The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grants are on the chopping block.

On Wednesday, Congress will consider legislation that will cut the programs by more than 50 percent, as well as eliminate the SAFER waivers that allow fire departments to prevent layoffs and bring back laid-off fire fighters.

The IAFF is encouraging its members to contact their U.S. representative to support the LaTourette amendment to restore funding for SAFER and FIRE Act grant programs and the Price amendment to restore the SAFER waivers.

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, and ask to be transferred to your Member of Congress.  Tell them how important FIRE and SAFER grants are to your fire department.

SAFER grant funds put 2,600 fire fighters and paramedics back to work in 2010 and another 3,000 to work this year.

IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger has described the federal grants as a lifeline that affiliates need to maintain staffing levels.

In addition, the cuts made to SAFER and the FIRE Act, Congress is considering slashing funding for nearly every first responder grant program including the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and Sate Homeland Security (SHSGP) grants.