Fire service leaders appeal for funding
The explosion that killed six Kansas City firefighters in late November prompted fire service leaders to appeal for more funding and greater coordination of the federal fire effort.
Representatives of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the International Association of Fire Fighters held a press conference after the disaster. The Kansas City incident, they said, is an example of the risks undertaken daily by firefighters.
Jim Estepp, first vice-president of the IAFC, said that the White House should take the lead in establishing “a renewed national focus” on problems facing America’s fire service. Although federal legislation and regulations regarding hazardous materials were designed to safeguard communities, for example, some local agencies have had difficulty receiving consistent assistance from the EPA and FEMA.
Congressman Curt Weldon, founder of the caucus, said that the fire service has been receiving a mixed message from government officials.
“They provide modest to little to no resources, yet expect full protection for their communities against fire,” said the congressman. “What I’m saying is, you can’t have it both ways. Government at every level must address the problems associated with an increasingly more hazardous environment.”
During the press conference, Congressman Weldon announced that the United States Fire Administration will investigate the circumstances surrounding the Kansas City incident.