ȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ Ž——Š›ȱ ǯȱ ›žŽ›ȱ ™ŽŒ’Š•’œȱ’—ȱŒ’Ž—ŒŽȱŠ—ȱŽŒ‘—˜•˜¢ȱ˜•’Œ¢ȱ Š¢ȱŞǰȱŘŖŖşȱ ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ ŝȬśŝŖŖȱ    ǯŒ›œǯ˜Ÿȱ řŘřŚŗȱ ȱŽ™˜›ȱ˜›ȱ˜—›Žœœ Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress ȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ž––Š›¢ȱ The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants or the FIRE Act grant program, was established by Title XVII of the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 106-398). Currently administered by the Grant Programs Directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the program provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. A related program is the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Firefighters (SAFER) program, which provides grants for hiring, recruiting, and retaining firefighters. The fire grant program is now in its ninth year. Over $4.8 billion has been appropriated to the fire grant program since FY2001. The Fire Act statute was reauthorized in 2004 (Title XXXVI of P.L. 108-375) and provides overall guidelines on how fire grant money should be distributed. There is no set geographical formula for the distribution of fire grants—fire departments throughout the nation apply, and award decisions are made by a peer panel based on the merits of the application and the needs of the community. However, the law does require that fire grants be distributed to a diverse mix of fire departments, with respect to type of department (paid, volunteer, or combination), geographic location, and type of community served (e.g. urban, suburban, or rural). On February 17, 2009, the President signed P.L. 111-5, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The ARRA included an additional $210 million in firefighter assistance grants for modifying, upgrading, or constructing state and local non-federal fire stations, provided that 5% be set aside for program administration and provided that no grant shall exceed $15 million. The ARRA also included a provision that waives the matching requirement for SAFER grants in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. For FY2010, the Obama Administration is proposing $170 million for fire grants, a 70% decrease from the FY2009 level, and $420 million for SAFER, double the amount appropriated in FY2009. The total amount requested for firefighter assistance (AFG and SAFER) is $590 million, a 24% decrease from FY2009. The Obama Administration’s FY2010 budget proposal for firefighter assistance is likely to receive heightened scrutiny from the fire community, given what was viewed as inadequate past budget proposals by the Bush Administration, and given the national economic downturn and local budgetary cutbacks that many fire departments are now facing. Concerns over local fire departments’ budgetary problems may also frame debate of the assistance to firefighters grant program reauthorization bill, which is expected to be considered during the first session of the 111th Congress. This report will be updated as events warrant. ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ ȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ˜—Ž—œȱ Background ..................................................................................................................................... 1 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program ....................................................................................... 1 Reauthorization ......................................................................................................................... 1 Appropriations........................................................................................................................... 2 FY2009 ............................................................................................................................... 3 FY2010 ............................................................................................................................... 4 Fire Station Construction Grants in the ARRA ............................................................................... 4 SAFER Grants................................................................................................................................. 5 Program Evaluation......................................................................................................................... 6 Distribution of Fire Grants .............................................................................................................. 7 Issues in the 111th Congress............................................................................................................. 9 Š‹•Žœȱ Table 1. Major Provisions of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Reauthorization Act...................................................................................................................... 2 Table 2. Appropriations for Firefighter Assistance, FY2001-FY2009 ............................................ 