Flint, MI– Congressman Dan Kildee announced legislation to help the Flint Fire Department, and other fire departments within his district, hire new staff, purchase equipment and improve their services.

The congressman announced the Fire Grant and Safety Act at a press conference outside the Joe Davis Jr. Fire Station in Flint, Mich. on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022.

“These firefighters are here to protect us,” Kildee said. “We have to make sure they have the equipment and the gear that they need to keep them safe while they’re keeping us safe, to give them the tools they need to do their job [and] to carry out their profession in the most efficient possible way.”

Kildee said the Fire Grant and Safety Act would renew two federal grant programs that are “critical” to the Flint Fire Department and other local departments within his district: the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants.

Both are set to expire at the end of 2022, but if passed, Kildee said, the Fire Grant and Safety Act would extend the AFG program and SAFER grants until 2030.

Although he is running for re-election on Nov. 8 as a Democrat, Kildee said that he is working “across the aisle” with Republicans in the senate to get the Fire Grant and Safety Act passed by the end of 2022.

Kildee said that he has been working with senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) in particular.

He introduced the act in the U.S. House of Representatives along with Representatives Jared Golden (ME-02), Carlos Giménez (FL-26) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-8).

If the legislation is passed before January 2023, Kildee said that the Flint Fire Department would start receiving additional grant money by the beginning of the new year. If not, he said, the fire department may not receive any funding from the AFG and SAFER programs in 2023.

Both the AFG and SAFER programs provide federal funding to fire departments through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Fire Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

According to FEMA’s website, the agency awarded Flint’s fire department $275,910 in AFG funding in 2017 and a $3,767,280 SAFER grant in 2016.

Zachary Marano is Flint Beat’s local government reporter. Zack is originally from Milford township and returns to southeast Michigan after reporting for a daily newspaper in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula....