$2,893,318 in Fire Grants Awarded in Round 5 SAFER 2012

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced the fifth award round for the FY2012 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER).

FEMA awarded $2,893,318 in Hiring Fire Grants to 5 agencies. Award amounts for Hiring Fire Grants ranged from a $142,671 SAFER grant, awarded to the Raytown Fire Protection District, Raytown, MO, to a $944,962 SAFER grant award to the City of Superior Fire Department, Superior, WI.

See the full SAFER award list here. Check back weekly for more SAFER award updates!

National Defense Authorization Act – Contact Your Senators

Fire Grant News from the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI)

The U.S. Senate is currently considering S.3254, the National Defense Authorization Act. Senator Joseph Lieberman (CT), co-Chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, is attempting to include an amendment to the legislation that would reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program and the United States Fire Administration.

All members of the fire and emergency services are asked to contact their U.S. Senators. Encourage them to contact Senator Carl Levin (MI), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee to express their support for the Lieberman Amendment. Make the calls today!

Talking Points For Your Phone Calls

  • I understand that Senator Joseph Lieberman has filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
  • Amendment #3090 would reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program and the United States Fire Administration.
  • I strongly urge you to contact Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and ask for his support of Amendment #3090.
  • AFG, SAFER and the United States Fire Administration are essential to enhancing the readiness and response capabilities of fire departments in (your state) and all other states. We need these programs reauthorized.

Contact Information

  • The phone number for the Capitol Switchboard is 202-224-3121.
  • Ask that your call be transferred to your Senator’s office.
  • Please make two calls – one to each of your Senators.
  • The calls need to be made today!

Application Period To Open For FY 2012 Fire Prevention and Safety Grants: Dec. 17, 2012, to Jan. 18, 2013

Starting Monday, December 17, 2012, online applications will be accepted for FY 2012 Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grants. The deadline for all FP&S grant applications will be Friday, January 18, 2013, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).

How To Apply for FP&S

For information on how to apply, visit the FP&S Grants Web page on the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Website (www.fema.gov/firegrants).

The first step is to read the FY 2012 FP&S Funding Opportunity Announcement. This document describes how to apply for a grant, activities that will be funded, types of organizations that are eligible to receive awards, the evaluation criteria for making awards, and the federal requirements for grantees.

While the format of the FY 2012 Funding Opportunity Announcement has been updated, the funding priorities, eligibility criteria, and evaluation criteria remain the same as they were for the FY 2011 FP&S Grant Program.

Activities Eligible for Fire Prevention and Safety Grants:

  • Fire Prevention and Safety Activity: Projects designed to reach high-risk target groups and mitigate the incidence of death and injuries caused by fire and fire-related hazards.
  • Firefighter Safety Research and Development Activity: Projects aimed at improving firefighter safety, health, and wellness through research and development that reduces firefighter fatalities and injuries.

Resources For FP&S Applicants

  • FP&S Grants Get Ready Guide. A short guide to help you kick-start your grant application and identify and address the most important elements of all the grant application questions.
  • FP&&S Grant Self-Evaluation Sheet. Based on the application scoring dimensions used by peer reviewers, this tool can help you assess your organization’s readiness to apply for a grant and help you plan your grant application.
  • Fire Prevention and Safety Grants video: Provides a short overview of the FP&S Grant Program, including highlights of eligible activities.
  • Community Risk Assessment and Fire Prevention and Safety Grants video: Describes the different types of risk assessments that applicants can use and explains how the risk assessment’s information can support grant requests. Community risk assessments are critical to creating an effective fire prevention and safety project, and they are required to obtain a FP&S grant.
  • AFG Help Desk. If you have questions about the FP&S Funding Opportunity Announcement or any of the resources, contact the AFG Help Desk by telephone (toll-free at 1-866-274-0960) or by e-mail (firegrants@fema.dhs.gov).

Update on FY2012 SAFER Funding

For Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, the SAFER Grants Program will award approximately $320,625,000 in competitive grants to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in two categories: Hiring of Firefighters and the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters. The grants will help fire departments and interest organizations increase the number of trained, certified, front-line firefighters capable of safely responding to emergencies in communities throughout the United States.

Award announcements began in September but were suspended temporarily at the end of the 2012 fiscal year to await the availability of funding under the Continuing Resolution. Once award announcements resume, they will continue on a rolling basis until all available FY 2012 funds have been awarded. Each week, the list of new 2012 SAFER awardees will be posted on the Awards pages of the AFG website.

Who Submitted SAFER Applications?

The AFG received a total of 1,552 applications for 2012 SAFER grants, with the majority of applicants (63 percent) requesting Hiring of Firefighters grants. The other 37 percent requested grants for the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters. Additional information is provided below about the organizations that requested FY 2012 SAFER funding.

FY2012 SAFER Applicants by Department Type
Department Type No. of Applications Submitted Percentage
All Paid/Career 393 26
All Volunteer 359 23
Combination (Majority Volunteer) 530 34
Combination (Majority Paid) 220 14
Volunteer Firefighter Interest Organizations 50 3
TOTAL SUBMISSIONS 1,552 100%
FY2012 SAFER Applicants by Service Area
Type of Service Area No. of Applications Submitted Percentage
Rural 679 44
Suburban 522 34
Urban 304 20
Not Applicable 47 2
TOTAL SUBMISSIONS 1,552 100%

AFG Support for Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

As you are aware, FEMA is working closely with its state and local partners in supporting disaster response and recovery operations throughout the areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy. More than 5,000 FEMA employees have been deployed, including many members of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) staff, both regional staff members and headquarters (HQ) staff members in Washington, DC.

