Springfield, Mo. – (1/9/2018) President Donald Trump signed into law a bill backed by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill to extend funding for grant programs to local firefighters and emergency responders. The law helps fire and emergency services personnel continue to have access to critical training, equipment, and staffing resources.

“Firefighters risk their lives every day protecting Missourians—and this legislation helps ensure these brave first responders have the resources they need,” McCaskill said. “It’s great that President Trump signed into law this bipartisan bill that will mean more personnel and better equipment for Springfield-area fire departments.”

The United States Fire Administration, AFG, and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act of 2017 reauthorizes the highly successful Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs through Fiscal Year 2024. AFG protects communities and firefighters from fire-related hazards by providing eligible fire departments the financial support to train, equip and properly resource America’s emergency personnel. The SAFER program provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to help increase and maintain the number of trained firefighters in local communities.

In the Springfield area, some of the fire departments receiving funding in recent years through these grant programs have included:

·         Bolivar City Fire Department

·         Central Taney County Fire Protection District

·         City of Branson Fire & Rescue

·         City of Lebanon, Missouri Fire Department

·         City of Marshfield Fire Department

·         Crocker Fire Protection District

·         Cross Timbers Rural Fire Department

·         Doolittle Rural Fire Protection District

·         Eastern Douglas County Volunteer Fire Department

·         Grovespring Area Voluntary Fire Protection Association

·         Lanton Volunteer Fire Department

·         Lebanon Rural Fire Protection District

·         Mansfield Fire Department

·         Marshfield Fire Protection District

·         Mid-County Fire Protection District

·         Pumpkin Center Volunteer Fire Department

·         Raymondville Volunteer Fire Department

·         Republic Fire Department

·         Springfield Fire Department

·         St. James Fire Protection District

·         St. Robert City Fire & Rescue

·         Stockton Fire Department

·         Tri-County Fire Protection District

·         West Plains Fire and Rescue

·         Western Taney County Fire Protection District

·         Willard Fire Protection District

McCaskill—who as a young Jackson County prosecutor prosecuted arson cases—is a longtime supporter of grant funding for state and local first responders and law enforcement, including through the Justice Department’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which allows state and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime. Last year, McCaskill met with Missouri’s State Council of Firefighters to discuss her commitment to public safety and the funding challenges they face.

Continuing her longstanding support for Missouri firefighters and first responders and recognizing the need to support firefighters in rural communities, McCaskill is backing legislation to boost recruiting and retention by strengthening education benefits for volunteer firefighters and first responders at up to 100 or more fire departments in Missouri. McCaskill’s plan would expand eligibility to volunteer firefighters and first responders for the Department of Education's Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Any volunteer firefighter or first responder with student loans would be eligible for this program, which could pay off the entirety of their student loan debt.

More information on SAFER grantees is available HERE and more information on AFG grantees is available HERE. Visit mccaskill.senate.gov to learn more about McCaskill’s work to achieve concrete results for Missouri.

(Media Release)