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IAFF LEGISLATIVE FACT SHEET                                   Click Here for Key Points

SAFER AND FIRE GRANTS

The IAFF supports robust funding for the SAFER and FIRE grant programs and providing $680 million, evenly divided, for the two programs in Fiscal Year 2015.

BACKGROUND

The SAFER and FIRE grant programs were created by Congress to help address the significant staffing, equipment, training and health and safety needs of fire departments. SAFER provides funding to help pay the costs associated with hiring personnel to maintain safe staffing levels, while FIRE grants fund equipment, training and other fire department needs.

The importance of adequate fire department staffing has been well-documented by independent studies. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the consensus standards-making body of the fire service, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), have both promulgated standards for the minimum number of fire fighters needed to respond safely and effectively to emergencies. Far too few jurisdictions meet these minimum safe staffing levels, a problem made even more acute by the Great Recession.

Similarly, the FIRE grant program allows fire departments to purchase equipment and receive training that such departments could not otherwise afford. Equipment and training funded by the FIRE grant program help fire fighters do their jobs safely and effectively by improving the effectiveness of fire department operations and protecting the health and safety of local fire fighters.

For Fiscal Year 2014, SAFER and FIRE were funded at $680 million - $340 million each. Although the programs received a slight increase over funding levels for the previous two fiscal years, funding remains down from a historical high of $810 million, a reduction caused by congressional efforts to reduce the deficit. Unfortunately, the recent recession has also led communities nationwide to reduce fire department staffing and cut back on training and equipment purchases. Combined, such cuts at both the national and local level undermine emergency response and pose significant threats to public safety and local preparedness.

CURRENT LEGISLATION

U.S. House:          H.R. 4903, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015
                            Sponsor:     Representative John Carter (R-TX)

U.S. Senate:         S. 2534, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015
                            Sponsor:      Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Summary:            H.R. 4903 and S. 2534 provide funding for the Department of Homeland Security and its
                           programs in Fiscal Year 2015.  As approved, each bill provides $680 million, evenly divided,
                           for the SAFER and FIRE grant programs. 

CONGRESSIONAL ACTION

On March 4, 2014, the Administration released its budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015.  The proposal includes $670 million, evenly divided, for SAFER and FIRE.

On June 19, 2014, the House Committee on Appropriations approved H.R. 4903, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015.  As approved, the Act includes $680 million, evenly divided, for SAFER and FIRE.

On June 26, 2014, the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved S. 2534, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015.  As approved, the Act includes $680 million, evenly divided, for SAFER and FIRE.


 


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