April 7, 2022 | Cole Karr
The National Special Districts Coalition supports bipartisan legislation that would authorize $1 billion for fire and EMS station construction and enhancement.
Congressman Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., sponsors H.R. 3728, the Fire Station Construction Grants Act, which would establish the “Assistance to Firefighters Fire Station Construction Grant” under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Grant funding would cover the building, rebuilding, or renovation of fire and emergency medical services (EMS) facilities and stations. The program would also cover installation of backup power systems, HVAC system upgrades, exhaust emission controls, development of personnel living quarters, and mold remediation projects.
Career, volunteer, and combination fire departments would be eligible as well as non-affiliated EMS, combination, and volunteer emergency agencies. Funding would be divided equally four ways among fire, fire training, and EMS services with completive grants among all service types comprising the remaining 25 percent.
In a letter sent Thursday, NSDC highlighted the significance of the legislation for fire protection, ambulance, and emergency services districts.
More than 6,000 of the nation’s emergency response agencies are special districts providing fire and emergency medical services that other units of government do not provide in their communities. Many fire protection districts – especially in rural areas – depend on limited revenue sources, operate on small budgets, and retain either a combination or all-volunteer force. Many of these districts are unable to fund major capital upgrades to facilities without long delays or offsets to other critical services to their community.
The Fire Station Construction Grants Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 4, 2021, and was referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The legislation has not been heard in either committee.
Contact Cole Karr, NSDC Federal Advocacy Coordinator, for more information.