AFGP program update, April 2024

Fire grant news from FEMA

Each month, FEMA supplies information regarding the management of current Assistance to Firefighters Grants, as well as helpful details on upcoming grant opportunities. 

In this month’s update: 

  • FY 2023 AFG Programs Status Update 
  • FEMA GO Integration with Login.gov 
  • Did You Know? – AFG Applications are Reviewed Through a Multi-phase Process. 
  • DHS Civil Rights Evaluation Tool Technical Assistance 
  • April Fire Prevention Message – Create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan 
  • Grants Management Training  
  • Closeout module available in FEMA GO 
  • AFGP Success Stories 

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FY 2023 AFG Programs Status Update 

Fiscal Year 2023 AFG Applications  

The FY 2023 AFG application period closed on March 8, 2024. A total of 7,962 applications were submitted with a total requested federal share amount of $3.72 billion. All applications are in the pre-scoring phase of the application review process. Panel review for the 2023 AFG applications that score well enough through the pre-score process is scheduled for the week of April 15. Once panel review is complete, the applications that score high enough will enter the technical review phase of the application review process. This is one of the final stages of review before applications are recommended for award.  

Fiscal Year 2023 SAFER and FP&S Application Periods Closing Soon! 

The FY 2023 SAFER and FP&S application periods opened on March 11, 2024, and will close on April 12, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET. Application development workshops have been scheduled to help applicants understand what is required to develop a successful application for these programs. To attend one of these workshops, please click HERE and register for the event that fits within your schedule.  

Fiscal Year 2023 Post-Application Period Listening Sessions 

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program is constantly seeking ways to improve. With the AFG, SAFER and FP&S application periods coming to a close, we are now asking those departments that applied to attend a listening session to tell us about your experience. The discussion will include the usability of online systems such as SAM.gov, National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) or FEMA GO; availability of technical assistance; application completion and submission; and any other issues identified. In return, we hope to use your comments and suggestions to improve the AFG program. We will also answer any questions you may have about the program. 

Please find the schedule for the listening sessions below. Please click on the link to respective session you’d like to attend. Each session is expected to last one hour and will include a brief introduction, time to identify issues, a collaborative brainstorming session, and time for Q&A. The sessions are limited to 1,500 attendants. If demand exceeds the planned sessions, consideration will be given to providing additional opportunities. 

FY 2023 AFG Listening Sessions Schedule
 Date TimeWebinar OfferingPresentation Length(Minutes)Attendee Login Link
April 22, 2024 2 p.m. FY 23 AFG Listening Session 1 60 Session 1 Login
April 24, 2024 11 a.m. FY 23 AFG Listening Session 2 60 Session 2 Login
April 29, 2024 10 a.m. FY 23 AFG Listening Session 3 60 Session 3 Login
May 1, 2024 3 p.m. FY 23 AFG Listening Session 4 60 Session 4 Login

If you are unable to attend, please send any suggestions or comments you may have regarding the FY 2023 AFG application period to [email protected]

Reminder: You are allowed to hire a grant writer or work with outside entities to develop your application and/or manage your award. However, you, the applicant or recipient of funds, is responsible for the content of the application, reports, payment requests and any other documentation submitted on behalf of your agency. Please be sure to read anything completed by a third party before its submission to ensure accuracy and prevent fraud, waste and abuse. 

FEMA is Changing the Way External Users Will Login to FEMA Grant Outcomes (FEMA GO)

To improve security and comply with Executive Order 14028 on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, FEMA Chief Information Officer (CIO) has directed that all FEMA systems implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for user login. MFA is enabled for FEMA employees through PIV­ cards, but it is needed for FEMA GO external login-ID and password users. 

FEMA GO will increase its security protection goals through an integration with login.gov scheduled for early July 2024. This date was selected to attempt to avoid the bulk of open funding opportunities while still meeting Agency guidance as soon as practical. At that time, external users will be required to access FEMA GO using their personal login.gov account. FEMA employees will continue to access FEMA GO with their PIV-card. 

Over the coming weeks, the FEMA GO Team will contact external users who have existing FEMA GO accounts about this security change. Training materials on how to set up a login.gov account will be provided to users. We will be sending weekly messages with reminders and tips. Once users have a login.gov account, we’ll be asking specifically them to ensure that the email they use for their FEMA GO account is added to their login.gov profile to avoid any sync issues. Once the emails are aligned between both systems, FEMA GO login should be seamless. 

