McCain Bill to Aid Firefighters, Other First Responders Passes Congress

November 21, 2003

Washington, DC – Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today applauded the passage of the United States Fire Administration Reauthorization Act of 2003, S. 1152. Both houses of Congress passed the bill this week, which will now be sent to the President. “As we face a war against terrorism, we must remember that firefighters are among the first to respond to any domestic terrorist event. Today’s firefighters must be prepared to deal with a host of other dangers caused by urban and wild land fires, natural disasters, hazardous materials spills, and other accidents,” McCain said. “This legislation is designed to ensure that our nation’s first responders are prepared and trained to take action against these threats.” This legislation will reauthorize funding for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 through FY 2008, as well as re-establish the position of the U.S. Fire Administrator at the USFA. Additionally, it will authorize the U.S. Fire Administrator to work with other federal agencies and interested parties to support the development of voluntary consensus standards for new firefighting technology. The bill also would address many of the coordination challenges that first responders face during national emergencies. It would direct the U.S. Fire Administrator to provide assistance to state and local fire services in developing mutual aid plans, report on a strategy for deployment of volunteers and other emergency response personnel, and authorize the National Fire Academy to train firefighters on technologies and strategies to respond to future terrorist attacks. “This bill will ensure our nation’s firefighters and first responders are prepared for any disaster that strikes their community and will help provide the tools and funds firefighters and first responders need to do their job,” McCain said. ###