Senate Committee Passes Legislation to Reauthorize Fire & Emergency Response Grant Programs

Washington, D.C. - The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) passed legislation yesterday cosponsored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), John McCain (R-AZ), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Tom Carper (D-DE) that would reauthorize the highly successful Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs though Fiscal Year 2023. The Fire Grants Reauthorization Act would ensure that our nation’s more than one million fire and emergency services personnel continue to have access to the necessary training, equipment and staffing as first responder missions increase.

“The FIRE and SAFER grant programs provide vital resources to fire departments, helping them to purchase lifesaving equipment and recruit new personnel to fight fires effectively and safely in their communities,” said Senator Collins the Chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “I am pleased that the committee advanced our legislation, which will ensure these brave men and women continue to receive the support that they need.”

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.

Senators Collins, McCain, Tester, and Carper reintroduced this legislation on April 6, 2017.