Image
Gene Stilp, president, Dauphin-Middle Paxton Fire Company #1, Dauphin, Pa., said that budget cuts for first-responder grants are counter to the public's concern about the matter. Photo: First Response Coalition

Funding for police, fire, and emergency medical technicians (EMT) needs will be shortchanged by about $ 100 billion through 2008, according to a report from a nonprofit group.

The First Response Coalition—which has 40,000 police, fire, EMT, and other supporters nationwide—released “America's First Responders and the Federal Budget: A Study of Rhetoric Versus Reality.” The report concludes that first responders will be underfunded by $100.2 billion by 2008. The estimate is based on budget figures for the Department of Homeland Security and does not take into account any cuts to first-responder funds that reside in other federal departments.

A number of first responders directly commented on the situation in the report. Gene Stilp, president, Dauphin-Middle Paxton Fire Company #1, Dauphin, Pa., said, “In the less than four years that have passed since Sept. 11, the federal budgets for first-responder grant programs have been reduced. These results do not match the urgency contained in many of the continued public remarks on the topic.”

For more information, visit www.firstresponsecoalition.org.