Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding [June 18, 2009]   [open pdf - 191KB]

This is an updated report from the Congressional Research Service on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. "The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants or the FIRE Act grant program, was established by Title XVII of the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 106-398). Currently administered by the Grant Programs Directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the program provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. A related program is the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Firefighters (SAFER) program, which provides grants for hiring, recruiting, and retaining firefighters. […]. For FY2010, the Obama Administration is proposing $170 million for fire grants, a 70% decrease from the FY2009 level, and $420 million for SAFER, double the amount appropriated in FY2009. The total amount requested for firefighter assistance (AFG and SAFER) is $590 million, a 24% decrease from FY2009. The Obama Administration's FY2010 budget proposal for firefighter assistance is likely to receive heightened scrutiny from the fire community, given what was viewed as inadequate past budget proposals by the Bush Administration, and given the national economic downturn and local budgetary cutbacks that many fire departments are now facing. Concerns over local fire departments' budgetary problems may also frame debate of the assistance to firefighters grant program reauthorization bill, which is expected to be considered during the first session of the 111th Congress."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32341
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