Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding [February 22, 2011] [open pdf - 246KB]
"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 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. [...] In the 111th Congress, reauthorization legislation for AFG and SAFER was passed by the House, but was not passed by the Senate. Debate over the reauthorization reflected a competition for funding between career/urban/suburban departments and volunteer/rural departments. The urgency of this debate was heightened by the proposed reduction of overall AFG funding in FY2011, and the economic downturn in many local communities increasingly hard pressed to allocate funding for their local fire departments. Because the 111th Congress did not enact the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act, it is possible that the 112th Congress may reconsider the reauthorization bill. The 112th Congress is also likely to consider appropriate funding levels for firefighter assistance in FY2011 and FY2012."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32341