Fire Fighters Trying to Put out Flames over Homeland Security Funding

March 17, 2003
Fire fighters are telling the Bush administration and the legislative branch of the government "enough already" when it comes to bickering over who is to blame for failing to provide adequate funding for first responders.

Calling the feuding "counterproductive to our efforts to protect the American people from terrorism," International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold A. Schaitberger sent letters to President Bush, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, House Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Schaitberger was reacting to recent comments by President Bush blaming Congress for underfunding first responder programs and a March 6 letter by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Young to White House Chief of Staff Card refuting Bush's claim.

"It is time to end the blame game, the political posturing, and the petty bickering that have crippled the efforts of the nation's fire fighters and other first responders to prepare to handle the next terrorist attack on American soil," Schaitberger wrote. "The Iraq war will be fought on two fronts: one in the Middle East by our armed forces; and the other here at home by firefighters and other first responders."

He claimed that while the federal government has taken the necessary steps to properly train, equip and staff military forces for action in Iraq, it has failed to provide the same level of support to first responders.

"At this point, we don't care who is to blame for underfunding Homeland Security money for first responders and we don't think the American people do either," Schaitberger said in his letters. "All we want is to secure the necessary funding before it is too late. The International Association of Fire Fighters is ready to provide you with any assistance you may need to determine the greatest needs of first responders. I am confident that organizations representing other first responders and the nation's mayors, cities and governors are also prepared to roll up their sleeves and help."

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!