News

Senator Mitt Romney Honored as CFSI 2023 Legislator of the Year

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) recently presented U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (UT) with its 2023 Legislator of the Year award. 

Since 2019, Senator Romney has represented the state of Utah in the U.S. Senate. During his time in the Senate, he has supported many fire and life safety initiatives, including supporting the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs, as well as the U.S. Fire Administration.

Most notably, Senator Romney was instrumental in the creation of the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission. On September 27, 2023, the Commission released a final report with 148 recommendations intended to improve the way the U.S. thinks about, prepares for, and responds to wildfires. 

“Senator Romney has been a strong supporter of the fire and emergency services and has invested his time and energy in the Senate toward helping our country better prepare for and respond to wildfires,” said CFSI Executive Director Bill Webb. “Through his leadership, the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission was created and has put forth recommendations to help shape the future of wildfire in America.”

Since 1992, CFSI has given its Legislator of the Year award to a member or members of Congress who demonstrate outstanding support for the fire and emergency services. Past recipients have been instrumental in moving forward on a number of initiatives affecting fire and EMS personnel and the safety of communities across the nation. 

House Passes AFG, SAFER, USFA Reauthorization, Sends Bill to Senate

Today, the House of Representatives passed S.870, the Fire Grants and Safety Act, by a vote of 393 to 13. S.870 would reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG), the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program (SAFER), and the United States Fire Administration (USFA). For the past two years, CFSI and our partner organizations have been working tirelessly on this legislation and today’s vote is a positive step for our nation’s fire and emergency services. We extend our thanks to members of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus who have been instrumental in the progress we have achieved to date.

The Senate must now act quickly on this bill before AFG and SAFER face a statutory sunset on September 30. In April of 2023, it approved an earlier version of S.870 by a vote of 95-2, but it will need to approve the House-amended version before it can be signed into law by the President. Specifically, this bill would reauthorize AFG, SAFER, and USFA through fiscal year Fiscal Year 2028 and extend the sunset date to September 30, 2030.

CFSI will continue to provide updates on imminent Senate action. In the meantime, click here to tell your Senators to pass S.870 and save AFG and SAFER.

Honoring the Late Senator Joe Lieberman, a Former Co-Chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus

The Congressional Fire Services Institute’s (CFSI) Board of Directors and staff extend their sympathies to the family of former Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, who passed away this week at 82.

Elected to the United States Senate in 1988, Senate Lieberman served four terms before retiring in 2012.  He was a co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus in 2011 and 2012.  During the 112th Congress, Senator Lieberman sponsored the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act and the United States Fire Administration Reauthorization Act, demonstrating his commitment to our nation’s first responders.  In addition, he was active in several other initiatives, including post-Katrina FEMA reform and the establishment of the public safety broadband network.  CFSI honored the Senator for his leadership on behalf of our nation’s fire service by presenting to him the 2012 CFSI Legislator of the Year Award.

“Senator Lieberman embodied the bipartisan spirit of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus,” said CFSI Executive Director Bill Webb.  “He understood the needs and challenges of the fire and emergency services and worked closely with CFSI and the other national fire organizations on federal legislation and programs to support our nation’s first responders.  It was an honor to have worked with him.”

Among the many tributes by his former colleagues, Fire Caucus Co-Chair Senator Susan Collins expressed the following statement:

“Senator Joe Lieberman was a dear friend, a wonderful Senator, and a true patriot.  He not only was one of the best legislators I have known, but also one of the best human beings.  We worked so closely together on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, passing numerous bipartisan bills.  I am heartbroken to learn of his passing.”

Karla Klas Selected as Recipient of the 2024 Dr. Anne W. Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and the International Fire Service Training Association/Fire Protection Publications/Oklahoma State University (IFSTA) are proud to announce that Karla Klas is the recipient of the 2024 CFSI/IFSTA Dr. Anne W. Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education.  The award recognizes individuals for outstanding achievements at the national level in fire safety education.  The award presentation will be on April 29th at the 34th  Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner in Washington, DC.

Klas currently serves as Managing Director of Injury/Violence Prevention at the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center.  For more than 30 years, she has made significant contributions at the state and national levels in a broad range of fire and life safety fields, including trauma/burn critical care nursing, injury prevention, and community risk reduction.  She has developed many programs in burn and fire prevention, which have reached all 50 states and over 150 countries.  And much of her work has involved collaborations with state and national organizations, including the International Association of Fire Fighters Burn Foundation, the National Fire Protection Association, the American Burn Association and Vision 20/20.

