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Sunday, July 14th, 2024

Fire Grants and Safety Act heads to president’s desk

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After advancement out of the Senate, the Fire Grants and Safety Act of 2023 (S.870) is headed to President Joe Biden for signature, with the promise of a five-year reauthorization for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and grant assistance.

Drawing from the Fire Grants and Safety Act of 2023 (H.R. 4090), the bill sought to aid firefighters nationwide through reauthorization of the USFA, as well as federal grants and programs for local fire departments provided by the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER) program through 2030.

“I look forward to President Biden swiftly signing this bill into law to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities nationwide,” Frank Lucas, chair of the House Science Committee, said. “Every day, courageous firefighters and first responders selflessly risk their lives to guarantee our safety in emergency situations. This bill will ensure they receive the necessary training and equipment to confidently perform their duties when called into action. Many thanks to Rep. Kean for his tireless work in getting this bill across the finish line and to our Senate counterparts for devoting floor time and support to this critical piece of legislation.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Kean (R-NJ), a fellow member of the Science Committee, introduced the 2023 legislation. Kean is a former volunteer firefighter.

On top of the aforementioned priorities, the bill also would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit and report on any barriers that keep fire departments from accessing federal funds and the USFA in general. Further, it specifically makes any organization or entity operating or incorporated in China ineligible for any federal assistance from these programs.
It was backed by 14 cosponsors.