Durbin Applauds Senate Passage Of Fire Grants And Safety Act

WASHINGTON  Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, applauded the Senate passage of the bipartisan Fire Grants and Safety Act,which would reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program through Fiscal Year 2030.  These programs help with the staffing, hiring, training, and equipping of emergency personnel, but without House passage of this legislation, these grant programs are set to expire on September 30. 

“Every day, our nation’s bravest run headfirst toward danger to extinguish fires and protect their neighbors without a moment’s hesitation, no matter the risks they face.  Congress has a responsibility to ensure that these firefighters and emergency responders have the necessary equipment, training, and numbers to perform their jobs,” said Durbin.  “I voted to pass the Fire Grants and Safety Act today to put funding behind the programs that have already made a positive impact on Illinois’ fire departments by providing the federal support they need to properly, and safely, serve their community.”

The Fire Grants and Safety Act, which passed the Senate with a 95-2 vote, would also reauthorize the U.S. Fire Administration, the lead federal agency for fire data collection, public fire education, fire research, and fire service training.

Since 2001, AFG has helped fire stations ensure they have the necessary resources to train and equip personnel including personal protective equipment that firefighters and EMS personnel need to do their jobs safely. SAFER provides grants to career, volunteer, and combination local fire departments to increase the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry-minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.  Durbin annually supports strong funding for both of these grant programs. 

Last month, Durbin visited Hillside Fire Department to discuss the importance of the legislation.  Having received more than $5 million from these grant programs since 2005, Hillside Fire Department has been able to hire eight personnel as well as purchase radios, auto-CPR devices, cardiac monitors, a ladder truck, self-containing breathing apparatuses, emergency air supply packs, and more.