“Karla’s passion and dedication to fire safety education truly embody the spirit of this award,” said Chief Mary Cameli, Chair of the IFSTA Executive Board.  “She is an exceptional leader who has inspired others to follow her lead in advancing fire safety education in the U.S. and in other parts of the world.”  

“Like the late-Dr. Anne W. Phillips, Karla Klas has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to fire prevention as the basis for reducing the toll of fire in this country,” said Jim Estepp, President of the Congressional Fire Services Institute.  My fellow board members and I take great pride in recognizing national leaders in fire safety education with this award to give them the recognition they deserve.”  

Additional details about the 34th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner are available by clicking here.

Skidmore College First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory Selected as Recipient of the Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) have selected Skidmore College First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory (FRHSL) as the recipient of the 2024 Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award.

The award will be presented at the 34th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner in Washington, DC, on April 29, 2024.  Named for retired Senator Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland—a strong advocate for our nation’s firefighters and rescue personnel during his 36-year career in Congress—the annual award recognizes organizations for outstanding contributions to firefighter health and safety.  

Established in 2007, the First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory (FRHSL) is a nationally renowned research facility that conducts scientific research to study the dangers faced by the fire service and develop and test interventions to mitigate these dangers.  With a focus on translating research for practical application, FRHSL works in collaboration with many national fire service organizations, including the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Volunteer Fire Council, and other organizations to advance its mission.  

CFSI President Jim Estepp and NFFF Board Chair Troy Markel issued a joint statement recognizing the Skidmore College First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory.  “Research is the cornerstone of progress in firefighter health and safety.  Through its many studies and reports, FRHSL has increased the fire service’s knowledge of reducing the number of deaths and injuries in the fire and emergency services. We look forward to recognizing them for their achievements at the National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on April 29.”

CFSI is also proud to announce a new corporate co-sponsor of the Sarbanes Award: The Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI), part of UL Research Institutes. FSRI was co-recipient of the 2018 Sarbanes Award and a world-leading research organization for fire safety and firefighter health and safety.  Together with VFIS, these two organizations make it possible for CFSI and NFFF to honor fire service organizations for their contributions to firefighter health and safety with this prestigious award.

Please click here for additional information about the 34th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner and Symposium.  Approximately 1,500 fire and emergency services leaders nationwide will attend the annual program.

CFSI to Honor Pat Morrison with Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and Motorola Solutions are proud to announce that Mr. Patrick Morrison is the recipient of the 2024 CFSI/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award. The award will be presented on April 29th at the 34th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner.

Pat Morrison - International Association of Fire Fighters | LinkedInMorrison currently serves as Chief of Field Services at the International Association of Fire Fighters. Throughout his career in the fire service, which began in 1982 with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Morrison has committed his time and energies to the health and wellness of firefighters and emergency medical personnel. Among his many accomplishments, he was the primary leader in establishing the Fairfax County Public Safety Occupation Health Center in 1997, which provides an array of health services to firefighters and law enforcement personnel. At IAFF, Morrison played a crucial role in the IAFF/IAFC Fire Service Joint Labor-Management Wellness/Fitness Initiative. In recent years, he has led the IAFF’s effort in developing a broad range of other programs that address behavioral health challenges afflicting all firefighters.

“Pat Morrison was cut out of the same cloth as Mason Lankford and the previous recipients of this award,” said CFSI President Jim Estepp. “His work has profoundly impacted all firefighters, bringing greater awareness to the health and safety risks associated with the job while reducing these risks to make a dangerous job safer for all firefighters. Anyone with the good fortune of working with Pat appreciates what he has meant to our nation’s firefighters and emergency services personnel.”

“On behalf of Motorola Solutions, I congratulate Pat Morrison for receiving the 2024 Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award,” said Mike Leonard, Vice President of Motorola Solutions Sales and Services. “Through our involvement on the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Board of Directors, I have developed a greater appreciation for Pat’s commitment and dedication to our nation’s firefighters. His concern for their health and safety is reflected in the groundbreaking work he has performed throughout his career.”

Information about the 34th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner is available by clicking here.  The symposium will feature a seminar program covering a broad range of national fire and life safety issues and opportunities to interact with federal officials and your peers.

CFSI and Masimo to Honor the Philadelphia Fire Department for Excellence in Emergency Medical Services

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and Masimo will honor the Philadelphia Fire Department with the 2024 Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award for their innovations in emergency medical services. The award presentation will occur at the 34th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on April 29th in Washington, DC.

