House Passes Pascrell Amendment to Save Fire Service Training
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, announced unanimous passage of an appropriations amendment to restore $1 million to the United States Fire Administration (USFA) for State Fire Training Assistance grants. This amendment was necessary because the Republican House Appropriations Committee’s bill mirrored the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate this key public safety program for Fiscal Year 2018.
"The passage of my amendment to restore funding for State Fire Training Assistance grants ensures that fire service students across our nation will be able to receive the proper training to keep our communities safe. Many students cannot travel to Maryland for training, so these grants bring the training to them," said Rep. Pascrell. "The National Fire Academy does a phenomenal job training the brave men and women who seek to enter the fire services. They deserve our support to continue the good work they do."
This critical grant program provides $20,000 to each state to deliver National Fire Academy courses at the state and local level for students who are unable to travel to the United States Fire Administration facility in Emmitsburg, Maryland. With these funds, the North American Fire Training Directors conducted 2,293 course offerings of 136 different courses that trained a total of 33,197 fire service students who could not travel to the National Fire Academy for a class in Fiscal Year 2016.
The amendment has the support of the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the North American Fire Training Directors, and the International Association of Fire Fighters.
"The State Fire Training Assistance Grants are a critical program that help deliver essential training to firefighters at the state and local level," said Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Institute. "We thank Congressman Pascrell for his continued support of the program and we urge the House to pass this important amendment."
"The North American Fire Training Directors appreciate the actions of U.S. House of Representatives to restore firefighter training funds that help every state deliver National Fire Academy training programs at the state level," said Steve Edwards, director of the North American Fire Training Directors. "This action allows for this program to continue as in the past with this very efficient and cost effective delivery of management training for fire officers. This is especially important in light of the recent national disasters that firefighters respond to."
"It is absolutely critical that state fire training academies have the resources that they need to push out training to local fire departments," said National Volunteer Fire Council Chair Kevin Quinn. "Restoring this funding will allow states to continue delivering courses developed by the National Fire Academy directly to fire departments in a local setting. That is particularly important for the nation’s nearly 20,000 all-volunteer fire departments, which often struggle to access specialized training in or near their jurisdiction due to a lack of trainers and resources. I’d like to thank Representative Pascrell and all of the members of the House who voted for this important amendment."