Presque Isle, ME — On September 8, U.S. Senator Susan Collins delivered remarks at the 59th Annual Maine State Federation of Firefighters Convention. The Maine State Federation of Firefighters (MSFFF) is the state policymaking group for Maine firefighters. MSFFF representatives from fire departments across the State of Maine were in attendance for the annual meeting. Senator Collins serves as co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.
“Most of us you protect cannot begin to imagine the courage and dedication it takes to enter a burning building or approach a blazing truck or railroad car that may be about to explode – especially when others are running in the opposite direction. We are deeply grateful to you who take this courage and dedication, this skill and discipline, with you to work every day,” Senator Collins said. “I am honored to work to help provide our firefighters with the resources and support your essential duties require and deserve.”
“We were honored to have Senator Collins address the MSFFF board of directors and several other Maine Firefighters at our annual meeting,” said Aaron Buzza, MSFFF Convention Chair. “We thank Senator Collins for her steadfast commitment and support of firefighters across the U.S.”
Following the attacks of 9/11, as Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Collins helped create the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program and the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2000 and 2003, respectively. These programs are used by local fire departments to address staffing needs, purchase equipment, develop fire training and education programs, and improve emergency medical services.
In April, the Senate passed the Fire Grants and Safety Act, led by Senators Collins and Gary Peters (D-MI), to reauthorize the SAFER and AFG grant programs, as well as the United States Fire Administration (USFA). Fire departments in Maine have received $26.3 million in AFG grants since Fiscal Year 2015 and $9.9 million in SAFER grants since Fiscal Year 2017.
At Senator Collins’ request, the 2022 and 2023 government funding bills included more than $32 million in Congressionally Directed Spending for improvements to 21 Maine fire stations and facilities. Now, as Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins is working to advance an additional $18.4 million for 12 fire stations and facilities throughout Maine in the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bills.