3 Table 3. Recent and Proposed Appropriations for Firefighter Assistance ....................................... 3 Table 4. Appropriations for SAFER Program, FY2005-FY2009 .................................................... 6 Table 5. State-by-State Distribution of Fire Grants, FY2001-FY2007.......................................... 9 Table 6. State-by-State Distribution of SAFER Grants, FY2005-FY2007....................................11 Table 7. Requests and Awards for Fire Grant Funding, FY2007................................................... 13 ˜—ŠŒœȱ Author Contact Information .......................................................................................................... 14 ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ ȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ŠŒ”›˜ž—ȱ Firefighting activities are traditionally the responsibility of states and local communities. As such, funding for firefighters is provided mostly by state and local governments. During the 1990s, shortfalls in state and local budgets, coupled with increased responsibilities of local fire departments, led many in the fire community to call for additional financial support from the federal government. While federally funded training programs existed (and continue to exist) through the National Fire Academy, and while federal money was available to first responders for counterterrorism training and equipment through the Department of Justice,1 there did not exist a dedicated program, exclusively for firefighters, which provided federal money directly to local fire departments to help address a wide variety of equipment, training, and other firefighterrelated needs. œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ ›Š—ȱ›˜›Š–ȱ During the 106th Congress, many in the fire community asserted that local fire departments require and deserve greater support from the federal government. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG), also known as fire grants or the FIRE Act grant program, was established by Title XVII of the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 106-398).2 Currently administered by the Grant Programs Directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the program provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. ŽŠž‘˜›’£Š’˜—ȱ On October 28, 2004, the President signed the FY2005 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-375). Title XXXVI of P.L. 108-375 is the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2004, which reauthorizes the fire grant program through FY2009. Table 1 provides a summary of key provisions of the current reauthorization. 1 For a list of federal programs providing assistance to state and local first responders, see CRS Report RL32348, Selected Federal Homeland Security Assistance Programs: A Summary, by Shawn Reese. 2 “Firefighter assistance” is codified as section 33 of the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act (15 U.S.C. 2229). ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ ŗȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ȱ . Major Provisions of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Reauthorization Act Table 1 Grant recipient limits: populations over 1 million—lesser of $2.75 million or 0.5% of total appropriation populations of 500K to 1 million—$1.75 million populations under 500K—$1 million no single grant can exceed 0.5% of total funds appropriated for a single fiscal year DHS can waive the funding limits for populations up to 1 million in instances of extraordinary need; however the lesser of $2.75 million or 0.5% limit cannot be waived Nonfederal match requirements: 20% for populations over 50K 10% for populations 20K to 50K 5% for populations less than 20K No match requirement for non-fire department prevention and firefighter safety grants Authorized for five years: FY2005—$900 million FY2006—$950 million FY2007—$1 billion FY2008—$1 billion FY2009—$1 billion Expands grant eligibility to emergency medical service squads, not less than 3.5% of fire grant money for EMS, but no more than 2% for nonaffiliated EMS Provides grants for firefighter health and safety R&D Requires the USFA Administrator to convene an annual meeting of non-federal fire service experts to recommend criteria for awarding grants and administrative changes Requires fire service peer review of grant applications Requires the USFA, in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Association, to conduct a $300,000, 18-month study on the fire grant program and the need for federal assistance to state and local communities to fund firefighting and emergency response activities Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2004, Section XXXVI of P.L. 108-375, FY2005 National Defense Authorization Act Source: ™™›˜™›’Š’˜—œȱ From FY2001 through FY2003, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program (as part of USFA/FEMA) received its primary appropriation through the VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriation Act. In FY2004, the Assistance to Firefighters Program began to receive its annual appropriation through the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Homeland Security. The fire grant program is in its ninth year. Table 2 shows the appropriations history for firefighter assistance, including AFG, SAFER, and the fire station construction grants provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Over $4.8 billion has been appropriated to the AFG program since FY2001, its initial year. Table 3 shows recent and proposed appropriated funding for the AFG and SAFER grant programs. ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ Řȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ȱ . Appropriations for Firefighter Assistance, FY2001-FY2009 Table 2 AFG FY2001 FY2002 FY2003 FY2004 FY2005 FY2006 FY2007 FY2008 FY2009 $100 million $360 million $745 million $746 million $650 million $539 million $547 million $560 million $565 million Total a. SAFER ARRAa $65 million $109 million $115 million $190 million $210 million $4.812 billion $210 million $689 million $210 million Total $100 million $360 million $745 million $746 million $715 million $648 million $662 million $750 million $985 million $5.711 billion The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (P.L. 111-5) provided $210 million in the firefighter assistance account for fire station construction grants. Table 3. Recent and Proposed Appropriations for Firefighter Assistance (millions of dollars) FIRE Grants (AFG) SAFER Grants Total FY2008 (P.L. 110-161) FY2009 Admin. request FY2009 (P.L. 110-329) FY2010 Admin. request 560 300 565 170 190 0 210 420 750 300 775 590 ŘŖŖşȱ The Bush Administration proposed $300 million for fire grants in FY2009, a 46% cut from the FY2008 level of $560 million. No funding was proposed for SAFER grants. The total request for firefighter assistance was 60% below the FY2008 level for fire and SAFER grants combined. According to the budget justification, “the Administration believes that $287 million is an appropriate level of funding given the availability of significant amounts of funding for first responder preparedness missions from other DHS grant programs which are coordinated with state and local homeland security strategies and, unlike AFG, are allocated on the basis of risk.” Priority would be given to applications that enhance capabilities needed for terrorism response and other major incidents. Funding would only be available for critical response equipment, training, and personal protective gear, and would not be available for wellness/fitness activities or modifications to facilities for firefighter safety. On June 19, 2008, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY2009 appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security (S. 3181; S.Rept. 110-396). The bill would provide ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ řȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ȱ $750 million for firefighter assistance, including $560 million for fire grants and $190 million for SAFER grants. This is the same funding level approved for FY2008. The Committee directed DHS to continue the present practice of funding applications according to local priorities and those established by the U.S. Fire Administration, and further directed DHS to continue direct funding to fire departments and the peer review process. Additionally, $3 million was made available for foam firefighter equipment used in remote areas. On June 24, 2008, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY2009 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security, and reported its bill on September 18, 2008 (H.R. 6947; H.Rept. 110-862). The Committee would provide $800 million for firefighter assistance, consisting of $570 million for fire grants and $230 million for SAFER grants. The Committee directed FEMA to continue granting funds directly to local fire departments and to include the U.S. Fire Administration during the grant administration process, while also maintaining an all-hazards focus and not limiting the list of eligible activities. The Committee would continue the requirement that FEMA peer review grant applications that meet criteria established by FEMA and the fire service, rank order applications according to peer review, fund applications according to their rank order, and provide official notification detailing why applications do not meet the criteria for review. The Committee also directed FEMA to encourage regional applications. The Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 110-329)—which contains the FY2009 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act— provided $775 million for firefighter assistance, including $565 million for fire grants and $210 million for SAFER. The DHS explanatory statement directed FEMA to continue the present practice