Time to take action on AFG, SAFER

DEAR EDITOR:

In early August, the U.S. Senate passed S. 829 by unanimous consent, reauthorizing the Assistance to Firefighters Grant, or AFG; and the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response, or SAFER grant programs. These programs typically receive broad bipartisan support, but with few legislative days remaining before the winter holiday recess, House Republican leadership has failed to act. Without immediate action by the House, these lifesaving-programs will be eliminated effective Jan. 2. House Republican leadership should meet their promise to America’s firefighters and bring this issue to a simple vote.

AFG and SAFER are vital to local fire departments, providing direct funding to ensure they have the necessary training, equipment and personnel to safely and efficiently serve the public. AFG and SAFER are considered among the most efficient and effective grants administered by the Department of Homeland Security, and since their creation in 2001, they have distributed award money to nearly every congressional district. In the last six years alone, AFG has provided over $5.2 million to departments in Trumbull and Mahoning County, allowing communities like Girard, Howland and Austintown to purchase emergency vehicles, equipment, protective gear and receive training. During that same period, SAFER has distributed $5 million to Niles, Warren and Youngstown, keeping firefighters on the job and communities safe. Help your local firefighters; contact your local U.S. Representative and urge him or her to put pressure on Republican leadership.

BRIAN PEARSON

Secretary-Treasurer

Girard Firefighters Local 1220

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