The newly passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is aimed at supporting the ongoing health and economic recovery efforts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, with funding specifically for first responders and state and local governments. Here’s what you need to know about the funding allocations included in the bill and how they may impact fire departments.
Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
This FEMA funding is aimed directly at the fire service and includes:
- $100 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Program
- $200 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER)
- $100 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants
The bill states that the funding for each of these programs remains available until September 30, 2025 and does not have to be used specifically for COVID-19 related expenses. More details about this funding will be released soon.
Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds
The bill also includes additional funding for state and local governments. This funding includes:
- $350 billion for responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency, to offset revenue losses, fuel economic recovery, and to provide premium pay for essential workers
- $10 billion in a new Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund for critical capital projects directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options
This means that these funds may be used to address loss of revenues in city budgets, which may positively impact budget allocations provided to first responders. This funding remains available through December 31, 2024. Local governments will receive funds in two phases – the first half 60 days after enactment, and the second half one year later.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSA has been and continues to be prepared to provide PPE, training, and resources to help keep first responders safe.
MSA lines of products appropriate for this funding include:
- Air-Purifying Respirators: Elastomeric full and half-mask respirators have many benefits, including lower total cost of ownership, reduction in storage space, and flexibility in protection.
- The new Advantage 900 half-mask respirator features the addition of a speaking diaphragm to help improve communication between wearer and others. It does not have an exhalation valve, so it provides protection for the wearer while also filtering the wearer’s exhaled breath – reducing the likelihood of contaminating the surround area or spreading viral particles to others.
- The G1 facepiece is ideal for a variety of respiratory needs – including emergency and pandemic response. With both twin and single cartridge adapter options, it transforms from SCBA use to an air-purifying respirator which is compatible with a variety of respiratory cartridges, including N95 and P100 filtration.
- Gas Detection: Includes area monitoring, multigas detectors, and web-based software to help protect against flammable and toxic gases.
Read more about the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 here.