of funding applications according to local priorities and those established by the USFA. ŘŖŗŖȱ For FY2010, the Obama Administration is proposing $170 million for AFG, a 70% decrease from the FY2009 level, and $420 million for SAFER, double the amount appropriated in FY2009. The total amount requested for firefighter assistance (AFG and SAFER) is $590 million, a 24% decrease from FY2009. The FY2010 budget proposal states that the firefighter assistance grant process “will give priority to applications that enhance capabilities for terrorism response and other major incidents.”3 ’›ŽȱŠ’˜—ȱ˜—œ›žŒ’˜—ȱ ›Š—œȱ’—ȱ‘Žȱȱ Since its inception, the traditional fire grant program has provided money specifically for health and safety related modifications of fire stations, but has not funded major upgrades or construction. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 (P.L. 111-5) provided an additional $210 million in firefighter assistance grants for modifying, upgrading, or constructing state and local non-federal fire stations, provided that 5% be set aside for program administration and provided that no grant shall exceed $15 million. The Conference Report (H.Rept. 111-16) cites DHS estimates that this spending will create 2,000 jobs. The ARRA also 3 Office of Management and Budget, Appendix: Budget of the United States Government, FY2010, p. 547. ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ Śȱ ȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ included a provision (section 603) that waives the matching requirement for SAFER grants funded by appropriations in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. ARRA fire station construction grants will be implemented as a competitive grant program using the existing AFG online grants management system, and will likely draw upon the existing programmatic structure of the AFG program. DHS is currently developing regulations for the new program, and is working towards opening an application period in the early summer of 2009. ȱ ›Š—œȱ In response to concerns over the adequacy of firefighter staffing, the 108th Congress enacted the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Act as Section 1057 of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136; signed into law November 24, 2003). The SAFER grant program is codified as Section 34 of the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 (15 U.S.C. 2229a). The SAFER Act authorizes grants to career, volunteer, and combination fire departments for the purpose of increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Also authorized are grants to volunteer fire departments for activities related to the recruitment and retention of volunteers. P.L. 108-136 authorizes over one billion dollars per year through FY2010 for SAFER. Two types of grants are authorized by the SAFER Act: hiring grants and recruitment and retention grants. Hiring grants cover a four-year term and are cost-shared with the local jurisdiction. According to the statute, the federal share shall not exceed 90% in the first year of the grant, 80% in the second year, 50% in the third year, and 30% in the fourth year. The grantee must commit to retaining the firefighter or firefighters hired with the SAFER grant for at least one additional year after the federal money expires. Total federal funding for hiring a firefighter over the four-year grant period may not exceed $100,000, although that total may be adjusted for inflation. While the majority of hiring grants will be awarded to career and combination fire departments, the SAFER Act specifies that 10% of the total SAFER appropriation be awarded to volunteer or majority-volunteer departments for the hiring of personnel. Additionally, at least 10% of the total SAFER appropriation is set aside for recruitment and retention grants, which are available to volunteer and combination fire departments for activities related to the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. Also eligible for recruitment and retention grants are local and statewide organizations that represent the interests of volunteer firefighters. No local cost sharing is required for recruitment and retention grants. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5) included a provision (section 603) that waives the matching requirement for SAFER grants in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Table 4 shows the SAFER program’s appropriations history. $479 million has been appropriated to the SAFER program since FY2005, its initial year. For more information on the SAFER program, see CRS Report RL33375, Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program, by Lennard G. Kruger. ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ śȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ȱ Table 4. Appropriations for SAFER Program, FY2005-FY2009 Fiscal year Appropriation FY2005 FY2006 FY2007 FY2008 FY2009 $65 million $109 million $115 million $190 million $210 million Total $689 million ›˜›Š–ȱŸŠ•žŠ’˜—ȱ On May 13, 2003, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) released the first independent evaluation of the Assistance to Firefighters Program. Conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Leadership Development Academy Executive Potential Program, the survey study presented a number of recommendations and concluded overall that the program was “highly effective in improving the readiness and capabilities of firefighters across the nation.”4 Another evaluation of the fire grant program was released by the DHS Office of Inspector General in September 2003. The report concluded that the program “succeeded in achieving a balanced distribution of funding through a competitive grant process,”5 and made a number of specific recommendations for improving the program. At the request of DHS, the National Academy of Public Administration conducted a study to help identify potential new strategic directions for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program and to provide advice on how to effectively plan, manage, and measure program accomplishments. Released in April 2007, the report recommended consideration of new strategic directions related to national preparedness, prevention vs. response, social equity, regional cooperation, and emergency medical response. According to the report, the “challenge for the AFG program will be to support a gradual shift in direction without losing major strengths of its current management approach—including industry driven priority setting and its well-respected peer review process.”6 The Administration’s FY2008 budget proposal was accompanied by program evaluations called the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART). For assessment year 2007, PART gave the fire grant program a rating of “Effective,” (an improvement from the previous rating of “Results Not Demonstrated”). The PART directed DHS to embark on an improvement plan encompassing three 4 For full report see http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/affgp-fy01-usda-report.pdf. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspections, Evaluations, and Special Reviews, “A Review of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program,” OIG-ISP-01-03, September 2003, p. 3. Available at http://www.dhs.gov/ xoig/assets/mgmtrpts/OIG_Review_Fire_Assist.pdf. 6 National Academy of Public Administration, Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program: Assessing Performance, April 2007, p. xvii. Available at http://www.napawash.org/pc_management_studies/ Fire_Grants_Report_April2007.pdf. 5 ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ Ŝȱ ȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ elements: establishing a continuing strategic planning process, improving program transparency, and increasing outreach.7 The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-161), in the accompanying Joint Explanatory Statement, directed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the application and award process for fire and SAFER grants. Additionally, FEMA was directed to peer review grant applications that best address the program’s priorities and criteria as established by FEMA and the fire service. Those criteria necessary for peer-review must be included in the grant application package. Applicants whose grant applications are not reviewed must receive an official notification detailing why the application did not meet the criteria for review. Applications must be rank-ordered, and funded following the rank order. ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—œȱ The FIRE Act statute prescribes 14 different purposes for which fire grant money may be used (see 15 U.S.C. 2229(b)(3)). These are: hiring firefighters; training firefighters; creating rapid intervention teams; certifying fire inspectors; establishing wellness and fitness programs; funding emergency medical services; acquiring firefighting vehicles; acquiring firefighting equipment; acquiring personal protective equipment; modifying fire stations for health and safety; enforcing fire codes; funding fire prevention programs; educating the public about arson prevention and detection; and providing incentives for the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. The DHS has the discretion to decide which of those purposes will be funded for a given grant year. Since the program commenced in FY2001, the majority of fire grant funding has been used by fire departments to purchase firefighting equipment, personal protective equipment, and firefighting vehicles. Eligible applicants are limited primarily to fire departments (defined as an agency or organization that has a formally recognized arrangement with a state, local, or tribal authority to provide fire suppression, fire prevention and rescue services to a population within a fixed geographical area). Emergency Medical Services (EMS) activities are eligible for fire grants, including a limited number (no more than 