NVFC Asks Congress to Pass Rural EMS Grant Bill

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has asked conferees to H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (commonly referred to as the “Farm Bill”), to retain the Supporting and Improving Rural EMS Needs (SIREN) Act in the final conference report (read the letters to House and Senate conferees). The SIREN Act, which establishes a grant program for rural EMS in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was included in the Senate-passed version of H.R. 2.

“Rural EMS providers face significant resource challenges, which the SIREN grant program would help to address,” said NVFC Chair Kevin D. Quinn. “The cost of EMS readiness in a community with a small tax base and limited or no patient transport reimbursement payments can be staggering. On behalf of the NVFC, I urge Congress to pass the SIREN Act as part of the Farm Bill.”

The SIREN grant program would provide funding to rural governmental and nonprofit EMS agencies, including fire departments, to purchase equipment, medications, and training. Individual awards would be capped at $200,000 and the program would be authorized at $20 million per year through FY 2023. The SIREN Act (H.R. 5429/S. 2830) was introduced in the House by Representatives Gianforte (R-MT), Loebsack (D-IA), and Duffy (R-WI) on April 5, 2018, and in the Senate by Senators Durbin (D-IL), Roberts (R-KS), Baldwin (D-WI), and Stabenow (D-MI) on May 10, 2018.