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Government Relations

Current Legislative Issues

Securing FIRE and SAFER grant programs
FIRE and SAFER grants provide direct support to local fire departments for equipment, training, and staffing using a respected merit-based, peer review process. Contact your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support $405 million each for the FIRE and SAFER grant programs. Also, ask your Senator to cosponsor S. 550, the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act.

Establishing a Nationwide, Wireless Broadband Network for Public Safety
Congress currently is considering legislation to allocate the D Block to public safety, so that we will have adequate spectrum to build an effective nationwide, wireless broadband network for public safety. Congress is also considering authorizing funding to build, maintain and operate the network. Please ask your Senators and Representatives to cosponsor S. 911 and H.R. 607, respectively.

Protecting Funding for the U.S. Fire Administration
The USFA mission is to provide national leadership for the fire and emergency services and train the present and future fire service leadership at the National Fire Academy. Federal proposal cut the USFA budget by almost 7 percent. Please ask your Senators and Representatives to support $45.59 million for USFA.

Protecting State and Local Incentives for Volunteer Firefighters
Currently, the IRS can tax all state and local benefits for volunteer firefighters. An earlier law allowing firefighters to exclude any property tax abatement and up to $360 per year in other benefits has expired. Please ask your Senator to cosponsor S. 933, the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Reauthorization Act.

Clarifying the “Volunteer” Status of Volunteer Firefighters
Traditionally, fire departments had issued IRS Form 1099 to their volunteers. A new IRS policy requiring departments issue IRS Form W-2 designates volunteers as "employees" and conflicts with U.S. Department of Labor policy and state and local laws. The Volunteer Firefighter Fairness Act clarifies the “volunteer” status of volunteer firefighters and ensure that fire departments can issue Form 1099.

Creating Incentives for the Installation of Fire Sprinklers
Fire sprinklers remain a necessity for building owners to protect both life and property from fires. Congress is considering legislation to create an incentive for commercial building owners to retrofit their buildings with fire sprinklers. Please ask your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 1792 and S. 1035, the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act.

Authorizing the National Hazardous Materials Fusion Center
The IAFC and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have created the National Hazardous Materials Fusion Center to provide an opportunity for hazmat teams to network and educate each other about hazmat incidents to improve responder and public safety. The IAFC supports authorization and funding of the National Hazmat Fusion Center as part of the surface transportation bill.

For Information:

Hot Sheet — PDF

Issue Discussions — PDF Access Restricted