2% of funds allocated) to EMS organizations not affiliated with hospitals. Additionally, a separate competition is held for fire prevention and firefighter safety research and development grants, which are available to national, state, local, or community fire prevention or safety organizations (including, but not limited to, fire departments). For official program guidelines, frequently-asked-questions, the latest awards announcements, and other information, see the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program web page at http://www.firegrantsupport.com/. The FIRE Act statute provides overall guidelines on how fire grant money will be distributed and administered. The law directs that volunteer departments receive a proportion of the total grant funding that is not less than the proportion of the U.S. population that those departments protect (currently 55%). The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Title XXXVI of P.L. 108-375) raised award caps and lowered nonfederal matching requirements (based on recipient community population), extended eligibility to nonaffiliated emergency 7 Office of Management and Budget, ExpectMore.gov, Detailed Information on the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Grants and Training Office Assistance to Firefighters Grants Assessment, Assessment Year 2007, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/expectmore/detail/10001071.2007.html. ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ ŝȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ȱ medical services (i.e. ambulance services not affiliated with fire departments), and expanded the scope of grants to include firefighter safety R&D. There is no set geographical formula for the distribution of fire grants—fire departments throughout the nation apply, and award decisions are made by a peer panel based on the merits of the application and the needs of the community. However, the law does require that fire grants should be distributed to a diverse mix of fire departments, with respect to type of department (paid, volunteer, or combination), geographic location, and type of community served (e.g. urban, suburban, or rural).8 The Fire Act’s implementing regulation provides that: In a few cases, to fulfill our obligations under the law to make grants to a variety of departments, we may also make funding decisions using rank order as the preliminary basis, and then analyze the type of fire department (paid, volunteer, or combination fire departments), the size and character of the community it serves (urban, suburban, or rural), and/or the geographic location of the fire department. In these instances where we are making decisions based on geographic location, we will use States as the basic geographic unit.9 According to the FY2009 Program Guidance for the Assistance to Firefighters Program, career (paid) departments will compete against other career departments for up to 45% of the available funding, while volunteer and combination departments will compete for at least 55% of the available funding.10 However, given that less than 10% of fire grant applications are historically received from career departments, funding levels are likely not to reach the 45% ceiling for career departments. Additionally, each fire department that applies is classified as either urban, suburban, or rural. In FY2005, 4.3% of the total number of fire grant awards went to urban areas, 17.8% to suburban areas, and 77.7% to rural areas. Of the total amount of federal funding awarded, 7.7% went to urban areas, 18.2% to suburban areas, and 73.9% to rural areas.11 Finally, in an effort to maximize the diversity of awardees, the geographic location of an applicant (using states as the basic geographic unit) is used as a deciding factor in cases where applicants have similar qualifications. Table 5 shows a state-by-state breakdown of fire grant funding for FY2001 through FY2007, while Table 6 shows a state-by-state breakdown of SAFER grant funding for FY2005 through FY2007. Table 7 provides an in-depth look at the FY2007 fire grants, showing, for each state, the number of fire departments in each state,12 the number of fire grant applications, the total amount requested, the total amount awarded, and the amount of funds awarded as a percentage of funds requested. As Table 7 shows, the entire pool of fire department applicants received, to date, about 16% of the funds they requested in FY2007. This is down from 21% in FY2006, 22% in FY2005, 28% in FY2004, and 34% in FY2003. This reflects the fact that 8 15 U.S.C. 2229(b)(9). 44 CFR Part 152.6(c). 10 For the FY2008 round of awards, no less than 34% of AFG funds must be awarded to combination departments, and no less than 21% of AFG funds must be awarded to all-volunteer departments. See Department of Homeland Security, Fiscal Year 2009 Assistance to Firefighters Grants: Guidance and Application Kit, April 2009, p. 25. 11 Department of Homeland Security, Grant Programs Directorate, Grant Development and Administration Division, Report on Fiscal Year 2006 Assistance to Firefighters Grants, p. 11. 12 The fire grant program sets a limit of up to three applications per fire department per year (a vehicle application, an application for operations and safety, and a regional application). Thus, the number of fire departments in a state plays a major factor in the number of fire grant applications submitted and the amount of total funding awarded within a given state. For example, because Pennsylvania has—by far—the largest number of fire departments, it is not surprising that it leads the nation in the number of fire grants applications and the amount of funding awarded. 9 ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ Şȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ȱ the number of applications and federal funds requested have trended upward over these years, while appropriations for the fire grant program have declined over the same period. œœžŽœȱ’—ȱ‘Žȱŗŗŗ‘ȱ˜—›Žœœȱ The Obama Administration’s FY2010 budget proposal for firefighter assistance is likely to receive heightened scrutiny from the fire community, given what was viewed as inadequate past budget proposals by the Bush Administration, and given the national economic downturn and local budgetary cutbacks that many fire departments are now facing. Concerns over local fire departments’ budgetary problems may also frame debate of the assistance to firefighters grant program reauthorization bill, which is expected to be considered during the first session of the 111th Congress. Possible reauthorization issues might include whether the scope and size of the program should be altered, as well as how grant allocation rules and criteria might be modified. Table 5. State-by-State Distribution of Fire Grants, FY2001-FY2007 (millions of dollars) FY2001 AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA 3.085 1.303 1.37 1.337 5.905 1.003 1.828 0.132 0 2.865 2.375 0 0.916 2.417 2.703 1.301 1.153 2.215 3.344 1.296 0.739 2.301 FY2002 12.503 2.641 3.6 4.635 18.978 3.968 4.675 0.372 0.22 10.16 6.079 1.182 2.744 13.398 8.739 7.284 5.118 7.896 10.084 4.319 4.08 8.386 ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ FY2003 23.329 5.242 7.490 10.675 30.060 6.168 10.841 1.096 0 16.344 13.791 0.947 6.001 28.810 20.456 16.087 10.850 19.832 12.248 10.323 8.153 15.715 FY2004 25.097 2.522 9.808 13.680 29.793 5.585 9.991 1.755 0 15.969 11.857 0.864 4.828 27.238 18.646 16.430 10.211 16.150 11.101 10.031 10.227 13.958 FY2005 20.836 3.111 7.905 10.402 25.631 6.073 7.287 1.161 0.453 17.922 10.168 1.205 4.684 25.433 15.779 13.119 7.165 14.215 11.630 6.124 8.771 13.529 FY2006 22.027 0.754 4.041 7.699 17.856 3.213 5.479 1.107 0 6.787 8.887 0.264 2.712 21.120 14.447 10.064 4.984 13.308 6.935 6.702 10.368 8.957 FY2007 19.903 2.454 4.932 7.799 18.730 4.742 6.630 0.518 0.376 8.288 9.068 0.436 4.297 21.923 13.831 9.298 5.502 13.081 5.473 5.486 7.712 11.644 Total 126.78 18.027 39.146 56.227 146.953 30.752 46.731 6.141 1.049 78.335 62.225 4.898 26.182 140.339 94.601 73.583 44.983 86.697 60.815 44.281 50.05 74.49 şȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ȱ FY2001 MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY PR MP GU AS VI Tot. FY2002 FY2003 FY2004 FY2005 FY2006 FY2007 Total 2.815 2.133 1.763 3.079 1.164 1.034 0.282 0.594 2.596 1.455 3.978 1.949 0.546 2.731 1.864 1.596 2.89 0.407 1.554 0.904 2.46 3.697 0.9 0.451 2.066 1.535 1.067 2.077 1.09 0.657 0.145 0 0.164 0.741 8.948 8.149 6.755 10.291 3.726 2.392 1.446 1.887 6.339 3.463 14.728 10.239 2.613 13.742 4.939 4.892 16.97 1.507 5.257 3.142 11.509 15.644 2.754 1.971 8.79 7.544 3.966 7.518 1.612 0.382 0.225 0.016 0 0 17.247 17.510 15.679 19.573 8.361 7.820 3.312 4.584 19.982 5.048 34.320 22.864 5.105 26.997 10.540 9.896 45.179 2.327 11.832 5.602 19.306 29.264 4.628 5.163 15.816 18.808 9.942 18.234 3.507 1.643 0 0 0 0.544 20.005 18.609 11.329 17.757 7.271 6.577 1.405 5.694 16.488 3.653 35.030 22.360 3.391 29.107 10.393 10.122 47.898 1.917 14.150 4.693 18.686 30.118 3.880 4.747 16.668 19.565 9.133 19.668 1.811 1.140 0 0 0.284 0 15.088 14.894 9.856 14.246 6.656 5.116 1.946 4.563 14.691 2.259 36.009 19.315 2.673 27.344 8.757 10.014 39.233 2.129 10.544 3.570 15.047 23.480 2.188 2.071 14.357 15.763 10.143 17.685 2.032 1.104 0.220 0 0 0 15.798 14.718 7.885 13.202 5.839 4.399 0.857 3.307 12.386 1.461 33.804 18.309 2.459 25.380 10.852 9.288 41.259 2.025 8.028 2.989 11.209 18.035 2.213 1.456 8.317 16.150 5.838 13.994 1.197 0.528 0.172 0.287 0 0 15.399 16.600 8.052 10.611 7.330 4.443 1.530 3.219 13.266 1.367 22.664 20.031 3.100 26.433 7.220 5.943 43.610 0.855 10.470 2.474 12.955 17.691 3.378 1.820 10.403 12.951 7.164 19.439 1.645 0.019 0 0 0 0 95.3 92.613 61.319 88.759 40.347 31.781 10.778 23.848 85.748 18.706 180.533 115.067 19.887 151.734 54.565 51.751 237.039 11.167 61.835 23.374 91.172 137.929 19.941 17.679 76.417 92.316 47.253 98.615 12.894 5.473 0.762 0.303 0.448 1.285 91.972 334.417 695.121 