Since 2015, Programs sent $95 million to Oregon

Thursday, April 20, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley shared the following statement after the United States Senate passed The Fire Grants and Safety Act. This bipartisan legislation will reauthorize FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, and the U.S. Fire Administration:

“Oregon’s firefighters work tirelessly, risking their lives to keep our homes, businesses, and communities safe. These everyday heroes are on the front lines when fires and emergencies happen, and it is crucial that local fire districts have enough staff and the right equipment to safely and effectively do their work,” said Merkley. “The passage of this critical legislation will help ensure the brave men and women responding to emergencies continue to receive the training, resources, and support they need. I am grateful the Senate came together to invest in these programs, and I will continue to support and advocate for our firefighters in every corner of the state.”

Since 2015, Oregon fire and emergency response entities have received more than $95 million from FEMA’s AFG and SAFER grant programs. Examples of grants from the past year include:

  • City of Albany: $1,332,378 for hiring firefighters;
  • La Pine Rural Fire Protection District: $300,000 for recruitment and retention, $45,134 for operations and safety;
  • City of Seaside: $504,00 for recruitment and retention;
  • Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community: $300,000 for recruitment and retention;
  • Camas Valley Rural Fire Department: $472,078 for vehicle acquisition;
  • Pilot Rock Rural Fire District: $370,952 for vehicle acquisition; and
  • City of Ashland: $365,181 for operations and safety.

More information on specific grants can be found here: Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants and Assistance to Firefighters grants (AFG).

Merkley has been a leader and longtime advocate working at the federal level to secure resources for Oregon’s firefighters, and urging other federal agencies to also invest their resources into critical firefighting and disaster response programs like the Jobs Corps Civilian Conservation Centers (CCCs).

The Fire Grants and Safety Act reauthorizes FEMA’s AFG and SAFER programs, as well as the U.S. Fire Administration, until 2030. The AFG program provides grants to fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to equip and train emergency personnel. The SAFER program provides funding directly to fire departments to increase or maintain staffing levels of frontline firefighters. The U.S. Fire Administration uses data collection, research, training and public education to support and strengthen fire and emergency medical services to prepare for, prevent, mitigate, and respond to hazards.

This bill has been endorsed by the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Volunteer Fire Council, Congressional Fire Service Institute, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Association of State Fire Marshals, and the International Society of Fire Service Instructors.