Pascrell, Fitzpatrick, Bost Introduce Fire Station Construction Grants Act
Bipartisan legislation would invest $1 billion in construction, restoration grants for America’s fire departments
Washington, DC, June 4, 2021
Tags: Public Safety
U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), and Michael Bost (R-IL-12), co-chairs of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, today introduced bipartisan legislation that would help construct new fire stations for America’s firefighters. The Fire Station Construction Grants Act would authorize $1 billion in fire station construction grants administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for modifying, upgrading, and building fire and EMS department facilities, including local fire and EMS stations and fire training facilities. The legislation is additionally cosponsored by U.S. Reps. John Garamendi (D-CA-03), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Jared Huffman (D-CA-02), Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11).
“America’s firefighters are putting their lives on the line like never before and it is imperative that the federal government invest in their long-term success. I am extremely proud to introduce this bill today to support fire departments nationwide,” said Rep. Pascrell, a longtime champion of robust federal support for America’s fire services. “Our first responders must have modern, up-to-date infrastructure in order to continue their lifesaving work. Our legislation would help build and upgrade America’s fire stations to meet 21st century demands. I thank my co-sponsors for their early support, and I look forward to seeing President Biden sign our bill into law.”
“As a Co-Chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I am committed to supporting legislation that addresses the needs of our nation’s brave and selfless firefighters and those in emergency services,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “I have always been and will continue to be a fervent supporter of our hero men and women who risk their lives each day for our communities across the country. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Fire Station Construction Grants Act, which would make our communities safer by directing more resources for fire stations, training facilities, and EMS departments.”
“Our first responders run selflessly toward danger every day to protect their neighbors. As a former firefighter and co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I’m proud to support the Fire Station Construction Grants Act to help ensure that our firefighters have the facilities they need to do their job and keep their communities safe,” said Rep. Bost.
“Far too many firefighters and paramedics work in fire stations that are not only outdated, but threaten their health and safety. Plagued with mold, old ventilation systems and other environmental problems, and lacking cancer-preventing exhaust systems, these stations are past overdue for an upgrade. I applaud Representatives Pascrell, Fitzpatrick, and Bost for recognizing this critical problem and thank them for their leadership on this important legislation,” said Edward A. Kelly, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
“I thank Representatives Pascrell, Bost, Fitzpatrick for sponsoring this important legislation. Fire departments need funding to upgrade their facilities to better serve a diverse workforce and – in some cases – build new ones to adequately protect their communities. This legislation will also protect firefighters by providing them safe working environments for training and staffing our stations 24 hours a day,” said Chief Ken Stuebing, BHSc, CCP(f), Acting President and Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
“I’d like to thank Representatives Pascrell, Bost, and Fitzpatrick for introducing this important legislation. Thousands of fire stations across the country are outdated and don’t meet current voluntary consensus standards for health and safety. This problem is particularly acute in smaller, rural communities, which often lack the tax base to properly invest in modern facilities for fire and EMS. The Fire Station Construction Grants Act will provide a much-needed one-time financial boost to help fire and EMS departments across the country invest in necessary facilities upgrades,” said Steve Hirsch, Chair of the National Volunteer Fire Council.
“NFPA’s 2019 research report identified significant issues such as mold and other firefighter health issues at fire stations across the United States. Too many stations lack proper ventilation, backup power and facilities for the growing number of female firefighters. We are pleased to support this important effort by Congressman Pascrell and other leaders of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus to invest in improvements to our nation’s fire stations,” said Jim Pauley, President and CEO of the National Fire Protection Association.
"Our nation's fire and emergency services work tirelessly to protect their communities. We must ensure that the facilities where our fire and EMS personnel sleep, eat, and work are safe and code-compliant," said Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Institute. "CFSI is pleased that Congressman Pascrell and fellow Congressional Fire Services Caucus co-chairs are working to invest in fire and emergency services infrastructure across the country."
Rep. Pascrell is a lifelong supporter of America’s fire services. His Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act provides hundreds of thousands in federal support for New Jersey firefighters each year. Rep. Pascrell helped pass the CARES Act in March 2020, which provided $100 million in funding for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program to help fire departments purchase personal protective equipment and supplies. In 2010, Rep. Pascrell helped secure a $4.5 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Fire Station Construction grant, which funded a brand new fire headquarters for the city.