YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown announced Senate passage of legislation to increase support for local fire departments. 

The Fire Grants and Safety Act reauthorizes several grant programs under FEMA. This includes the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program and the United States Fire Administration (USFA).

In 2021, Ohio Fire Departments received 411 AFG and 33 SAFER grants.

The programs provide hundreds of millions of dollars of assistance to fire companies across the country each year.

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 95-2.

“We owe it to them. I know local communities are supposed to fund police and fire. A lot of communities like Youngstown and Warren and Niles are hit harder by this because of lost tax revenue, so it’s up to the federal government to partner,” Brown said.

“The Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters appreciates the continued support of Senator Brown. He understands the importance of a well-staffed, well-equipped and well-trained fire service. Because of his support of The SAFER and AFG Grants, Ohio communities will be safer,” said Jon Harvey, president of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters.

Currently, funding for some of the grant programs expires in 2023 and 2024. The Fire Grants and Safety Act extends funding until 2032 and 2040.