Bill would create $750M federal grant program to upgrade fire, EMS facilities
The funds could go toward building or renovating stations, adding emission control systems, installing backup power systems and building personnel quarters
By Leila Merrill
WASHINGTON — Three lawmakers introduced a bill Monday in both houses of Congress that would create a $750 million grant program within FEMA to modify, upgrade and construct fire and EMS department facilities.
The sponsoring lawmakers include Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).
In a news release, Van Hollen’s office cited a 2021 National Fire Protection Association needs assessment, which found:
- 44% of fire stations are over 40 years old and in need of significant repairs.
- 56% of stations lack exhaust emission control and are not properly equipped with cancer-preventing systems.
- Many fire and EMS stations in the U.S. do not have backup power sources.
- Some stations have outdated ventilation systems and mold.
- And some stations lack crew quarters for female personnel.
“Our fire fighters deserve the best possible facilities so they can be ready with everything they need to spring into action when duty calls. Yet nearly half of the fire stations across America require major repairs – with some even posing serious health hazards to the men and women who protect our communities. This bipartisan bill will unlock more funding to ensure our fire and EMS heroes have modern, safe, and mission-ready facilities,” said Van Hollen.
Grant funds would be available for use on:
- Building, rebuilding, or renovating fire and EMS department facilities
- Upgrading existing facilities to install exhaust emission control systems
- Installing backup power systems
- Upgrading or replacing environmental control systems, such as HVAC systems
- Removing or remediating mold
- Constructing or modifying living quarters for use by personnel
Upgrading fire and EMS stations or building new stations to meet modern building codes and standards as set by the National Fire Protection Association and International Code Council.
This legislation is endorsed by the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the Congressional Fire Services Institute, and the NFPA.
Pascrell and Van Hollen introduced a version of this bill in 2022.