WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today voted to pass the Fire Grants and Safety Act, legislation to ensure years of continued funding for grant programs that support fire departments and firefighters all across the Commonwealth. Today’s vote in the Senate comes as two critical funding programs near their 2024 expiration deadline.
“Virginia firefighters routinely put themselves at risk to save lives and stop catastrophe in its tracks. We are proud to have voted to continue delivering the federal dollars fire departments need to keep serving their communities. We urge our colleagues in the House to pass this bill expeditiously and send it to the President’s desk so that firefighters can count on the resources they need to stay safe and retain a solid frontline workforce,” said the Senators.
Specifically, this legislation would reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, which provides funding to help firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. It would also reauthorize the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, which provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities.
Since 2015, more than 253 AFG grants and 72 SAFER grants have been awarded to communities throughout the Commonwealth, with Virginia fire departments receiving more than 8 million dollars from these programs in this year alone.
So far, in 2023, the following localities have received funding through the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) grant program:
- Isle of Wight County received $959,020
- The City of Alexandria received $600,000
- The City of Lynchburg received $830,636
- Franklin County received $438,238
- The Bland County Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. received $163,476
- The Scruggs Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc. in Franklin County received $66,666
So far, in 2023, the following localities have received funding through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program:
- The City of Manassas Park received $3,582,866
- Rappahannock County received $561,617
- Goochland County received $556,972
- The Town of Chatham received $204,804
- Hanover County received $41,800
- Stephens City Fire And Rescue Company, Inc. in Frederick County received $21,068
This legislation, passed by the Senate, will now head to the House of Representatives.