Meijer’s bipartisan bill empowers U.S. Fire Administration

Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) aims to strengthen the duties of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency that supports and strengthens fire and emergency medical services, and helps stakeholders prepare for, prevent, mitigate, and respond to all hazards.

Specifically, the USFA would be required to conduct on-site investigations of major fires under the Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act, H.R. 7077, which Rep. Meijer cosponsored on March 15 with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and fellow original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).

“Unfortunately, deadly fires are not uncommon, and too often they devastate families and communities,” said Rep. Meijer on March 17. “This bill will help establish better coordination at the federal level to investigate these fires and ultimately prevent them from occurring.” 

If enacted, H.R. 7077 would authorize the USFA to send safety specialists, fire protection engineers, codes and standards experts, researchers, and fire training specialists to collaborate and assist local firefighter investigators in their investigations, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Meijer’s staff.

“If we can resolve the underlying issues that make these tragedies more likely, we can save lives,” Rep. Meijer said. “I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan legislative effort.”

Additionally, H.R. 7077 would require the USFA to issue a report in coordination with federal, state and local authorities on their findings and to make recommendations on implementing preventions that could keep similar fires from occurring.

The bill has received support from the City of Grand Rapids, Mich.; the Grand Rapids Fire Department; the New York City Fire Department; the International Association of Fire Chiefs; and the International Association of Fire Fighters.