Durbin Visits Hillside To Discuss The Importance Of Passing Fire Grants And Safety Act

HILLSIDE – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today visited Hillside to discuss the importance of passing the 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. These grant programs help with staffing and hiring as well as training and equipping personnel and are set to expire after September 30. In order to ensure there is no lapse in funding, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up this legislation when members return to Washington after the April state work period.

“Every day, firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our communities and help save lives,”said Durbin. “Congress has a responsibility to pass the Fire Grants and Safety Act to make sure fire departments have access to the funding they need for training, personnel, and equipment.”

The Fire Grants and Safety Act would reauthorize the AFG and SAFER grant programs through Fiscal Year 2030. It 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. As a Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Durbin annually supports strong funding for both of these grant programs. 

Hillside Fire Department has received more than $5 million from these grant programs since 2005. With this funding, they’ve hired five personnel in 2013; three personnel in 2019; and acquired radios, auto-CPR devices, cardiac monitors, a vehicle exhaust system, a ladder truck, self-contained breathing apparatuses, emergency air supply packs, and more.