House Subcommittee Passes Payne, Jr. Legislation to Equip First Responders

Jun 16, 2016

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications passed legislation introduced by Ranking Member Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) to equip first responders with the tools needed to do their jobs better and safer.

“The Orlando tragedy is a critical reminder that equipping our first responders with the tools necessary to do their jobs is an American priority,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “As the threats that first responders have to tackle continue to evolve, it is critical that they have the equipment necessary to respond. This bipartisan solution enables first responders to acquire the advanced equipment they need to keep pace with the demands of their job.”

Many first responders cannot acquire advanced equipment and technologies because they are unable to use Homeland Security Grant Program funds to purchase them. Although FEMA does review grantee requests to purchase equipment that does not meet consensus standards, stakeholders have complained that the process lacks uniformity, predictability, and transparency.  Moreover, there is no process to review requests to purchase equipment for which no consensus standards exist.

The First Responder Access to Innovative Technologies Act (H.R. 5460) requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish a clear, transparent process to review requests to purchase innovative technologies with grant funds.