Reed: Public Safety Strengthened in Boost for Firefighters and Ems
Rep. Tom Reed lauded the increased support for public safety programs in the consolidated appropriations bill, saying the better emergency responders are equipped, the better able they are to protect communities. The Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs each saw a boost from last year’s funding level with an increase of $2.5 million for each program.
“These life-saving programs are a priority for us and something we advocated for during the appropriations process,” Reed said. “The appropriations bill isn’t perfect but achieves two foundational goals of strengthening effective programs and saving taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. We are committed to providing firefighters and emergency responders with the resources they need to respond to and prevent emergencies. Many of us do not realize it but we rely on these individuals every day to be there for us should we need them. Now we have an opportunity to care for them and strengthen public safety.”
Reed said grant opportunities were a main topic of discussion at his Emergency Responders Advisory Board meeting at Cornell University in Ithaca. Reed, county police, sheriff, fire and emergency services departments gathered to talk about what grants are available to support first responders. “We know first responders and fire departments are under tight budget constraints and I am pleased this bill prioritizes public safety in a way that better cares for those in our community in their time of need,” Reed continued.
In July, Reed’s office hosted a workshop in the district to help local fire departments and EMS organizations better care for and meet their firefighting and emergency response needs and enhance their capabilities. Reed welcomed regional specialists to the workshop to offer information on how to navigate the grant application process and identify the resources available to them.
The House-passed consolidated appropriations bill saves taxpayers $21 billion compared to last year’s spending level, contributing to the $165 billion in savings in discretionary spending since fiscal year 2010.