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House Passes Pascrell First Responders Bill

Renews Successful Programs Created by Pascrell and First Enacted in 2000 and 2003

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) has successfully passed the bipartisan Fire Grants and Safety Act through the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 393-to-13. As the longtime co-chairman of the House Fire Services Caucus, Congressman Pascrell spearheaded efforts to pass this bill which will provide a five-year reauthorization for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG) Program, and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER) Program. Congressman Pascrell wrote the original landmark FIRE Act that first established the AFG program for equipment and training, and also led to creation of SAFER a few years later to help departments meet staffing needs.

“When I came to Congress, fire departments across America were literally holding bake sales to pay for their gear,” said Congressman Pascrell, whose FIRE Act established the lifesaving AFG program supported by this bill. “The Assistance to Firefighter Grants were the first program to send federal dollars directly to fire departments. Since their creation, the AFG and SAFER programs have provided over $14 billion to fire departments and first responders from coast-to-coast. They have saved countless lives. This critical legislation will ensure our government continues to give firefighters the help they need to protect us. God bless them.” 

Earlier this week, Congressman Pascrell rallied support for this bill on the House floor, which can be viewed here.

Organizations that endorsed this bill include: the American Fire Sprinkler Association, Center for Campus Fire Safety, Center for Public Safety Excellence, Common Voices, Congressional Fire Services Institute, Fire Apparatus and Emergency Equipment, Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association, Fire and Emergency Manufacturers & Services Association, Fire Department Safety Officers Association, Fire Engineering, Firefighter Nation, Firehouse, IMSA Educational Foundation, Institution of Fire Engineers – United States of America Branch, International Association of Arson Investigators, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Association of Wildland Fire, International Code Council, International Fire Buff Associates, International Fire Marshals Association, International Fire Service Training Association, International Society of Fire Service Instructors, Johnson Controls, Journal of Emergency Medical Services, Lexipol, National Association of State Fire Marshals, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Fire Protection Association, National Fire Service Professional Qualifications Board, National Fire Sprinkler Association, National Volunteer Fire Council, North American Fire Training Directors, USA Sprinkler Fitters, and Women in Fire.

Introduced by Rep. Thomas H. Kean, Jr. (R-NJ-7), he and Congressman Pascrell were also joined on this legislation by Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD-05), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19), Haley Stevens (D-MI-11), Jared Golden (D-ME-02), Frank Lucas (R-OK-03), Mike Collins (R-GA-10), Michael Bost (R-IL-12), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01). 

“All across the country, firefighters and EMS personnel work through danger and uncertainty every day to protect their neighbors. As a former volunteer firefighter, I know the hardships and sacrifices firefighters and EMTs make daily to quickly respond to emergencies,” said Rep. Kean. “I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for the overwhelming bipartisan support. We are one step closer to ensuring that our firefighters have the proper training and equipment to continue protecting our communities. This bill will reauthorize federal grants and programs for local fire departments which will help protect families in New Jersey and nationwide.” 

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