Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended (08/04/2003)

United States Fire Administration Authorization Act of 2003 - (Sec. 2) Re-establishes the position of United States Fire Administrator.

(Sec. 3) Amends the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 to require the Administrator to develop and implement a national residential fire sprinkler strategy that meets specified requirements.

(Sec. 4) Allows the use of fire prevention program grant assistance for training of firefighting personnel in maritime firefighting.

(Sec. 5) Transfers the duties of the Director of the United States Fire Administration to the Administrator with respect to the firefighter assistance grants program. Requires the Administrator to: (1) establish specific criteria for the selection of assistance recipients; and (2) provide grant-writing assistance to applicants.

(Sec. 6) Authorizes FY 2004 through 2006 appropriations for the Administrator to carry out this Act other than the firefighter assistance grants program.

(Sec. 7) Requires the Superintendent of the National Academy for Fire Prevention and Control to offer, at the Academy and other sites, courses and training assistance as necessary to accommodate all geographic regions and needs of career and volunteer firefighters.

(Sec. 8) Directs the Administrator to: (1) develop new, and utilize existing, measurement techniques and testing methodologies for evaluating firefighting technologies; (2) evaluate the compatibility of new and existing equipment and technology; and (3) support the development of new standards through national voluntary consensus standards organizations for new firefighting technologies. Requires the Administrator, by regulation, to require that new equipment or systems purchased through the assistance program established by the Act meet or exceed established applicable voluntary consensus standards. Allows the Administrator to waive this requirement. Requires a grant applicant, who proposes to purchase with assistance provided under the grant new equipment or systems that do not meet or exceed applicable voluntary consensus standards, to include in the application an explanation of why such equipment or systems will serve the needs of the applicant better than equipment or systems that do meet or exceed such standards. Allows a grant applicant to include a second grant request in the application to be considered by the Administrator in the event the primary grant request is not approved on the grounds of the equipment not meeting such standards.

Authorizes FY 2004 through 2006 appropriations for the Administrator to develop new firefighting technology.

(Sec. 9) Directs the Administrator to: (1) provide technical assistance and training to State and local fire service officials to establish nationwide and State mutual aid systems for dealing with national emergencies; and (2) develop and make model mutual aid plans for both intrastate and interstate assistance available to State and local fire service officials.

Requires the Administrator to report to specified congressional committees on the need for a strategy concerning deployment of volunteers and emergency response personnel, including a national credentialing system, in the event of a national emergency.

Requires the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to: (1) revise the FEMA Federal Response Plan to incorporate plans for responding to terrorist attacks, particularly in urban areas, including fire detection and suppression and related emergency services; and (2) report to specified congressional committees on the action taken to comply with such revisions.

(Sec. 10) Authorizes the Superintendent of the National Academy for Fire Prevention and Control to train fire service personnel in: (1) strategies for building collapse rescue; (2) the use of technology in response to fires; (3) response, tactics, and strategies for dealing with terrorist-caused national catastrophes; (4) use of and familiarity with the FEMA's Federal Response Plan; (5) leadership and strategic skills, including integrated management systems operations and integrated response; (6) applying new technology and developing strategies and tactics for fighting forest fires; (7) integrating terrorism response agencies into the national terrorism incident response system; and (8) response tactics and strategies for fighting fires at U.S. ports, including fires on the water and aboard vessels.

Authorizes the Superintendent to consult with other Federal, State, and local agency officials in developing curricula for classes offered by the Academy.

Requires the Administrator, where appropriate, to coordinate training provided under the Act with the heads of other Federal agencies to: (1) ensure that such training does not duplicate existing courses available to fire service personnel; and (2) establish a mechanism for eliminating duplicative programs.