WASHINGTON, D.C. — Legislation supported by U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) to reauthorize funding for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Program, and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant program through fiscal year 2030 passed the Senate today by a vote of 95-2.
Last year, Padilla spoke before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in support reauthorizing these programs, culminating in the passage of today’s Fire Grants and Safety Act. During his remarks, Padilla noted the importance of this funding to saving lives in California and the West as the region experiences a sharp increase in the number and scale of wildfires. He highlighted the role of AFG and SAFER grant programs in improving response capabilities and providing vital support to fire and emergency services.
“These critical federal resources are essential to California’s wildfire response efforts and to ensuring our firefighters have the support that they need to heroically save lives and protect property during times of catastrophe,” said Senator Padilla. “Today’s vote to reauthorize funding for these grant programs will support and expand our firefighting capabilities and will help us better prepare for future wildfire disasters.”
“SAFER and AFG have helped hundreds of communities keep and add fire fighters on the job and ready to respond when their neighbors need them most,” said International Association of Fire Fighters General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Lima. “Fire fighters and our supporters applaud the Senate and our friends like Senator Padilla for once again reauthorizing this crucial program.”
“We are thrilled to see the reauthorization of SAFER and AFG,” said Brian K. Rice, President of California Professional Firefighters. “These grants are crucial to our members, our families, and our communities. We appreciate the work of the Senate and of Senator Padilla in ensuring the continuation of these programs.”
United States Fire Administration
The USFA—which includes the National Fire Academy—is currently housed within FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation’s loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and nonfatal injury due to fire.
Assistance to Firefighters Grant
The primary goal of the AFG is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations. Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants
SAFER Grants were created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the NFPA (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720). For details, review the National Fire Protection Association’s codes and standards.
Full text of the bill is available here.