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Congress Passes Bill to Fund the SIREN ACT

Dec 20, 2019

Dear Members,
We are very pleased to report that the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed the package of 2020 federal appropriation bills that includes $5 million to fund the SIREN ACT to support public and non-profit rural EMS agencies through grants to train and recruit staff, fund continuing education, and purchase equipment and supplies from naloxone and first aid kits to power stretchers or new ambulances. 
NAEMT applauds Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA), and Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-MT) for their leadership and commitment in passing and funding the SIREN ACT. 
Also included in the appropriations bills is an additional one year re-authorization of VRIPA (the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act). The one-year extension will help bolster volunteer EMS and fire recruitment and retention by allowing volunteers to receive nominal incentives like property tax deductions and up to $600 per year of other types of benefits like stipends or uniforms without having to pay federal tax on them.
We deeply appreciate the tremendous efforts of our Advocacy Committee, network of state Advocacy Coordinators, and the thousands of members who sent emails and letters, and visited their congressional leaders to advocate for passage of SIREN and VRIPA. We are also grateful to have worked with our colleagues at the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) on both of these bills.
The final appropriations bills will now be sent to the President for signing into law.
On behalf of everyone at NAEMT, please accept our best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season.
Matt Zavadsky, MS-HSA, NREMT
President, NAEMT