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Fire service leaders call on Congress to reauthorize fire, EMS grant programs

AFG and SAFER programs are scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2024



By Bill Carey

WASHINGTON — Representatives from several major fire service organizations gathered in Washington, D.C., Thursday to urge Congress to reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) programs.

These programs, which serve as the primary federal mechanisms for aiding local fire departments, are scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2024.

Standing in front of D.C. Fire & EMS Engine 3, representatives from the Congressional Fire Services Institute, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Fire Protection Association and National Volunteer Fire Council argued that failure to reauthorize these programs would severely hinder the first responders’ ability to safeguard their communities.

A joint statement from the organizations underscored the value of these programs: “Fire departments across the country respond to more than 36 million calls for service each year: structural fire and wildfire, lithium-ion battery and hazardous materials response, opioid overdose and other medical emergencies, natural disasters, and much more. Even while they protect their communities from an ever-increasing range of hazards, firefighters face physical and mental health challenges due to their service. Departments are struggling to train and equip fire and EMS personnel and ensure that they have proper staffing to meet minimum requirements for response.”

Learn more at the CFSI resource page dedicated to securing program funding.