Fire Academy, Federal Grants Urged in Congress
The establishment of a national fire academy and federal grants for the fire department training and equipment are among the legislative proposals of two congressmen, one from Connecticut and the other from New York.
Bills to accomplish these aims have been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Robert H. Steele (R-Conn.). Rep. Mario Biaggi (D-N.Y.) plans to introduce similar bills.
Steele also introduced bills to provide federal grants to institutions of higher education to pay up to half the costs of fire science programs, to require a uniform system for placarding vehicles carrying hazardous materials, to establish a national fire data and information clearinghouse within the National Bureau of Standards, and to extend for three years the Bureau of Standards fire research programs to June 30, 1975. He would also expand the Flammable Fabrics Act to include construction materials in homes, offices and places of public assembly and authorize the establishment of toxicity standards.
Another bill introduced by Steele would authorize the secretary of commerce to make grants to fire departments to pay up to “90 percent of the cost of purchasing heat-protective fire fighting suits and breathing apparatus.” Biaggi has proposed that the federal government grant subsidies up to 95 percent for the same items.
While Steele has offered a bill to provide federal grants to fire departments to pay for up to half the costs of fire fighting equipment, Biaggi has proposed that the grants be as high as 60 percent. Steele’s bill for training fire fighters would authorize federal grants to states, counties and local communities for up to half the costs, while Biaggi proposes grants of up to 60 percent.
In his fire research bill, Steele calls for appropriations of $15 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1973, and $10 million for each of the next two fiscal years.
The bills for buying fire fighting equipment, fire fighting suits and breathing apparatus would require fire departments to have members who “are participating or have participated in a firemen’s training program conducted or approved” by the national fire academy. Grants for state, county and local community training for fire fighters would be contingent on the curriculum being “provided or approved” by the national fire academy.