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Ann Davison, CAE
Strategic Information Manager
703–273-9815 x329
adavison@iafc.org

Senate Passes Amendment to Reauthorize USFA and FIRE and SAFER Grants

November 30, 2012

Last evening, the Senate unanimously accepted an amendment to reauthorize the FIRE and SAFER grant programs and the U.S. Fire Administration through Fiscal Year 2017. This amendment was offered by Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and Robert Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.) to S. 3254, the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.

A full description of the FIRE and SAFER provisions can be found on the IAFC fact sheet, which summarizes this agreement (pdf).

“This is an important victory for America’s fire and emergency service,” said Chief Hank Clemmensen, the IAFC’s President and Chairman of the Board. “Fire service organizations and their allies in Congress worked many years to bring this legislation to fruition.”

The amendment includes a number of major reforms, such as:

  • Ensuring a larger percentage of funding for fire prevention and safety
  • Increasing award sizes for larger jurisdictions
  • Establishing economic hardship waivers for beleaguered communities that need to maintain their response capabilities, but cannot meet the required local match

This amendment is consistent with an agreement reached earlier this year by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

As a condition of the amendment’s passage, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) insisted on a provision that would sunset the FIRE and SAFER grant programs in five years. While not ideal, such a provision is a typical concession in budget discussions; we will work to address it over the next several years. 

“I thank the IAFC members who supported this critical legislation and the senators who stepped forward to ensure this support for fire departments,” continued Clemmensen. “I urge Congress to include this amendment in the final version of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act and President Obama to sign it into law.”

About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders.