Dec 22 2017
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) bipartisan bill to reauthorize vital programs for America’s firefighters and emergency response services is now headed to President Trump’s desk for signature.
McCain’s Fire Grants Reauthorization Act, cosponsored by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tom Carper (D-DE), would reauthorize the highly successful Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs though Fiscal Year 2023. These programs provide our nation’s more than one million fire and emergency services personnel access to the training, equipment and staffing they need to respond to emergency situations.
“Firefighters risk their lives every day to protect our citizens and keep our communities safe,” said Senator McCain. “That’s why we must give these brave individuals the training, resources and equipment they need for dangerous missions around the country. I’m proud the President will soon sign our bill providing America’s 30,000 fire departments and emergency response services with the best possible preparation and resources.”
The primary goal of AFG is protect communities and firefighters from fire-related hazards by providing eligible fire departments the financial support to train, equip and properly resource America’s emergency personnel. The SAFER program provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help increase and maintain the number of trained firefighters in local communities. Language was added to the legislation in committee that will strengthen oversight and monitoring of the fire grants to minimize the risk of waste, fraud and abuse, and create training programs to assist fire departments in properly managing the grant awards.
The first FIRE Act was passed out of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in 2000 when Senator McCain served as Committee Chairman. He has continued to cosponsor legislation to reauthorize this vital fire grant program, including through legislation in 2013 that maintained the program through 2017.