Summary: H.R.4128 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.4128. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (03/29/2000)

Help Emergency Responders Operate Act - Authorizes appropriations to the Secretary of Agriculture for FY 2001 and 2002 for carrying out provisions authorizing the Secretary to: (1) cooperate with State foresters or equivalent State officials in developing systems and methods for the prevention, control, suppression, and prescribed use of fires on rural lands and in rural communities that will protect human lives, agricultural crops and livestock, property and other improvements, and natural resources; (2) provide financial, technical, and related assistance to such foresters or officials, and through them to other agencies and individuals, for the prevention, control, suppression, and prescribed use of fires on non-Federal forest lands and other non- Federal lands; and (3) provide financial, technical, and related assistance to such foresters or officials in cooperative efforts to organize, train, and equip local firefighting forces, including those of Indian tribes or other native groups, to prevent, control, and suppress fires threatening human lives, crops, livestock, farmsteads or other improvements, pastures, orchards, wildlife, rangeland, woodland, and other resources in rural areas.

Amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to allow the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), using amounts in an account for the purpose of providing loan guarantees (established under this Act), to guarantee loans to volunteer fire and rescue agencies for the entire principal and interest on the loan for specified volunteer fire and rescue services, including to purchase equipment necessary for proper performance of the agency's duties, to repair, rehabilitate, or otherwise improve the agency's existing facilities, and for carrying out public education programs regarding fire prevention, life safety, and arson. Sets forth loan terms and conditions. Authorizes appropriations.

Authorizes appropriations to the Director for FY 2001 and 2002 for making grants directly to local fire and rescue services for equipment, including interoperability radio equipment.

Authorizes the Director to make grants on a competitive basis to: (1) safety organizations that have experience in conducting burn safety programs for assisting those organizations in conducting such programs or augmenting existing burn prevention programs; (2) hospitals that serve as regional burn centers to conduct acute burn research; and (3) governmental and nongovernmental entities to provide after-burn treatment and counseling to individuals that are burn victims. Creates an office in FEMA to establish specific criteria of grant recipients and to administer such grants. Authorizes appropriations.

Requires the Director to establish a program to award grants to volunteer, paid, and combined departments that provide fire and emergency medical services. Permits such grants to be used, among other things, to: (1) acquire personal protective equipment required for firefighting personnel by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and other personal protective equipment for firefighting personnel; (2) acquire additional firefighting equipment, including equipment for communication and monitoring; (3) establish wellness and fitness programs for firefighting personnel to reduce the number of injuries and deaths related to health and conditioning problems; (4) promote professional development of fire code enforcement personnel; (5) integrate computer technology to improve records management and training capabilities; (6) fund fire prevention programs and public education programs about arson prevention and detection, and juvenile fire setter intervention; and (7) modify fire stations, fire training facilities, and other facilities to protect the health and safety of firefighting personnel. Provides for grant recipients to be subject to audits to ensure that the funds are spent for their intended purposes. Authorizes appropriations.

Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to direct the Federal Communications Commission, in addition to the allocations and assignments otherwise made with respect to new public safety services licenses and commercial licenses, within 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, to allocate the electromagnetic spectrum between 139 megahertz and 140.5 megahertz, inclusive, and between 141.5 megahertz and 143 megahertz, inclusive, to interoperability use by public safety services.

Authorizes appropriations to the Secretary of the Interior for FY 2001 for the U.S. Geological Survey for the Hazard Support System for system improvements and for operation and maintenance. Directs such Secretary to transmit to Congress a report on the results of a study, carried out in consultation with the National Interagency Fire Center and State fire services, of the best methods of disseminating data from such System to State and local fire mitigation entities for realtime fire detection.

Amends the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 to include as activities eligible for assistance under the community development block grant program the provision of assistance to local firefighting, emergency medical, or rescue services for: (1) acquisition, repair, or rehabilitation of equipment or vehicles for fire fighting, emergency medical, or rescue services; (2) construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, or improvement of facilities for local fire fighting, emergency medical, or rescue services; or (3) training or planning involved in providing fire fighting, emergency medical, or rescue services. States that such an assisted activity shall be considered to benefit persons of low and moderate income if the service provides such services to all persons in the geographical area served, including any low and moderate income persons.