WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan joined a virtual meeting with New Hampshire fire chiefs to hear directly from them on the public safety challenges facing New Hampshire fire fighters and the communities that they serve. During the virtual discussion, the fire chiefs shared with Senator Hassan their concern regarding the rise in the COVID-19 Delta Variant and the increased presence of methamphetamine in certain regions of New Hampshire.
Senator Hassan also shared what she is working on to support fire fighters, including recent Senate passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the federal funding she helped to secure for fire fighters as part of COVID-19 relief, and bipartisan legislation she has helped lead to protect fire fighters from PFAS chemicals.
“The work you all have done in New Hampshire, keeping me informed, helping us understand the way the PFAS issue impacts everything from the health of your firefighters and your personnel, is really important as we move forward,” said Senator Hassan.
“Senator Hassan is an ardent supporter of the fire service, and I’m happy to say that Senator Hassan and her office staff assisted me in the planning of a SAFER grant for my department, for which I am very grateful for,” said Chief Sitar, Tilton-Northfield Fire Chief.
Senator Hassan is working to support fire fighters and emergency responders. Last week, the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded Granite State fire fighters $375,000 in federal funding. This summer, the Senate passed the Protecting Fire Fighters from Adverse Substances (PFAS) Act, bipartisan legislation that Senator Hassan helped introduce to protect fire fighters from dangerous PFAS chemicals. The legislation would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fire Administration, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health – to develop guidance for fire fighters and emergency personnel on best practices and training to reduce, limit and prevent exposure to PFAS. The bill would also require DHS to educate personnel on alternative foams and personal protective equipment that do not contain PFAS.
Earlier this year, Senator Hassan led efforts to include $300 million in the American Rescue Plan for FEMA grant programs that provide resources to fire fighters across the country to help with hiring, retention, and critical supplies. In addition, Senator Hassan introduced legislation to guarantee collective bargaining rights for fire fighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel.