FAMA/FEMSA Out in Full Force on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Among those lobbying for increased funding for AFG and SAFER on Capitol Hill this week are members of FAMA/FEMSA.

They didn’t go to legislators’ office empty-handed either. They left behind a folder of information on how the grants are not only helping responders, but businesses too.

“This money is creating jobs,” said Dave Gatton, FAMA/FEMSA government affairs committee chair.

Gatton told members it was important to use every minute they had with a legislator or staff member to get their message across – to fund SAFER and AFG at $405M each.

In 2012, the program was funded at $337.5M, down 40 percent from ’09. Unlike others, only five percent of the allocated funds goes to administrative functions. It has been touted as one of the best-run.

Gatton said while the latest fire service needs assessment shows improvements across the country, there are still many departments that are operating with sub-standard equipment.

“Further cuts in the AFG program would leave communities and their first responders short-changed as local governments cut back further on their capital and general fund budgets,” he added.

The grants not only help firefighters who are on the front line, but they are vital to the manufacturing and service industries that involve as many as 90,000 jobs.