I AM today signing into law S. 1769, the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974.
While fire prevention and control is and will remain a State and local responsibility, I believe the Federal Government can make useful contributions. I endorse the intention of this act to supplement rather than supplant existing State and local government activities.
The program established by this act, which will be implemented by an agency within the Department of Commerce, will contribute to our knowledge of fire and our ability to prevent it.
Federal assistance for research and development on fire problems will be consolidated and expanded to provide the scientific and technological base for the development of materials, equipment, and systems to reduce the number and severity of fires.
The Fire Academy system will supplement existing education and training for fire prevention personnel across the Nation.
The research and development program will be closely tied to the education and training program, thereby insuring that research and development results are disseminated quickly to communities.
The data base of the National Fire Data Center will assist States and communities in setting priorities and in identifying possible solutions to problems. It will monitor the progress of the Nation in reducing fire losses.
The bill contains a provision that requires the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to establish 25 burn treatment centers, 90 burn programs, and 25 centers for expanded research on burns. Since these centers would duplicate the burn research carried on through the trauma program of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and would add $5 million to the FY 75 budget, I will not seek appropriations to implement this particular provision of the bill.