The Philadelphia Fire Department was selected for its Alternative EMS Response Units (AR) that provide ALS capabilities in non-ambulance vehicles for four types of emergency medical care. Three units are SUVS staffed with paramedics and specialized care providers. One unit serving the University of Pennsylvania delivers emergency medical care and courtesy rides to students with low-acuity complaints. The fire department assigned a second unit to an area of the city with an extremely high rate of substance use disorder incidents, while a third unit responds to behavioral health emergencies. A fourth unit, a utility cart equipped with ALS equipment and a paramedic, provides rapid response to medical calls at Philadelphia International Airport. Since being placed in service, these units have taken tremendous pressure off the EMS system, enabling traditional medic units to respond to other calls. Based on the success of these units, the fire department intends to place more of them in service.

“With fire departments across the nation developing innovative programs to enhance their EMS capabilities, CFSI is proud to co-sponsor the Excellence in Fire Service-Based with Masimo to recognize fire departments for their innovations,” said Jim Estepp, CFSI President. “I extend my congratulations to the Philadelphia Fire Department for developing an innovative EMS program that is enhancing the level of emergency medical care for the citizens of Philadelphia.”

“Masimo is proud to co-sponsor the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award,” said Andy Jones, Senior Vice President of US Alternate Care. “At Masimo, we focus on the spirit of innovation just as fire departments strive to innovate in their delivery of emergency medical care. By offering industry-leading monitoring solutions, we are helping fire departments improve patient care outcomes at the emergency scene, resulting in more lives being saved. Congratulations to the Philadelphia Fire Department for being honored with this award.”

For additional information about the 2024 National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner, please visit the CFSI website. This event benefits the mission of the Congressional Fire Services Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy organization designed to educate members of Congress about fire and life safety issues.

Chief Tiffany Green Joins CFSI Board of Directors

The Congressional Fire Services Institute Board of Directors has named Chief Tiffany Green of the Prince George’s County (MD) Fire/EMS Department its newest board member.  CFSI President Jim Estepp made the announcement on October 12th at a CFSI gathering of national fire service leaders.

“Chief Green is a distinguished leader at the local, state, and national levels,” said Estepp.  “I thank her for accepting the position on our Board of Directors and look forward to the leadership skills and experience she will bring to our organization.  As she assumes her position on the Board, my fellow board members and I extend our thanks and gratitude to outgoing board member Chris Neal for 15 years of service.  He is a leader of remarkable character and integrity.” 

A 27-year veteran of the fire service, Chief Green holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Safety and a Master’s Degree in Emergency and Disaster Management. After joining the fire service as a volunteer, she became a member of Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department in 1999 and rose through the ranks. In 2020, Green was appointed chief, becoming the first woman appointed to this position.  With over 2,000 career and volunteer members, and civilian employees, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department is one of the busiest career/volunteer combination fire departments in the country. Among her many leadership roles, Chief Green serves as Vice Chair of the Fire Chiefs Committee for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.  Composed of fire chiefs from the Washington, DC metro area, the committee addresses issues of regional importance regarding Fire and Rescue policies and practices. Additionally, earlier this year, the Center for Public Safety Excellence appointed Chief Green to the Commission for Professional Credentialing as the Commissioner representing Combination Departments.

Please visit www.cfsi.org to learn more about the Congressional Fire Services Institute and the work we perform on behalf of our nation’s fire and emergency services.

NATIONAL FIRE SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS URGE CONGRESS TO PROTECT AMERICA’S FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES

Without Reauthorization, Vital Fire Service Grant Programs Will Cease to Exist

Washington, D.C. – Today, 39 national fire and emergency services organizations stand united in support of the reauthorization of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG), the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program (SAFER) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA). Without reauthorization, AFG and SAFER will sunset in less than one year, on September 30, 2024. 

The AFG and SAFER grant programs are imperative to addressing the needs of more than one million fire and emergency services personnel. Fire departments respond to more than 36 million calls for service each year. These calls span all hazards from structural fire and wildfire to lithium-ion battery and hazardous materials response, opioid overdoses and other medical emergencies, water rescue, active shooter and hostile events, terrorism, natural disasters, and much more. Even while they protect their communities from an ever-increasing range of hazards, fire departments across the country are struggling to properly train and equip fire and EMS personnel, as well as ensure that departments have proper staffing to meet minimum requirements for response. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) 5th Needs Assessment, “Fire service needs are extensive across the board.” Specifically, the report finds that “unmet needs for PPE [personal protective equipment] can be found in departments serving communities of all sizes, including one-third of the large departments…Among the smallest departments, 75 percent have at least some PPC [personal protective clothing] that is 10 years of age or older.” Ten years is the maximum lifespan recommended for PPE. Furthermore, “[more] than half (53 percent) of all fire departments cannot equip everyone with SCBA,” the breathing apparatus used by firefighters to do their jobs safely. The data shows that AFG and SAFER “must grow in order to address the considerable and multifaceted needs that continue to persist in the fire service.” The AFG and SAFER grant programs provide lifelines to fire and EMS departments across the nation that are caught in this battle of increasing costs and an acceleration of new missions. 

