As the wildfires plaguing much of Arizona, Colorado and California proved, skilled firefighters are invaluable, and thanks to the recent progress of the 2014 Homeland Security spending bill, they will likely have the federal funding they require. The legislation includes approximately $675 million in funding for firefighters to ensure they have the proper training, equipment and vehicles to keep communities across the country safe.
Much of the money will be doled out through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which was created by Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski 12 years ago. Additionally, about $337.5 million of the bill will go toward Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants, which place an emphasis on recruiting new firefighters and retaining the experienced employees.
"The federal funding helps our firehouses hire and retain the first responders they need to keep our communities safe," Mikulski said. "Every day when our first responders report for duty, they don't know what they will face. This funding will provide our protectors with the equipment, training and resources they need to do their jobs."
Although the bill made it through the Senate Appropriations Committee, it still has a long road ahead. Now, the legislation heads to the Senate floor for a vote, but a date has yet to be scheduled.