The IAFC Cites Inaccuracy in Article on FIRE Grants, Requests Immediate Correction
Published: 7/09/2009
Author: The International Association of Fire Chiefs

On Thursday evening the IAFC had to issue the member alert that is below. The IAFC is extremely disappointed with the inaccuracy of the reporting of and the negative impact it has on the entire fire service. Mark Light, the executive director of the IAFC said this type of inaccuracy creates conflict for our members, and the fire service, and takes time away from being able to assure continued funding for the fire act and SAFER programs. The IAFC has a long history of supporting funding for all fire departments, and will continue to advocate for enhancements to these federal funds to assist local fire departments, regardless of their size.

The IAFC Cites Inaccuracy in Article on FIRE Grants,
Requests Immediate Correction

Fairfax, Va., July 9, 2009... This morning, released an article that erroneously indicated that the IAFC supports raising the FIRE grant program’s local match for smaller departments. The IAFC does not support raising the match for jurisdictions serving smaller populations.

According to the current statute, fire departments with a population of greater than 50,000 have to meet a 20 percent match. A jurisdiction with 20,000 to 50,000 residents has to meet a 10 percent match, and a jurisdiction with 20,000 or fewer residents only has to meet a 5 percent match.

The IAFC joined with the IAFF, CFSI and NFPA in support of a proposal to reduce the match for communities of greater than 50,000 from 20 percent to 15 percent. The IAFC does not support increasing the match for the smaller jurisdictions, and has made that clear in both its testimony before the House Science and Technology Committee and in meetings on Capitol Hill.

The IAFC also has recommended that Congress create a waiver for jurisdictions that cannot meet these local match requirements. To quote Chief Johnson during yesterday’s hearing before the House Science and Technology Committee, “According to the existing statute, most jurisdictions must meet a 20 percent match, while jurisdictions serving smaller populations must meet matches as low as 5 percent. Some jurisdictions cannot meet these requirements due to the economic downturn, but still need training or need to replace antiquated equipment. The IAFC recommends that Congress create the authority for DHS to waive the local match requirement for these needy departments.”

To read Chief Johnson’s written testimony, please go to Grants Testimony.

The IAFC has asked that correct its story, and Chief Johnson will talk with the reporter tomorrow morning to make sure that the IAFC position is accurately understood.



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