USFA also plays a vital role at the national level as the primary representative of the fire and emergency services in the federal government. USFA ensures that the fire service is prepared to respond to all hazards and is the lead federal agency for fire data collection, public fire education, fire research, and fire service training. Every year, USFA provides training and education to both the fire service and the general public across the country. Through the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), USFA also provides critical data on the state of fire and the fire service in America. USFA is a critical component in ensuring that the fire and emergency services are ready to respond to all hazards and must be reauthorized. 

“When 9-1-1 is called, every community across the country relies on their fire and EMS personnel to respond regardless of the incident type,” said Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Institute. “39 national fire service organizations stand to call on Congress to reauthorize the AFG and SAFER grant programs and the United States Fire Administration.”

“Data from NFPA demonstrates how underprepared our nation’s firefighters are – and how important the federal grant programs are,” said Seth Statler,  Director of Government Affairs for the National Fire Protection Association. “Our most recent Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service found that significant needs exist for departments of all sizes and in every area, including staffing, training and certification, facilities, apparatus, personal protective equipment or PPE; and health and wellness.”

“The AFG and SAFER grant programs are lifelines for fire departments across the country. They provide crucial funding to cover operational costs, allowing us to maintain our readiness and effectiveness in serving our communities…They help us secure equipment, vehicles, and training resources that are essential for our daily operations. They provide funds to hire and retain firefighters, ensuring that we have adequate personnel to respond to emergencies promptly. Without this funding, we would struggle to maintain the level of service our communities rely on. We need to preserve these programs in the future.” said Chief John Butler, President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

“AFG and SAFER grants are essential to the survival of many volunteer departments throughout the country. Without these grants many volunteer departments would cease to exist,” said Chief Kevin Quinn of the National Volunteer Fire Council. “These departments often fundraise with boot drives and pancake breakfasts, but even those efforts combined with local tax dollars can’t provide the needed funding.”

“Fire fighters serve in a uniquely dangerous job. We routinely respond to inherently dangerous calls where lives are at risk. When seconds count, the public deserves to know that trained and prepared fire fighters are standing ready,” said Dave Hoagland, President of the Washington DC Firefighters Association, Local 36 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. “The AFG and SAFER programs will close next year unless Congress acts. IAFF members in DC and across the nation are proud to answer our neighbors’ calls. But if we’re not there to answer the call – there is no alternative to 911. Congress’ inability to reauthorize these programs directly jeopardizes the lives of fire fighters and the public as a whole. It’s time for Congress to pass the Fire Grants and Safety Act.”

“This past May, 144 firefighters who died in the line of duty were honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, MD – 79 firefighters who died in 2022 and 65 who died in previous years. As of September 30th, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is aware of 100 reported firefighter fatalities this year,” said Victor Stagnaro, the CEO of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. “Our nation’s firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities.  The AFG and SAFER grant programs are vital to ensuring our nation’s fire departments have the staffing, equipment, and resources they need to protect our communities and keep our firefighters safe.”

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The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program provides funds to help fire departments purchase much-needed gear and equipment and train personnel. Through the Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grants, the AFG program also helps to fund community risk reduction efforts and vital fire service research.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program provides funds to help departments recruit and retain personnel to ensure that they can meet minimum staffing requirements needed for emergency response. 

The mission of the U.S. Fire Administration is to support and strengthen fire and emergency medical services (EMS) and stakeholders to prepare for, prevent, mitigate and respond to all hazards.

For more information on AFG, SAFER, and USFA reauthorization efforts, see cfsi.org/support-afg-safer-and-usfa-take-action-now/.

Now Available: Grants for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced that it is soliciting grant applications for its new Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Grant Program (COPPGP), which will assist state, local, and tribal entities in reducing injuries and deaths due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Grant applications are being accepted through December 15, 2023. Application materials can be found via grants.gov.

CFSI and several members of CFSI’s National Advisory Committee were instrumental in advocating for the passage of the Nicholas and Zachary Burt Memorial Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2022, which authorized the grant program. The bill, which became law last year, was sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (MN) and John Hoeven (ND) in the Senate and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH) and Buddy Carter (GA) in the House. CFSI and our partner organizations also advocated strongly for appropriations to fund the grant program. Congress approved $2 million to fund the program in FY2023.

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