Fire Service Grant Programs Face Reduction Under Obama's Plan

Fire service grant programs are facing the budget ax in the spending plan unveiled by President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

The U.S. Fire Administration and the Urban Search and Rescue Response System also face reductions.

The plan calls for SAFER and the FIRE Act grants to be funded at $670M, a $10M reduction.

Obama proposes spending $41.4M on the USFA, which is $2.6M less than what Congress approved in '14.

A 20 percent cut is headed for search and rescue functions. The White House is proposing $27.5M.

CFSI officials who keep the nation's fire service informed about legislative issues also noted that the Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Program remains virtually intact.

The program provides funding to state forestry agencies to deliver grants to fire departments for the purchase of firefighting equipment and training to respond to wildland fires in rural jurisdictions. Last year, the budget was $13.025M, while $13M is proposed now. 

"While a President's budget proposal reflects the fiscal priorities of an administration, it is the Congress that appropriates the funds," CFSI Executive Director Bill Webb said in a prepared statement. "So now that the White House has released its budget, CFSI will begin its work with the other national fire service organizations and our supporters on Capitol Hill to shield these programs from budget cuts as Congress begins its work on the Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations legislation."