WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today applauded Senate passage of legislation that would reauthorize and increase funding for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). The measure, authored by Dodd and Collins and cosponsored by Lieberman, would also expand the range of training programs offered at the National Fire Academy to ensure that America’s fire fighters are prepared to meet the growing demands on the fire service in the new century.

“Each and every day, our nation’s first responders risk their lives for the safety and protection of our communities. The reauthorization of the U.S. Fire Administration continues the federal government’s support for our local fire and emergency services,” said Senator Dodd. “The reauthorization of the USFA strengthens our commitment to provide first responders in Connecticut and across the country with the best training, tools and access to technology they need to meet the challenges of their jobs. These brave men and women deserve no less.”

“Since its creation in 1974, the U.S. Fire Administration and its Academy have helped prevent fires, protect property, and save lives among firefighters and the public,” said Senator Collins. “The U.S. Fire Administration also performs critical work to prepare our nation against disasters, whether natural or man-made. As the principle federal agency for America’s fire service, it is simply invaluable to our nation and its firefighters. Many local fire departments in Maine and the rest of the country benefit from the FIRE Act and SAFER Act grants administered by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with USFA. These grant programs provide firefighters, including many volunteers, with state-of-the-art protective gear and other life-saving equipment and resources needed to support their work.”

“Reauthorization of the U.S. Fire Administration means that first responders around the country will get the essential training, education, and research they need to help prevent fire-related deaths and protect their communities from disasters of all kinds – man-made and natural,” said Lieberman. “The recent hurricanes that have struck the Gulf Coast remind us of the central role first responders play in our daily lives and the critical need to keep them well trained so that they can do their jobs as well as we need them to.”

The USFA provides crucial support to more than 30,000 fire departments across the country through training, emergency incident data collection, fire awareness and education, and research and development activities. Each year, the USFA trains approximately one million fire and emergency medical personnel both at the USFA campus in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and through distance learning programs. The USFA also offers vital assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security in the development of federal preparedness and response policies.

The measure is supported by the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the National Volunteer Fire Council.