Program Benefits Dozens of West Virginia Fire Departments Each Year
WASHINGTON – A federal program designed to provide support for community fire departments got a lift today with passage of the HR 3791, the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act of 2009. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., praised House passage of the measure, calling it a much-needed resource for fire departments across West Virginia.
“Fire departments across our state do exceptional work in their local communities,” said the congresswoman, who joined the bipartisan majority in supporting today’s legislation.
“But there is also a critical role for federal funds to play in supporting their efforts. From equipment upgrades to vehicle acquisition or safety programs, fire grants are a vital source of funding that helps provide the tools and resources that help our firefighters do their jobs.”
The Fire Grant Reauthorization officially authorizes $1 billion annually for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, and $1.3 billion annually for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program.
AFG and SAFER provide funds to enhance the preparedness capabilities of local fire departments and emergency medical service (EMS) organizations. Officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, coordinate both programs.
“These programs have long-garnered broad bipartisan support and I applaud the passage of today’s legislation,” added Capito. “I look forward to seeing our colleagues in the Senate follow suit.”
Capito has been a long-time supporter of the program, with nearly $20 million in aid coming to 2nd District fire departments since the congresswoman took office.
The legislation approved today is backed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters and the National Volunteer Fire Council.