Washington, D.C. – The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg is calling on Congress and the Administration to fully fund the United States Fire Administration (USFA) in the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2005.
“There is no reason, given the times we live in, that the U.S. Fire Administration should be funded at anything less than its fully authorized level,” said Stittleburg. “The long-term health of USFA and the National Fire Academy are critical to the fire service.”
On December 6, 2003, President Bush signed the United States Fire Administration Reauthorization Act (Public Law 108-169), which authorized funding for USFA activities, such as training, fire research and public education through FY 2008. It set FY 2006 funding levels for USFA at $64.85 million.
“While we have seen enormous increases in overall homeland security spending in recent years, USFA has struggled to carry out their core mission,” continued Stittleburg. “The NVFC calls on the Administration and Congress to fund USFA and its programs at the full amount authorized in the reauthorization bill signed by the President.”
The lack of full funding of the agency will impede the activities of the Fire Data Center, various prevention and fire service outreach initiatives, National Fire Academy course development and revision and more. The U.S. Fire Administration, located in the Department of Homeland Security, works closely with the fire service community to provide public education, training, technology and data initiatives. Its mission is to reduce life and economic losses due to fire and related emergencies, through leadership, advocacy, coordination, and support.
USFA’s budget this current fiscal year (FY 2005) is $51.3 million.
The NVFC encourages fire service members to contact their Senators and Representative and ask them to support full funding for the U.S. Fire Administration in FY 2006. Visit http://www.congress.org and type in your zip code or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 for information on their contact information. Telephone and fax are the preferred ways to communicate with your elected officials in Washington.