Skip to content

PHOTOS: Peters Joins Firefighters & Local Officials in East Lansing, Highlights His Bipartisan Legislation to Extend Federal Support for Local Fire Departments

EAST LANSING, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, toured East Lansing Fire Station 1 today to discuss the need to pass his bipartisan legislation to extend federal grant programs that are set to expire. During the visit, Peters highlighted how the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) provide critical federal resources to Michigan fire departments like East Lansing’s.

At the fire station, Peters saw firsthand how these programs are used by local fire departments to address staffing needs, purchase equipment, acquire vehicles, develop fire training and education programs, and improve emergency medical services. Peters also participated in safety demonstrations using equipment and gear that was purchased with funding from the federal grant programs. He highlighted the importance of passing his legislation to ensure these programs do not expire and leave local fire departments without the resources they need to protect Michigan communities and first responders. During the visit, Peters was also joined by East Lansing Mayor Ron Bacon and East Lansing Fire Chief Dawn Carson.

“Firefighters put their health, their safety, and their lives on the line each and every day to protect our communities,” said Senator Peters. “We have an obligation to ensure every one of them has the support they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. That’s why I’m committed to passing my bipartisan legislation to extend these grant programs that provide federal resources to local fire departments, whether it’s to acquire critical safety equipment or hire and retain personnel.”

“Senator Peters’ continued support of first responders and fire stations in East Lansing and across the state demonstrates his commitment to protecting the health and safety of both our heroic first responders and the communities they serve,” said East Lansing Mayor Ron Bacon. “Congress must pass the Fire Grants and Safety Act to ensure vital resources reach fire stations like East Lansing Fire Station 1, and I am grateful to Senator Peters for leading these efforts.” 

“Senator Peters has worked tirelessly to ensure local fire departments and first responders continue to have access to resources to effectively serve. I urge Congress to pass his Fire Grants and Safety Act before these critical grant programs expire,” said East Lansing Fire Chief Dawn Carson. “Without this continued support, our station could face significant challenges that could compromise the health and safety of firefighters, residents, and local businesses.”

During the visit, Peters toured the fire station and met with firefighters and first responders serving the East Lansing community, including some who responded to the tragic mass shooting at Michigan State University on February 13th. He saw firsthand how funding from the SAFER and AFG programs has allowed firefighters in East Lansing to do their jobs more effectively. Since 2004, the East Lansing Fire Department has received nearly $1.3 million from these federal grant programs, including $220,796 from the AFG program in 2018 to purchase critical breathing apparatuses that allow firefighters to access safe breathing air during a fire emergency. In 2020, they received $462,500 from the SAFER program to hire three additional firefighters who continue to serve at the East Lansing Fire Department today.

In 2021, Michigan fire departments received from more than $10.8 million from the AFG program, and more than $8 million from the SAFER grant program. The visit highlighted the need to pass Peters’ Fire Grants and Safety Act to reauthorize these critical grant programs that local fire departments use to address staffing needs, purchase equipment, and develop fire training and education programs, and improve emergency medical services.

Peters also discussed a bipartisan law he wrote to help protect the health and safety of firefighters and emergency responders from PFAS exposure. The Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances (PFAS) Act directs federal agencies to develop best practices, training, and educational programs to reduce, limit and prevent exposure to PFAS, also known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they do not naturally break down. 

To download high-resolution photos from the visit, click here or on the images below. Images are courtesy of Senator Peters' office.