NVFC asks Congress to Provide Sustained Funding for Fire and Emergency Services Programs

During the week of March 24-28, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) submitted a series of requests to the House and Senate committees on appropriations asking them to provide sustained funding for important fire and emergency services programs in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015.

On March 28, the NVFC, along with a number of other national fire service organizations, sent outside witness testimony to the House and Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittees requesting $340 million each for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs. The testimony also asked the subcommittees to provide $44 million for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). The funding request for AFG/SAFER and USFA represent flat funding from FY 2014 but are slightly higher than the amount requested by President Obama for FY 2015.

On March 26, the NVFC submitted testimony, along with the Congressional Fire Services Institute and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, to the House and Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittees asking that they provide at least $16 million for the Volunteer Fire Assistance program, which helps small volunteer fire departments purchase equipment and training to prepare them to respond to wildland fires. VFA was funded at $16 million in FY 2010 but has been cut in recent years. Last year VFA was funded at $13.025 million and the President has requested $13 million for the program in FY 2015.

Finally, on March 24, the NVFC signed onto testimony submitted to the House and Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittees asking them not to include language in appropriations legislation implementing a proposal in the President’s budget request to consolidate 16 separate grant programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency into a single grant program that would be administered primarily by the various states. AFG/SAFER and the Emergency Management Preparedness Grants are not among the 16 grant programs that would be consolidated under the President’s proposal.