President Browning Testifies Before Congress: Fire Prevention and Safety Grants are Critical Component of AFG and SAFER Grant Programs

July 12, 2017

 Washington, DC – Chief Butch Browning, NASFM President and Louisiana State Fire  Marshal,  offered testimony today on the importance of re-authorization of the Assistance to  Firefighters  Grant (AFG) and SAFER Programs, including the Fire Prevention and Safety  grants, stressing the  importance of fire prevention in addition to emergency response.

 Browning, testified before the House Research and Technology subcommittee of the  Committee on  Science, Space and Technology Committee.  In his testimony before  Chairwoman Barbara  Comstock (R-VA), he offered support for the re-authorization of the US  Fire Administration as well as the AFG and SAFER Programs, focusing on the importance of  saving both civilian and first responder lives through comprehensive fire prevention activities.

“We are extremely concerned that the Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grants do not receive the funding or attention that is needed to save lives and reduce injuries,” Browning said in his written statement.  “At a time when federal, state and local resources and funding are limited, the most cost-effective way within the AFG grant program to protect the greatest number of individuals and property is to allocate additional funding for Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) programs.”

Browning pointed out several examples of successful fire prevention programs at the state level, including the Operation Save a Life Program in his home state of Louisiana.  That program, and the nearly 35,000 smoke alarms that were installed, saved 12 lives in the first year alone.  “People are alive today, firefighters and citizens, in part to this entire grant program” he went on to say.

Throughout his testimony, Browning noted the importance of balancing suppression and prevention activities in combatting the nation’s fire problem, offering strong support for the SAFER and AFG Programs.  “We know that fire prevention, safety and data, we know that fire suppression forces, and we know that fire investigation and analysis is the way for us to protect from the American fire problem.”

“Active fire extinguishment is an important and irreplaceable necessity for every community in our nation,” Browning pointed out in his written testimony, “but every fire and the devastating effects to lives, property, the economy and the environment that ensue, signal we in the fire service have failed.  At the very core of governmental responsibility is to protect our citizens, yet every fire that is not prevented exposes both citizens and first responders to undue harm.”

Citing his own personal experiences with the US Fire Administration, he identified them as the “West Point” for the fire service, encouraging full re-authorization and financial support of their services.

“The USFA programs and services contribute to significant reductions in fatalities, injuries and property loss in America,” Browning’s written testimony noted. “As such, State Fire Marshals look at the USFA as a critical partner in fire prevention in their states.  We believe it is in the best interest of the nation to encourage and expand this partnership, and adequate funding is a key component in accomplishing this.”

Browning went on to request support for changes to the funding allocations within the AFG Program.  “I come before you today representing the National Association of State Fire Marshals asking that we change the percentage that goes to Fire Prevention and Safety,” said Browning “We believe that we need to move some funds from the open competition, we need to move 8% into Fire Prevention and Safety. Not only to get more into Fire Prevention and Safety, but to provide statewide support to what we do.”

View Chief Browning’s full testimony.

Read Chief Browning’s full written testimony.

About NASFM, “50 States – One Strong Voice for Fire Prevention”

The principal membership of NASFM comprises the senior fire officials in the United States and their top deputies. The primary mission of the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) is to protect human life, property and the environment from fire and related hazards. A secondary mission of NASFM is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of State Fire Marshals’ operations. In addition to its principal membership, NASFM has several categories of membership to allow companies, associations, academic and research institutions, and individuals who support NASFM’s mission to contribute in meaningful ways.

Lightning Protection Institute Joins NASFM to Reduce Fire Risk Present in Millions of U.S. Homes

Lightning Safety Video


The combination of a single lightning strike and the presence of a common gas piping, known as corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST), can pose a serious fire hazard. Fire safety officials believe millions of U.S. homes could be at risk.

"Hazardous outcomes with CSST have already prompted a class action settlement, law suits, a NFPA review and a public awareness campaign," said Bud VanSickle, LPI executive director. "As a nationwide group dedicated to lightning safety and lightning protection, LPI supports NASFM's efforts with the codes and standards community to raise the lightning test within the CSST product standard." 

"Raising the ANSI LC1 product standard to require greater immunity of CSST from the lightning threat is imperative for greater safety going forward in new construction," said Jim Narva, executive director of the NASFM. "We believe LPI's leadership position in the lightning protection industry can increase awareness and encourage support for improvements to the performance standard for the product." 

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