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Trouble after '05?

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  • Trouble after '05?

    Just wandered what everyone thought about the FIRE Act program being placed under the Office of Domestic Preparedness. As it stands now maybe there won't be any problems, but will ODP be able to suck up those funds for its activities later? I would be more comfortable if the program would have been left under USFA's administration. $750 million is a lot of money and I can see the Fire Service getting cheated out of it if we aren't careful. What are your thoughts on this?

  • #2
    Yea, I am a bit worried. But, at least the USFA will still be involved from what it says. I'm hoping they won't change the focus but you just never know with the feds. Thankfully the IAFC is keeping a close watch on the change.

    Dropping a note to your elected officials thanking them for the opportunity (whether you got it or not) and encouraging future funding won't hurt a bit...

    Comment


    • #3
      FIRE Grants At $750M, Moved to ODP


      International Association of Fire Chiefs News Release

      Fairfax, Va., Thursday, September 18, 2003…House and Senate conferees of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have voted to fund the Assistance to Firefighters grant program (FIRE Act) at $750 million and to move it from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP).

      “The most important goal of the IAFC was to maintain a separate and distinct program and funding for the FIRE grants. We want to ensure that vital federal assistance expeditiously reaches fire departments for the purposes intended,” stated Chief Ernest Mitchell, president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. “This key goal has been met and the FIRE Grant program will continue to provide vital assistance to the nation’s fire departments as we prepare for terrorism, weapons of mass destruction emergencies, fires and disasters.”

      The conference report accompanying the bill contains several provisions of interest to the leadership of the fire service:


      The FIRE grants are to remain a separate appropriation within ODP
      USFA must remain involved during grant administration
      DHS was instructed that it must continue current administrative practices for the grant program
      The peer review process of applications remains
      Overall administrative expenses for the grant program at DHS shall not exceed 5 percent, as is current practice
      The funds will be available until September 30, 2005.
      The subcommittee must complete its conference and the full committee must approve. The bill then goes to both houses of Congress for concurrence and then to the president for signature into law. We do not foresee any changes in the provision regarding the FIRE Act.

      “The members of the IAFC and many others in the fire service responded to our action call with thousands of letters to the President and members of Congress and the effort was successful,” noted Chief Mitchell.

      Garry Briese, executive director of the IAFC, said, “We have made our concerns known and fought to keep it in the USFA. Now that a decision has been made to move the grant program to ODP, we will support ODP at the same level as we have the USFA with this program. We are very pleased that Congress has determined to keep the USFA involved in the fire grant process. We have completed several significant terrorism initiatives with ODP in the past, have worked closely with USFA and look forward to continuing and building our relationship with both of them. The fact that the program is managed by a different agency at DHS should not detract from the efficiency of the program.”

      Ms. Suzanne Mencer is the president’s nominee to become director of the Office for Domestic Preparedness. During this week’s Senate confirmation hearing, she responded to a question from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee about consolidation of the FIRE Act within ODP by saying, “I believe that the Office for Domestic Preparedness will always strive to provide assistance to our nation’s emergency response community in the most efficient and effective manner. It is also my understanding that preliminary planning between ODP and FEMA has concluded the FIRE Act should be administered as it has in the past. If I am confirmed by the Senate, I will make every effort to ensure that ODP continues to work effectively with our nation’s emergency responders.”
      Well, I had a feeling all along and stated as such that FIRE Act, as we know it, would be gone after 2003-2004.
      I have this feeling that our chances of getting funded for our project just went from SLIM to NONE.
      Sorry, but I don't get a warm and fuzzy feeling from this latest political manuevering.
      To those who argued that this system wasn't political: do you still feel that way?
      Contact your representative? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this came about by a majority vote.
      Hang on to your wallets!
      CR
      Visit www.iacoj.com
      Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
      RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

      Comment


      • #4
        “I believe that the Office for Domestic Preparedness will always strive to provide assistance to our nation’s emergency response community in the most efficient and effective manner. It is also my understanding that preliminary planning between ODP and FEMA has concluded the FIRE Act should be administered as it has in the past. If I am confirmed by the Senate, I will make every effort to ensure that ODP continues to work effectively with our nation’s emergency responders.”
        Whaaatever.
        Member IACOJ

        Comment


        • #5
          I see that Ms. Suzanne Mencer used the term "emergency response community" when asked about the FIRE Act. That is definately not a good sign!

          Unfortunately, things that seem too good to be true, usually are. At least a lot of departments are getting helped out while it lasts.

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          • #6
            They did put in several restrictions on how the funding is to be spent, however it begs the question of why move it in the first place unless there are plans for the future. No good can come from this and our congressional delegations need to hear about it on a regular basis. It's all we can do. I'm afraid the growing budget deficit is going to wreak havoc on quite a few programs.

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