For questions related to the adoption of login.gov, users are encouraged to contact the FEMA GO Help Desk. The FEMA GO Help Desk hours of operation are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. The Help Desk accepts phone calls at 1-877-585-3242 and emails at [email protected]. 

Did You Know?  

The AFGP applications are reviewed through a multi-phase process!

Phases of AFGP Application Process

Figure 1: The AFG Application and Award Process 

Pre-Scoring Process:  

  • As pictured in Figure 1 above, once the application period closes, the application undergoes an electronic pre-scoring process based on established program priorities listed in Appendix B of the respective Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The pre-score also considers answers to activity-specific questions within the online application. Application Narratives are not reviewed during the pre-score process. “Request Details” and “Budget” information should comply with program guidance and statutory funding limitations. The pre-score is half of the total application score. 

Peer Review Panel Process: 

  • Applications with the highest rankings from the pre-scoring process will undergo a Peer Review Panel process. Such a panel of peer reviewers is composed of fire service representatives recommended by the national organizations from the Criteria Development Panel (CDP). Peer reviewers will assess each application’s merits based on the narrative statement on the requested activity. The evaluation elements listed in the “Narrative Evaluation Criteria” below will be used to calculate the narrative’s score for each activity requested. Panelists will independently score each requested activity within the application, discuss the merits and/or shortcomings of the application with their peers, and document the findings. A consensus is not required. The panel score is half of the total application score. 

Technical Evaluation Process: 

  • The highest ranked applications will be considered within the fundable range. Applications that are in the fundable range will undergo both a Technical Review by a subject-matter expert as well as a FEMA Program Office review before being recommended for award. The FEMA Program Office will make a final assessment of the application with respect to costs, quantities, feasibility, eligibility, and recipient responsibility prior to recommending any application for award. During TEP, the information in Appendix B is used to make final corrections to any request not meeting program eligibility requirements. This is not a scored phase of the application process. Requests may be recommended for partial funding based on findings made during this assessment. 

Technical Assistance – DHS Civil Rights Evaluation Tool 

DHS’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties offers a monthly webinar series on information regarding the Civil Rights Evaluation Tool for recipients of DHS financial assistance, including fire grants. The Civil Rights Evaluation Tool is a technical assistance tool aimed at helping recipients comply with federal civil rights obligations as a condition of receiving federal financial assistance. Topics for the series include an Overview of the Civil Rights Evaluation Tool, Frequently Asked Questions, Developing a Nondiscrimination Policy and Complaint Procedures, Developing Language Access Policies and Procedures, and Developing Disability Access Policies and Procedures. Additional information can be found at the Civil Rights Resources for Recipients of DHS Financial Assistance.   

April Fire Prevention Message

Key message: Create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan 

Wildfires are becoming more extreme, larger, spread faster, and occur in areas that have never experienced such fires. These fires create cascading effects like damaged water supplies, infrastructure, economies, watersheds, and ecosystems. 

So it is important to help your community prepare for a wildfire. One of the best ways to prepare is by creating a Community Wildfire Protection Plan.  

Identify project work that needs to be completed in your community based on your assessment of community risks. This project work should be prioritized based upon what is identified as the greatest risk or where you can make the greatest impact. 

Click HERE to download the U.S. Fire Administration’s guide for Creating a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. 

For more information, please visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s website for Fire Prevention and Community Risk Reduction HERE

Grants Management Training

Grants Management Technical Assistance 

K0705 Fundamentals of Grants Management is a virtual course FEMA offers by to grant recipients. Although not a requirement for accepting an AFG award, the course is designed to assist organizations strengthen their grant management practices. Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to: 

  • Improve collaboration across disciplines to support integrating grant management functions; 
  • Review, navigate and apply the applicable Uniform Administrative Requirements and Cost Principles in 2 C.F.R. Part 200, and FEMA Information Bulletins; 
  • Apply sound practices to increase efficiency and meet grant management priorities; 
  • Develop or revise policies, procedures and practices in critical areas of grants management and; 
  • Prepare for federal monitoring and sub-recipient monitoring. 

Upcoming Course Offerings: 

Orientation DatesCourse DatesCourse Start TimesCourse Host
April 23, 24, or 25 April 29 – May 23, 2024 2 p.m. ET Open Enrollment 
July 9, 10, or 11 July 15 – Aug. 8, 2024 10 a.m. ET Open Enrollment 

To Apply: National Emergency Training Center Online Admissions Application (fema.gov) 

Questions: [email protected] 

2024 Procurement Under Grants Training Schedule  

FEMA’s Grant Programs Directorate (GPD) is offering a series of virtual trainings on the federal procurement rules applicable to recipients and subrecipients when purchasing in support of a FEMA award or declaration. The one-hour training sessions are being offered through June 2024. 

Topics include

  • Standard Procurement Under Grants (PUG) Training – Provides an overview of the federal procurement under grants rules for recipients and subrecipients when purchasing under a FEMA grant. 
  • Exigency or Emergency Training – Educates recipients and subrecipients on the federal procurement under grants rules applicable when purchasing during exigent or emergency circumstances. 
  • Prepare Before a Disaster – Focuses on contracting actions recipients and subrecipients can take to prepare before a disaster strikes. 
  • Procurement Under Grants (PUG) Training- Mitigation Grants – Provides an overview of the federal procurement under grants rules for recipients and subrecipients when purchasing under a FEMA mitigation award. 

Target Audience 

These training sessions are appropriate for FEMA award recipients and subrecipients, including state, local, tribal, and territorial government personnel; nonprofit organization staff; eligible private entities; and other non-federal entities. This training is also appropriate for FEMA staff. 

Delivery Format 

The online training will be delivered through Adobe Connect. In advance of a training, please test your connection here. Training dates and access information are provided online at Purchasing Under FEMA Awards Training Schedule or in the linked training announcement. There is no limit to the number of participants in each training. 

For additional information and resources on the federal procurement under grants rules, please visit the Procurement Disaster Assistance Team (PDAT) website at www.fema.gov/grants/procurement

Closeout Report Available in FEMA GO 

The closeout module has been released in FEMA GO for recipients that have received AFG awards from 2018 to 2020. Recipients with awards that are no longer open will have 90 days to complete the module. If an award still has an open period of performance (POP), the recipient will have to wait until the POP ends to initiate the closeout process and will have 90-to-120 days to complete the process. Do not start your closeout if there is a chance that more funds or an amendment could be requested as these functions will no longer be available. A tutorial on the closeout process is available by clicking HERE

For closeout help, contact your Regional Fire Program Representative or the AFG Helpdesk toll-free at 866-274-0960 or email [email protected] 


Cherry Hill Fire Department – Cherry Hill, NJ  

Awarded items: Thermal Imaging Cameras and Battery-Operated Extrication Tools 

Submitted by: Captain Zachary Houck  

The FY2019 award was used to replace our aging vehicle extrication tools as well as our thermal imaging cameras with state-of-the-art battery-operated extrication tools and brand new Thermal Imaging Cameras. The extrication tools have been used on more than 42 motor vehicle accidents requiring people to be extricated and rescued from vehicles. This included in October of 2022 when a male occupant became heavily entrapped in a tractor trailer after colliding with a pickup truck that then burst into flames. The narrative of the first in Company Officer is below: 

We arrived on location on the NJ Turnpike Southbound to find a pickup truck, off the road, and fully involved in fire. Lying nearby was the driver of that truck who was suffering from 3rd degree and 2nd degree burns over his entire body. As I walked a couple hundred feet down the highway to where the tractor trailer truck involved was located, it was now sandwiched between two other trucks. I expected to find a fatality, but instead found the male driver heavily entrapped in the cab of the truck, and alive. The complexity of the scene spread out over a couple hundred feet required that I divide my company and the Rescue Company to handle a vehicle fire, patient care of a priority burn victim, and extricate the driver of the truck. Our crews were limited in personnel; therefore, it took a while for us to get our Rescue close to the extrication portion of the incident. Thankfully the portability of our new battery-operated extrication tools, combined with their power, quickly became evident. Crews rapidly extricated the male driver and transferred his care to the medics. He was then flown via helicopter to the trauma center. In my 17 years on the job, this ranks as one of the most complex scenes I have ever seen. Without these tools and the firefighters operating them, I can’t say that we would have had a successful end to this incident. 

‐ Capt. Zach Houck – Squad Co. 13 

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