Senate Unanimously Clears Tester’s Bipartisan Bill to Hire More Montana Firefighters

Senator’s Legislation Will Help Serve First Responders and Rural Communities

(U.S. Senate)- Montana’s rural fire departments will be able to hire more firefighters thanks to the U.S. Senate’s unanimous passage of Senator Jon Tester’s latest legislation.

Tester’s bipartisan bill, cosponsored by Republican Senator John McCain, will reauthorize two grant initiatives: the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants, which were set to expire in January 2018. The Senate unanimously approved Tester’s bill on Thursday.

“Firefighters are always there for us when emergency strikes,” Tester said. “It is critical they have the staff, equipment, and training they need to respond quickly and safely. These resources have made a great impact on fire departments across Montana, and I know these grants have helped save the lives and property of many Montanans. Once again, I was proud to partner with Senator McCain and get this bill across the finish line in the Senate.”

AFG grants provide financial support to local fire departments to train, equip, and ensure firefighters have adequate safety gear for emergency responses.

SAFER grants provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighters to help increase and maintain the number of trained community firefighters.

Fire departments in Bozeman, Missoula, Great Falls, Deer Lodge, Billings, Crow, Livingston, Helena, Dixon, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, Butte, Columbus, Florence, Lewistown, DeBorgia, Miles City, Rexford, Emigrant, Culbertson, Whitefish, and others have recently received AFG or SAFER.