U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help construct and upgrade fire stations across the country. The FIRE STATION Act will create a $750 million grant program within the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to modify, upgrade, and construct fire and EMS department facilities to support first responders and their work to keep communities safe.
According to a recent national report on local fire departments across the U.S., 44 percent of fire stations are over 40 years old and in need of significant repairs. Additionally, 56 percent of stations lack exhaust emission control and are not properly equipped with cancer-preventing systems. The survey also finds that many fire and EMS stations across the country have no backup power, have outdated ventilation systems and mold, or even lack crew quarters for female personnel. A survey of Maryland fire departments conducted last year by Senator Van Hollen’s office found similar concerning conclusions along the national trend, revealing that 71 departments across the state need some sort of repair – ranging from renovations, additions, or require entirely new facilities.
“Our fire fighters deserve the best possible facilities so they can be ready with everything they need to spring into action when duty calls. Yet nearly half of the fire stations across America require major repairs – with some even posing serious health hazards to the men and women who protect our communities. This bipartisan bill will unlock more funding to ensure our fire and EMS heroes have modern, safe, and mission-ready facilities,” said Senator Van Hollen.
Under the FIRE STATION Act, funding can be used for:
- Building, rebuilding, or renovating fire and EMS department facilities;
- Upgrading existing facilities to install exhaust emission control systems;
- Installing backup power systems;
- Upgrading or replacing environmental control systems, such as HVAC systems;
- Removing or remediating mold;
- Constructing or modifying living quarters for use by personnel; and
- Upgrading fire and EMS stations or building new stations to meet modern building codes and standards as set by the National Fire Protection Association and International Code Council.
Senators Van Hollen and Murkowski were joined in introducing this legislation by U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.). his legislation is endorsed by the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI), and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Senator Van Hollen and Congressman Pascrell had previously introduced a version of this legislation, titled the Fire Station Construction Grants Act, in 2022.
Bill text is available here.