However, the AFG Program continues to maintain operations. If you have current awards, your grant functions (payments, amendments, etc.) will be processed as quickly as possible. In addition, we anticipate resuming FY 2012 AFG and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant award announcements within the next 2 weeks.

If you are unable to reach specific AFG regional or HQ staff members during this period, please contact the AFG Help Desk for assistance. The Help Desk can be reached toll free at 1-866-274-0960 or by e-mail at firegrants@fema.dhs.gov.

To follow FEMA’s Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts, please visit the FEMA website at FEMA.gov.

Updated AFG Calendar

This updated AFG calendar takes into account recent events such as Hurricane Sandy. NOTE: All information, including dates and projected application periods are subject to change. When a conference is listed, the AFG Program either will be exhibiting and/or giving a presentation or workshop.

November: FY 2012 AFG and SAFER award announcements resume (tentative)

Late Fall/Winter: FY 2012 Fire Prevention and Safety Grant application period

Start Your Department’s Financial Planning, NOW!

Public Safety Grant News and Tips by Kurt Bradley, Certified Grants Consultant

ff-start-your department-financial-planning-now

The end of the year is in sight, and you should begin planning you department’s financial health strategy, right now. Departments should begin planning how you are going to allocate your dollars, and utilize them, in the most effective strategy to benefit your departments, citizens and officers.

Throughout this past year in these columns I have been educating you on some proper strategies to maximize your effectiveness at utilizing your shrinking budget dollars. I believe it would be proper to again summarize some of those once again.

Conduct a comprehensive “Needs Assessment” of your department.

Do the homework now and conduct a good hard look at what your most critical needs are and then prioritize what those needs are. When you are prioritizing those needs, be sure to keep in mind that it is better to plan these things in stages. Do not put too much on your plate to be handled in one year. Plans for upgrading, starting new programs and equipment replacement should be done in small increments. Look at starting a program by first training your personnel and getting them certified to perform the tasks and or to use equipment that you intend to purchase. Start small with a “scaled down” mini-program, and document some success with that program. Then, in the next year, build upon the success of that program and seek funding to “expand” the scope of the program based upon a proven track record. This is a proven strategy for achieving funding success.

Look at forming a grants team.

It is really impossible, as public safety officers, to research, gather statistical data, compose, write and apply for all the grants that exist out there every year. Although we strive to ease that burden for you, we will never be able to do ALL of the tasks that need to be accomplished for a successful application. Remember:

Together
Everyone
Accomplishes
Much

Consider using alternative funding methods to satisfy your needs.

Beyond public sector grants, there are lots of different types of funding sources that can provide the funding you need, and sometimes there are creative approaches you can utilize that get a problem solved. Get out of your box and trying being a creative thinker in terms of innovation or making your needs mesh with those of funding sources which may be present within your regional area.

Conduct private fundraising activities.

We are many times way too sensitive about asking taxpayers to further contribute to our budgets by having them dig into their pockets to donate to us. Get rid of this “political guilt trip” here, folks. These citizens are NOT taxed at levels which even begin to cover our needs.

Today’s economic plight has been responsible for negative growth and continued budget cuts both now and for the foreseeable future. Tactfully seeking additional funding through private funding drives will serve to fend off future tax increases. What is oftentimes mistakenly considered to be “unprofessional begging” is in fact your department heads practicing sound fiscal responsibility. What is unprofessional is to ignore a glaring deficit in your equipment or training programs and operate in a reactive vs. proactive mode with your department. Grant makers offer a hand-up, not a hand-out!

It is vitally important to show the grant maker that you are trying to deal with these problems yourself but, you are just experiencing difficulty in funding all of it. Private citizens and businesses will in fact appreciate, and respond, to your internal and self-initiated efforts to raise the “matching dollars” so that you can get a bigger piece of the pie.

Think “training aid” not “equipment”.

You may not find a grant which will fund the “equipment” itself but, if you put on a training course which requires that equipment to teach the course, it now becomes a training aid and as such may become eligible for using grant funds to purchase.

Utilize and consider looking for private and corporation grants.

The private sector knows the importance of funding vital community assets, and they know it’s good PR too.

Start looking and identify and quantify what “critical infrastructure” you have in your area.

DHS grants are given based upon known and identified risk or potential risk to a community. By seeking out, identifying, quantifying and listing what critical infrastructure assets your community or area has within it, you afford yourself greater priority in the funding selection process. This is how you justify that your department is worthy of DHS grant funding.

Begin researching past grant programs that you may wish to apply to in the coming year.

Grants are usually quite cyclical in nature. As such it is generally very easy to go back and look at previous grant program RFPs and Program Guidance documents in order to determine the program’s suitability and eligibility of your department and what you are seeking. This will then allow you to predict and plan for matching dollars to be available in your upcoming budget so that you may apply and accept a grant award if you are successful.

This only makes common sense as it is a colossal waste of time to develop and apply for a grant funding program, only to have to refuse the award because you did not have the matching dollars available.

Use these suggestions as a checklist for planning your financial strategies for the coming year. In doing this homework now, you will make future grant application processes much easier to deal with.