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Last night, the Senate Republicans released the HEALS legislation, a series of bills to address the response to COVID-19 and its economic effects.

The legislation includes the following provisions to assist local fire and EMS departments:

  • $365 million each for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs.
  • $25 billion for Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to reimburse health care providers and suppliers for their COVID-19 expenses and lost revenue.
  • $1 million for a Public Safety Officer Suicide Reporting System.

The legislation does not include provisions that are in the House-passed Heroes Act (H.R. 6800), including the waiver of requirements to the AFG and SAFER grant program like local match requirements and the ability to re-hire and retain firefighters. Nor are tax benefits for volunteer firefighters and the repeal of the requirement to auction public safety spectrum in the T-Band included.

The HEALS legislation is the first step in the negotiations to pass further COVID-19 assistance, and the IAFC will continue to push for our objectives. You can contact your Senator and ask them to pass the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) at

Ken LaSala is the director of Government Relations at the IAFC

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