679.305 585.619 491.375 494.221 3372.03 Department of Homeland Security. As of March 27, 2009, FY2008 grants continue to be awarded. For the latest state-by-state statistics for FY2008 fire grants, see http://www.firegrantsupport.com/afg/awards/08/ 2008afg_winners_states.aspx Source: ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ ŗŖȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ȱ State Distribution of SAFER Grants, FY2005-FY2007 Table 6. State-by- (millions of dollars) FY2005 Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ 1.611 1.051 1.560 0.394 5.221 1.584 0.130 0 0 6.576 5.354 0 0.063 1.340 0 0.169 0.667 0.152 3.430 0.081 0.096 1.300 1.759 0.300 0.756 1.467 0.034 0 1.500 0.400 6.374 0 1.540 FY2006 6.215 0.205 3.559 1.820 5.212 3.479 0.191 0.135 0 9.329 2.085 0 0.621 4.463 0.099 0.144 0.045 2.890 3.078 0 1.862 2.079 0.592 1.089 0.594 3.547 0.255 0.873 1.714 1.035 3.971 3.123 2.991 FY2007 4.236 0.418 4.428 0.377 4.259 1.730 0.856 0 0 6.217 2.842 0 0.626 9.933 2.687 0.980 1.029 0.429 4.728 0.316 1.526 4.372 0 0.375 0.115 4.551 2.635 0.632 0.632 1.528 2.953 1.309 2.845 Total 12.062 1.674 9.547 2.591 14.692 6.793 1.177 0.135 0 22.122 10.281 0 1.31 15.736 2.786 1.293 1.741 3.471 11.236 0.397 3.484 7.751 2.351 1.764 1.465 9.565 2.924 1.505 3.846 2.963 13.298 4.432 7.376 ŗŗȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ȱ FY2005 North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming Puerto Rico Northern Mariana Islands Marshall Islands Guam American Samoa Virgin Islands Republic of Palua Total 2.155 0 1.319 0.147 1.710 1.244 0.400 0.456 0.063 2.700 0.951 0.900 0 2.091 2.298 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 61.356 FY2006 5.533 0.609 1.881 0.699 2.141 1.475 0 0.863 0.311 2.719 10.961 3.312 0.621 3.554 2.897 0.187 0.072 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 105.142 FY2007 5.371 0 2.255 0.531 2.649 2.633 0.105 3.218 0.211 3.683 8.779 2.098 0.632 0.782 7.340 0.681 1.223 0.316 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 113.665 Total 13.059 0.609 5.455 1.377 6.5 5.352 0.505 4.537 0.585 9.102 20.691 6.31 1.253 6.427 12.535 0.868 1.295 0.316 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 280.163 Department of Homeland Security. As of March 27, 2009, FY2008 grants continue to be awarded. For the latest state-by-state statistics for FY2008 fire grants, see http://www.firegrantsupport.com/safer/awards/08/ 2008safer_winners_states.aspx Source: ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ ŗŘȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ȱ . Requests and Awards for Fire Grant Funding, FY2007 Table 7 State Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York NorthCarolina Number of fire/EMS departmentsa Number of applications Federal funds requested ($millions) Federal funds awarded ($millions) Funds awarded as a % of funds requested 958 72 281 826 802 371 393 77 720 72 166 458 499 197 220 32 91.230 13.759 36.489 58.209 100.560 29.258 40.017 6.217 19.903 2.454 4.932 7.799 18.730 4.742 6.630 0.518 21.8% 17.8% 13.5% 13.3% 18.6% 16.2% 16.5% 8.3% 18 2 0.418 0.376 89.9% 748 792 18 211 1081 656 862 674 797 555 426 408 407 858 768 756 862 279 485 159 293 331 4 111 858 480 531 298 618 256 300 202 339 755 574 498 587 232 201 27 60.133 57.090 1.168 18.762 130.841 83.228 61.512 36.207 86.117 40.891 41.620 40.003 65.842 107.539 74.210 64.418 76.915 36.531 23.130 6.640 8.288 9.068 0.436 4.297 21.923 13.831 9.298 5.502 13.081 5.473 5.486 7.712 11.644 15.399 16.600 8.052 10.611 7.330 4.443 1.530 13.7% 15.8% 37.3% 22.9% 16.7% 16.6% 15.1% 15.1% 15.1% 13.3% 13.1% 19.2% 17.6% 14.3% 22.3% 12.4% 13.7% 20.0% 19.2% 23.0% 255 143 18.716 3.219 17.1% 1037 337 1880 1407 609 99 1238 721 93.805 14.804 162.786 112.471 13.266 1.367 22.664 20.032 14.1% 9.2% 13.9% 17.8% ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ ŗřȱ œœ’œŠ—ŒŽȱ˜ȱ’›Ž’‘Ž›œȱ›˜›Š–DZȱ’œ›’‹ž’˜—ȱ˜ȱ’›Žȱ ›Š—ȱž—’—ȱ ȱ Number of fire/EMS departmentsa State North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming Puerto Rico Northern Marianas Guam Total Number of applications Federal funds requested ($millions) Federal funds awarded ($millions) 322 1332 772 358 2624 98 591 345 642 1873 219 254 810 538 476 898 134 Not available 163 984 478 202 2031 71 381 172 634 826 123 115 318 359 299 746 45 109 20.217 160.235 59.814 31.343 299.338 13.980 53.721 19.604 84.878 128.511 18.785 17.402 56.800 74.687 48.579 103.653 8.843 7.420 Not available 1 0.204 0 0% Not available 1 0.451 0 0% 31,822 20,731 3100.309 3.100 26.433 7.221 5.943 43.611 0.855 10.471 2.474 12.955 17.691 3.378 1.820 10.403 12.951 7.164 19.439 1.645 0.019 Funds awarded as a % of funds requested 494.221 15.3% 16.4% 12.0% 18.9% 14.5% 6.1% 19.4% 12.6% 15.2% 13.7% 17.9% 10.4% 18.3% 17.3% 14.7% 18.7% 18.6% 0.2% 15.94% Department of Homeland Security. Data from http://firehouse.com, updated January 2008. Source: a. ž‘˜›ȱ˜—ŠŒȱ —˜›–Š’˜—ȱ Lennard G. Kruger Specialist in Science and Technology Policy lkruger@crs.loc.gov, 7-7070 ˜—›Žœœ’˜—Š•ȱŽœŽŠ›Œ‘ȱŽ›Ÿ’ŒŽȱ ŗŚȱ