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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
11/18/2009--Passed House amended. Fire Grants Reauthorization Act of 2009 - (Sec. 2) Amends the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 to reauthorize through FY2014 the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program.
Modifies the scope of the AFG program, including by permitting the use of grant funds for volunteer, non-fire service emergency medical services organizations and for certifying fire and building inspectors employed by a fire department or serving as a volunteer building inspector with a fire department. Prohibits providing program funds to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or allied organizations.
Increases: (1) funding for fire prevention and firefighter safety programs; and (2) maximum AFG grant amounts. Lowers matching and maintenance of expenditure requirements and authorizes the Administrator of FEMA to waive or reduce such requirements for applicants facing demonstrated economic hardship.
Revises grant allocation requirements to require 25% of grant amounts for a fiscal year to be allocated to each of: (1) career fire departments; (2) volunteer fire departments; (3) combination fire departments. Requires remaining amounts to be awarded on a competitive basis among such fire departments.
Revises grant limits based on jurisdiction populations. Sets forth new limits on awards to state fire training academies. Limits grant amounts used to obtain training to training that complies with applicable national voluntary consensus standards.
Amends SAFER program provisions to: (1) limit the period of program grants to three years; (2) require grantees to commit to retaining firefighters hired for the entire grant period, with an economic hardship exception; and (3) limit to 80% the portion of the cost of hiring firefighters for each fiscal year that may be provided under a grant.
(Sec. 3) Directs the Administrator of FEMA to make grants directly to career, volunteer, and combination fire departments for the purpose of increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards and to fulfill traditional missions of fire departments that antedate the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
(Sec. 4) Requires the Administrator of the United States Fire Administration, in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Association, to conduct and report to Congress on a study to: (1) define the current roles and activities associated with the fire services on a national, state, regional, and local level: (2) identify the equipment, staffing, and training required to fulfill such roles and activities; (3) conduct an assessment to identify gaps between what fire departments currently possess and what they require on a national and state-by-state basis; and (4) measure the impact of the AFG program in meeting the needs and filling the gaps identified. Authorizes appropriations.
(Sec. 5) Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to: (1) conduct a survey to ascertain whether each career fire department, volunteer fire department, and combination fire department in the United States is in compliance with the national voluntary consensus standards for staffing, training, safe operations, personal protective equipment, and fitness; and (2) establish a Task Force to Enhance Firefighter Safety.
(Sec. 6) Prohibits using any funds appropriated to carry out this Act for a congressional earmark.