CFSI to Host Silent Auction at Firehouse Expo

With the support of many vendors, CFSI will host a Silent Auction at Firehouse Expo that will feature an array of exciting gifts. The auction will begin on the morning of Thursday, October 19th and conclude at 12:30 pm on Saturday, October 21st. Unlike traditional silent auctions, this event will display the items at the vendors’ booths. This way, trade show attendees can learn about the innovative equipment, services and technologies that our supporters are providing to our nation’s firefighters and emergency services personnel.

A Special Tribute to Louis J. Amabili From Our US Fire Administrators

We offer our thoughts and prayers to the Amabili family on the death of such an extraordinary man in Louis J. Amabili. When you perform a duty for over 70 years, it’s out of passion and dedication to a meaningful cause. For Lou, the cause was the health and safety of our firefighters. While Lou will be missed, his contributions and legacy will remain forever embedded in the pages of our most impactful document – AMERICA BURNING – and in the counsel he offered to so many of us throughout the years.

CFSI Mourns the Loss of Louis J. Amabili, CFSI Board Member and Legendary Fire Service Leader

Louis J. Amabili, a member of the CFSI Board of Directors since 1994, passed away earlier today following an illness. A member of the Delaware fire service since 1947, Lou gained national recognition in the fire service when President Richard Nixon appointed him to serve on the National Commission for Fire Prevention and Control in 1970, which produced the landmark report, AMERICA BURNING.

House Approves Firefighter Cancer Registry Act

(September 13, 2017) – On Tuesday, September 12th, the House approved by voice vote H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act. The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), creates a specialized national registry to provide researchers and epidemiologists with the tools and resources they need to improve research collection activities related to the monitoring of cancer incidence among firefighters.

Studies have indicated a strong link between firefighting and an increased risk of several major cancers, including colon, lung, melanoma, mesothelioma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate, rectal, testicular, stomach, multiple myeloma and brain cancer. The heightened risk of cancer among firefighters has been attributed to their frequent exposure to a range of harmful toxins.

Unfortunately, studies examining cancer risks among firefighters have been limited by the availability of important data and relatively small sample sizes that have an underrepresentation of women, minorities, and volunteer firefighters. As a result, public health researchers have been unable to fully examine and understand the broader epidemiological cancer trends among firefighters. A specialized national cancer registry would expand access to vital epidemiological data and improve research outcomes.

The bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

2018 National Fire & Emergency Services Symposium & Dinner Call For Seminar Proposals

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) is announcing an official Call for Proposals for the 2018 National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium.  The Symposium will be held in Washington, DC on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in conjunction with  the 30th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner.

Seminar proposals must meet the following criteria to be considered:

  • Seminars should focus on federal policy or issues that are national in scope, and have a positive impact on the nation’s fire and emergency services.  Seminars intended solely to promote for-profit programs and activities that specifically benefit an organization will not be considered.
  • Seminars are limited to 50 minutes in length.
  • Where applicable, proposed panelists and moderators should represent a diversity of national organizations and fire service disciplines.
  • Proposals must be submitted to CFSI no later than October 6, 2017.  Proposals can be submitted here.  

Proposals must include the following information:

  • Seminar title;
  • Seminar description and objectives (minimum 200 word narrative);
  • Names of panelists and moderators with biographical information (minimum 200 words per biography);
  • Statement explaining how the proposed seminar aligns with CFSI’s mission to advance the readiness and response capabilities of all first responders;
  • Statement explaining how the applicant will help CFSI promote the seminar and the 2018 National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner;  
  • A primary point of contact for the submission, including name, phone number, and email address.

All proposals will be reviewed by CFSI’s staff and the Programmatic Subcommittee of CFSI’s National Advisory Committee.  Incomplete proposals will not be considered.  Applicants must agree to work with CFSI to finalize participants, produce relevant materials, and promote the seminars series.  CFSI reserves the right to make changes to panelists and seminar content.

Questions regarding the Call for Proposals should be directed to Sean Carroll, CFSI’s Director of Government Affairs, at [email protected] or (202) 371-1277.  

Senate Passes Firefighter Grants Reauthorization

(August 3, 2017) – On August 2nd, the Senate approved S. 829, the AFG and SAFER Reauthorization Act, by unanimous consent.  The legislation, which was unanimously approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on May 17th, reauthorizes the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG), the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), and Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grant programs through Fiscal Year 2023.  Additionally, the legislation removes a “sunset” provision in the current authorizing statute that would eliminate the programs on January 2, 2018.

S. 829 was introduced by Senator John McCain (AZ) and Senator Jon Tester (MT), both co-chairs of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.  Senator Susan Collins (ME), chair of the Fire Caucus, and Senator Tom Carper, a fellow Fire Caucus co-chair, are original co-sponsors of the legislation.

“We are very grateful to the Senate for taking action to reauthorize these critical, life saving programs that have had such an immense impact in communities across the entire nation,” said Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Institute.  “The passage of S. 829 is the result of a cooperative and unified effort by the national fire service organizations, as well as persistent grassroots engagement by fire service leaders throughout the country.  We strongly urge the House to approve the Senate bill as soon as they return from the August Congressional recess.”  

On July 12th, the House Science, Technology and Space Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology conducted a hearing on reauthorizing the AFG, SAFER and FP&S grant programs.  Unfortunately, the House adjourned for a five-week district work period before the subcommittee could take action on any legislation.  The House is scheduled to return on September 5th.  

CFSI Releases Fire Service White Paper: Document To Be Shared With Lawmakers To Increase Their Understanding of the Fire and Emergency Services

(July 24, 2017) – The Congressional Fire Services Institute has recently released a white paper that will be distributed to members of Congress and federal agency officials.  The title of the paper is “Understanding the Roles, Challenges, and Needs of Our Nation’s Fire and Emergency Services”.  Thirty-five member organizations of the CFSI National Advisory Committee (NAC) co-signed the paper developed by the CFSI staff and task group comprised of NAC members.

“This document contains important information that we want to share with members of Congress,” said CFSI Executive Director Bill Webb.  “It is intended to educate them about the challenges facing the fire service in protecting our communities and convey the importance of continued federal support for our local fire and emergency services departments.”

The White Paper is available on CFSI’s website.  Fire officials are encouraged to share it with their elected officials when discussing both local and national issues impacting the fire service.  By design, the document is brief, focusing on general information about the fire and emergency services.

Established in 1989, CFSI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute.  Its primary mission is to share information with members of Congress about the challenges and needs of our nation’s fire and emergency services to help them understand how certain programs and legislation can benefit our first responders.  The National Advisory Committee is comprised of a broad range of national fire and emergency services organizations.  Convening semi-annually, committee members discuss and develop consensus positions on federal issues that CFSI shares with members of Congress.

A privately-funded organization, CFSI is the host of the annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner Program that takes place each year in Washington, DC.  Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the event.  Approximately 1,500 fire service leaders from across the country will assemble for the two-day event on April 18 – 19, 2018.  Additional details about the program will be available later in the year.

House Appropriations Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2018 Homeland Security Spending Bill

(July 21, 2017) – On Tuesday, July 18th, the House Appropriations Committee approved legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security for Fiscal Year 2018.  The $44.3 billion spending bill represents a nearly $2 billion increase in spending for the Department compared to the current fiscal year.  

The bill would fund the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs at $690 million, the same amount as the current fiscal year.  The United States Fire Administration (USFA) would receive a slight cut from $44 million for Fiscal Year 2017 to $43.41 million for Fiscal Year 2018.  The Urban Search and Rescue System (USAR) and the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) would both be funded at essentially the same levels as the current fiscal year.  The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) would receive $630 million, an increase of $25 million over the current fiscal year.  

Earlier this year, the White House released a Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal that recommend significant cuts to the USAR, SHSGP and UASI programs.  

House Subcommittee Conducts Hearing on USFA, Firefighter Grant Programs

(July 14, 2017) – On Wednesday, July 12th, the House Science, Technology and Space Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology conducted a hearing to the review the United States Fire Administration (USFA), the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program.  The hearing, entitled “U.S. Fire Administration and Fire Grant Programs Reauthorization: Examining Effectiveness and Priorities,” featured witnesses from USFA and a number of national fire service organizations.  CFSI submitted comments for the record, which can be viewed here.

USFA is the lead federal agency for our nation’s fire and emergency services. Its core mission is divided into four program areas: data collection, public education, technology development, and training.  Congress created the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs to address the baseline needs of our nation’s fire and emergency services. These two highly successful programs help ensure that our nation’s more than 30,000 fire departments have the necessary training, equipment, and staffing to respond to over 30 million emergency calls annually, and work to reduce community risk.  Legislation reauthorizing these critical programs is expected to be introduced in the House in the coming weeks.  

On May 17th, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs unanimously approved S. 829, the AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act of 2017.  The legislation reauthorizes the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG), the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), and Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grant programs through Fiscal Year 2023.  Additionally, the legislation removes a “sunset” provision in the current authorizing statute that would eliminate the programs on January 2, 2018.