America’s Largest Fire Grant Program: $310,500,000 Awards Pool
2,500 Awards Projected to Protect Firefighters, EMS & The Public Against Fire Hazards
Opens: Tues., Oct. 11, 2016, 8 a.m. EST
Closes: Fri., Nov. 18, 2016, 5 p.m. EST
The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations. Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. AFG has 3 activities, each with its own eligibility requirements:
- Operations and Safety
- Vehicle Acquisition
- Regional Projects
The purpose of the AFG Program is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire and fire-related hazards by providing direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated EMS organizations, and State Fire Training Academies (SFTA) for critically needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards, enhance operational efficiencies, foster interoperability, and support community resilience.
In awarding grants, the Administrator of FEMA shall consider the following:
- The findings and recommendations of the Technical Evaluation Panel (TEP)
- The degree to which an award will reduce deaths, injuries, and property damage by reducing the risks associated with fire related and other hazards
- The extent of an applicant’s need for an AFG grant and the need to protect the United States as a whole
The AFG Program supports the basic mission of strengthening national preparedness and resilience, and addresses the following “Core Capabilities” of the National Preparedness Goal:
- Fire Management and Suppression
- Environmental Response/Health and Safety
- Threats and Hazards Identification
- Public Health, Healthcare, and Emergency Medical Services
- Operational Coordination
- Operational Communications
- Mass Search and Rescue Operations
- Community Resilience
- Long-term Vulnerability Reduction
Kurt Bradley’s Tips for FY2016 AFG
Bring your A-game
Money is the same as last year, which will mean it’s going to be a very competitive grant. Your application and narrative will need solid data and a strong need to help it stand out from the pack.
There is very little funding for Vehicle Acquisitions
Out of the 2,050 applications funded under FY2015 AFG, only about 160 were for Vehicle Acquisition fire grants. Only 25% of total AFG money can go to vehicles, and AFG has pledged 10% of that money to ambulances. That gives you an effective 15% of the total AFG money going for new apparatus.
Since the grant money is now so low when it comes to replacing apparatus, and since so few apparatus are being funded, departments are wise to have a Plan B in mind for replacing their apparatus. AFG is a real long shot right now to win a vehicle. If you need apparatus, look at non-AFG ways to fund it, and focus your AFG application on a higher-priority need.
Alternatively, if you really need a vehicle, your application must scream and bleed with the urgency of your need.
High-priority projects only
There is absolutely no sense in writing your grant around a project that is rated as “low or medium.” Plain and simple, it will not get funded. Focus only on high-priority projects. Your grant will be far more competitive.
Haven’t won AFG in a while? That could help you
Departments not having received a grant in at least 3 years will earn extra points. That could help your application move up the ranks and increase your likelihood of getting funded.
Micro-grants are still a very good option.
FY2015 AFG saw many “micro-grants” under $10,000. These micro-grants are a good way to fund high-priority but lower-dollar projects. If the need is great but the cost is smaller than, say, replacing apparatus or procuring dozens of sets of PPE, write the grant and make a strong case.
Important reminders for your AFG fire grant application
- Eligible departments can reduce their cost share through the AFG Economic Hardship Waiver Policy. Organizations can request a waiver or reduction of non-federal funds cost share requirement, maintenance of effort requirement, or both, in cases of demonstrated economic hardship (an “Economic Hardship Waiver”). This guidance provides the minimum requirements for eligibility to request an Economic Hardship Waiver and how to request one.
- AFG awardees must procure contracts in a specified manner. AFG’s Procurement Integrity video provides an overview of proper contract procurement for grantees
- Time zone matters! The closing date and time to receive applications is Nov. 18, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. EST. Those of you in CST, MST, or PST time zones, please take note and adjust your submission time accordingly. 5 p.m. ET is 4 p.m. CST, 3 p.m. MST, and 2 p.m. PST.
- Make sure your application “checks the checkboxes” of what the Administrator of FEMA is looking for:
- Competitive enough application and demonstrated need that satisfies the Technical Evaluation Panel (TEP);
- To what degree your request can reduce deaths, injuries, and property damage by reducing the risks associated with fire related and other hazards; and
- The extent of your need for an AFG grant, and how fulfilling your need protects not only your jurisdiction, but the United States as a whole. This is where critical infrastructure and regional projects and inter-departmental cooperation come into play big time—it shows you’re “looking beyond your own backyard.”
What this grant does for your agency
$310,500,000 Fire Grant Funding Available
- Projected Number of Awards: 2,500
- Period of Performance: 12 months from the date of award
- Projected Period of Performance Start Date: Mar. 3, 2017
- Projected Period of Performance End Date: Mar. 3, 2018
Agencies awarded the FY2016 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) receive funds to protect the health and safety of the public and their emergency response personnel.
Only a limited number of grants will be awarded.
- Fire Departments: Fire departments operating in any of the 56 states, which include any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; or, any federally recognized Indian tribe or tribal organization, are eligible applicants. A Fire department is an agency or organization having a formally recognized arrangement with a state, territory, local, or tribal authority (city, county, parish, fire district, township, town, or other governing body) to provide fire suppression to a population within a geographically fixed primary first due response area.
- Nonaffiliated EMS organizations: Nonaffiliated EMS organizations operating in any of the 56 states, which include any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; or, any federally recognized Indian tribe or tribal organization, are eligible applicants. A nonaffiliated EMS organization is an agency or organization that is a public or private nonprofit emergency medical services entity providing medical transport that is not affiliated with a hospital and does not serve a geographic area in which emergency medical services are adequately provided by a fire department.
- State Fire Training Academies: A State Fire Training Academy (SFTA) operating in any of the 56 states, which includes any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is an eligible applicant. Applicants must be designated either by legislation or by a Governor’s declaration as the sole state fire service training agency within a state. The designated SFTA shall be the only State agency/bureau/division, or entity within that State, to be an eligible AFG SFTA applicant.
About the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA’s mission is to support citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. More
Grant applications are due no later than 5 p.m. EST, Fri., Nov. 18, 2016.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 97.044. Notice of Funding Opportunity Number: DHS-16-GPD-044-00-99. Apply for the FY2016 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG)