Representative Larry Kissell (NC-08) successfully introduced an amendment to the FY2013 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill that would reinstate funding for two successful grant programs that help hire additional local firefighters and provide them with training and equipment. The Kissell/Runyan amendment was introduced by Kissell and Republican Rep. Jon Runyan, of New Jersey.
Kissell's amendment will reinstate funding for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants program and Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG) program, which were slated to be reduced by $5 million in funding this year.
"Day in and day out our firefighters are called upon, and no matter the circumstance they are there for us," said Kissell. "This amendment will help keep our firehouses adequately staffed and give our firefighters the proper equipment they need to respond in the most efficient way possible for the safety of themselves and those they are helping. The brave men and women who risk their lives and wellbeing on the behalf of our communities each and every day deserve our full support."
Kissell's amendment passed unanimously earlier this week, and the final DHS Appropriations bill was approved by the House late Thursday. Local firefighters commended Kissell for his work to make sure that firefighter jobs and safety remain a top priority.
"Congressman Kissell has always been on the side of supporting firefighters any time he can," said Curtis Collins, Vice President of the Cabarrus Professional Firefighters Association. "He's backed everything that would give us the opportunity to make our jobs safer and our communities more secure. We need more people in Congress that share those beliefs, or the safety of firefighters will be in trouble."
Kissell has also served as a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, a bipartisan group that supports firefighters, emergency services responders, and the fire service industry.
"No matter what our political stance is, we should continually back our firefighters and keeping our streets safe and secure," added Kissell. "As a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I'll continue the work to with our firefighters to make sure their needs are met and the obstacles they face are removed."