ariz., and Scott Brown, R-Mass., would renew funding for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).
Since its creation in 1974, the USFA and its Fire Academy have helped prevent fires, protect property, and save lives among firefighters and the public. Today, the Fire Administration is also integrated into our national, all-hazards preparations against natural disasters and terrorist attacks. The United States Fire Administration Reauthorization Act of 2012 would reauthorize the USFA through 2017.
"This bill is critically important to fire fighters and emergency service organizations throughout the country, including our 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 and training 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 bill renews our commitment to the U.S. Fire Administration and the essential services and programs that help our first responders to perform at their very best during times of crisis."
"Communities in Connecticut and across the country rely on firefighters to rush into the midst of a disaster when everyone else flees in the opposite direction," said Senator Lieberman. "The U.S. Fire Administration plays a key role in educating the public about fire safety and in keeping firefighters well trained so they can perform their jobs safely and expertly. Each season, we are reminded of how much we depend on our first responders. Reauthorization of USFA reflects our commitment to them for their dedication to us."
"America's firefighters play a vital role in the security of our nation and it is important that, as a nation and a Congress, we are supportive of them," said Senator Collins. "We can do so by reauthorizing the United States Fire Administration. As the principle federal agency for America's fire service, it is simply invaluable to our nation and its firefighters."
"Today's firefighters must be prepared to deal with a host of hazards caused by urban and wild land fires, natural disasters, hazardous materials spills, in addition to being among the first to respond to any domestic terrorist event," said Senator John McCain. "This legislation is designed to ensure that our nation's first-responders are well-prepared and trained for these various threats while recognizing our current fiscal situation by maintaining the authorization of appropriations at FY 2012 levels through FY 2017."
"Having spoken with hundreds of firefighters and emergency responders across Massachusetts, I know how important federal fire programs are in supporting state and local departments and the communities they serve," said Senator Brown. "Reauthorizing the U.S. Fire Administration is a critical step toward ensuring that our firefighters and communities remain safe. I will be working with my fellow cosponsors to get this bill to the Senate floor in the near future."
The USFA Reauthorization Act of 2012 is supported by numerous first responder groups including the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the National Volunteer Fire Council.