On Monday, U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Michael Bost (R-IL), co-chairs of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, introduced legislation that would help fire departments build and upgrade their facilities.
The Fire Station Construction Grants Act would authorize $1 billion in grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to modify, upgrade or build fire and EMS department facilities, including local fire and EMS stations and fire training facilities.
“America’s firefighters are putting their lives on the line like never before, and it is imperative that the federal government invest in their long-term success. I am extremely proud to introduce this bill today to support fire departments nationwide,” Pascrell said. “Our first responders must have modern, up-to-date infrastructure in order to continue their lifesaving work. Our legislation would help build and upgrade America’s fire stations to meet 21st-century demands.”
The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. John Garamendi (D-CA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ).
“As a Co-Chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I am committed to supporting legislation that addresses the needs of our nation’s brave and selfless firefighters and those in emergency services,” Fitzpatrick said. “I have always been and will continue to be a fervent supporter of our hero men and women who risk their lives each day for our communities across the country. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Fire Station Construction Grants Act, which would make our communities safer by directing more resources for fire stations, training facilities, and EMS departments.”
The legislation is supported by firefighting and EMS organizations, including the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the National Fire Protection Association, and the Congressional Fire Services Institute.
“Far too many firefighters and paramedics work in fire stations that are not only outdated but threaten their health and safety,” Edward A. Kelly, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said. “Plagued with mold, old ventilation systems and other environmental problems, and lacking cancer-preventing exhaust systems, these stations are past overdue for an upgrade.”