U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to take action that would avoid potential layoffs of America’s experienced firefighters.
Specifically, Rep. LaHood and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) called on FEMA to temporarily expand the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program to include firefighters already on payroll. Currently, the SAFER program has a requirement that funding be used only to hire new firefighters, according to a May 26 letter the lawmakers sent to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor.
“Public health concerns have forced cities across the country to shut down and, in turn, take drastic budgetary measures,” wrote Rep. LaHood and his colleague. “This threatens the immediate viability of fire stations. Fire stations are struggling to retain the experienced firefighters already on staff — the same men and women that go out day after day as first responders to some of our most vulnerable.”