President Signs Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations with Increases for Fire Service Programs

Today, President Trump signed H.J. Res. 31, which funds federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Department of Transportation. The bill included a number of increases for fire service programs:

  • U.S. Fire Administration: $45.679 million (including $1.5 million for infrastructure improvements)
  • Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) Grant Program: $350 million
  • SAFER Program: $350 million
  • Urban Areas Security Initiative: $640 million
  • State Homeland Security Grant Program: $525 million
  • Urban Search and Rescue: $45.33 million
  • Volunteer Fire Assistance (Rural Fire Capacity): $17 million
  • State Fire Assistance (National Fire Capacity): $81 million

The new law also authorizes funding for the ALERT grant program, which is administered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to train emergency responders for rail incidents involving hazardous materials.

This funding levels demonstrate increased funding for all fire service programs, except the FIRE and SAFER grant programs were remained funded at the FY 2018 level of $350 million. The new law also allows FEMA to waive requirements to the SAFER grant program for fire departments that are hiring firefighters.

Please thank your Senators and Representatives for supporting funding for these important fire service programs.

Ken LaSala is the IAFC's director of government relations and policy.

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