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Full U.S. Senate to Consider Legislation to Protect the FIRE and SAFER Grant Programs!

Within the next few days, the U.S. Senate may be considering legislation to reauthorize funding for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program (popularly known as the “FIRE grants”); the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program; and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).

Currently, the AFG and SAFER programs are scheduled to expire on September 30, 2024. The Fire Grants and

Safety Act (S. 870) would protect these programs. The bipartisan legislation would:

  1. Extend the authorization of funding for the AFG, SAFER and USFA programs through Fiscal Year (FY) 2030.
  2. Increase the authorization for the USFA to $95 million.
    a. USFA was authorized at $76.49 million in FY 2023, so that is an almost $20 million increase.
  3. Extend the sunset for the AFG and SAFER programs to September 30, 2032.

S. 870 was sponsored by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI); Susan Collins (R-ME); Lisa Murkowski (R-AK); and Tom Carper (D-DE).

The Fire Grants and Safety Act originally was introduced as S. 559. It was considered by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on March 15. Due to procedural issues, the bill had to be re-introduced as S. 870.

The AFG and SAFER programs provide critical matching grants to local fire departments for training, equipment, and staffing. The grant funds are awarded using a peer-review process that includes input from fire and emergency service personnel across the nation. The USFA hosts the National Fire Academy, the nation’s premier fire service educational institution.

Please ask your Senators to pass S. 559. You can use the IAFC’s Legislative Action Center to contact your Senators directly. If you have time, you also can call your Senators by using the Senate directory.

Ken LaSala is the IAFC’s Director of Government Relations & Policy.>

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