Fire grant news update from FEMA
Each month, we supply 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 2021 AFG Programs Status Update
- FY 2022 AFG Programs Status Update
- FY 2022 AFG Pre-Award Costs
- 2022 AFG Post-Application Listening Sessions
- U.S. Fire Administration announces launch of NERIS
- Did You Know? – The AFGP is up for reauthorization.
- June Fire Prevention Message – Protect your home.
- Grant Management Training – GMTA Fundamentals of Grants Management Course
- AFGP Success Stories
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FY 2021 AFG Programs Status Update
FY 2021 award announcements are nearing completion. Turndown letters will be sent in concurrence with the final rounds of awards being announced. If you receive a turndown letter and would like more information, please contact your Regional Fire Program Representative.
AFG Award Listings: Assistance to Firefighters Grants | FEMA.gov
SAFER Award Listings: Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) | FEMA.gov
FP&S Award Listings: Fire Prevention and Safety | FEMA.gov
FY 2022 AFG Programs Status Update
Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG)
Highest scoring applications moving into the Technical Review Phase
With Peer Panel Review mostly completed the week of March 13-17, 2023, the highest scoring applications have been moved into Technical Review, where program specialists will examine the applications for eligibility, cost reasonableness, and accuracy.
Through this process it is likely that applicants will receive correspondence regarding pre-award costs requests (see article below) and/or be prompted to complete an Environmental and Historical Preservation (EHP) screening form. Click to download the EHP Screening Form. Completed forms must be sent to [email protected] for consideration.
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER)
Highest Scoring Applications Moving into Technical Review Phase
With Peer Panel Review completed the week of March 17-21, 2023, the highest scoring applications are moving into Technical Review, where program specialists will examine the applications for eligibility, cost reasonableness, and accuracy. Once technical review is completed, the highest scoring applications will be recommended for award and move through the final processes before the award can be issued.
Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S)
Highest Scoring Applications Moving into Technical Review Phase
With Peer Panel Review completed the week of May 8-12, 2023, the highest scoring applications are moving into Technical Review, where program specialists will examine the applications for eligibility, cost reasonableness, and accuracy. Once technical review is completed, the highest scoring applications will be recommended for award and move through the final processes before the award can be issued.
2022 AFG Pre-Award Costs Requests
Generally, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) cannot be used to pay for products and services contracted for or obligated before the effective date of the award. Fees for grant writers are considered an exception and may be included as a pre-award expenditure. The allowability of grant writer fees as a pre-award expenditure must be paid between the 90 days prior to the publication date of the NOFO and up to 30 days after the application period closes.
In certain cases, costs incurred after the application deadline, but before an offer of award, may be eligible for reimbursement only if the following conditions are met:
- The recipient must request approval from FEMA to incur such pre-award costs. Requests must be sent via email to [email protected] and include the application number and justification narrative. Please note: The recipient must seek approval at the time of acquisition and before the award is announced.
- The recipient must receive written confirmation from FEMA that the expenses have been reviewed and that FEMA has determined the costs to be justified, unavoidable and consistent with the grant’s scope of work.
- The pre-award cost must meet the requirements of 2 C.F.R. § 200.458, which provides that the costs must be necessary for efficient and timely performance of the grant’s scope of work.
Given that high scoring 2022 AFG applications are in technical review, AFG staff will reach out to applicants that requested reimbursement of grant writer fees to provide the necessary documentation for reimbursement. Here is a list of the documents you may be asked for:
- A copy of the grant writer’s contract for services;
- A copy of the invoice or purchase order;
- A copy of the canceled check (front and back); and
- Evidence that the services were competitively procured. If an applicant’s local procurement practices/policies do not require competitive bidding under $1,500, then the applicant may be asked to provide a copy of that policy.
If you have questions, please reach out to your regional fire program specialist or the AFG Help-Desk at the links included at the end of this email.
2022 AFG Post-Application Listening Sessions
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program held its annual post-application listening sessions the week of April 24. The discussions included the usability of online systems such as the System for Award Management (SAM.gov), the National Fire Incident Reporting System, and FEMA GO; availability of technical assistance; application completion and submission; and any other identified issues. In return, we hope to use your comments and suggestions to improve the AFG program. The results of these listening sessions will be posted in the June version of this update.
If you were unable to attend, please send any suggestions or comments you may have regarding the FY 2022 AFG application period to [email protected].
U.S. Fire Administration Announces Effort to Launch New Fire Information and Analytics Platform
On May 9, 2023, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) announced the launch of the modernization effort to develop a new, interoperable fire information and analytics platform, known as the National Emergency Response Information System (NERIS), for the American fire and emergency services. This effort is being carried out as a partnership between USFA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). The goal of NERIS is to empower the local fire and emergency services community by equipping them with near real-time information and analytic tools that support data informed decision-making for enhanced preparedness and response to incidents involving all hazards.
The platform will integrate data from multiple federal data sets, computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and other authoritative live-data sources to inform community risks including vulnerable populations, the wildland urban interface, drought areas and flood plains. Further, it will support rapid data capture from hostile event response, including response to structure fires, emergency medical incidents and hazardous materials events.
This project is made possible through a research and development contract awarded through S&T’s Long-Range Broad Agency Announcement program awarded to the Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI). FSRI is a part of UL Research Institutes, the nonprofit safety science organization within the UL enterprise. In collaboration with USFA, DHS S&T and the American fire service, FSRI will develop and provide the new NERIS platform for use by fire and emergency services departments nationwide.
The new NERIS platform will replace the legacy data system known as the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) with a secure, cloud-hosted platform that will fulfill the USFA’s National Fire Data Center’s obligation under the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-498) to mitigate the fire problem, reduce loss of life and property, and educate the public on fire prevention and protection, as well as effects of all hazards.
Once NERIS is developed and operational, USFA will work to migrate fire and emergency services departments onto the new platform. The legacy NFIRS will remain operational throughout the transition process so all fire and emergency services departments should continue to use the current NFIRS data system and maintain status quo until migrated to the new platform. For the latest information on NERIS development, visit www.usfa.fema.gov/nfirs/neris.
Did You Know?
The U.S. Senate passed a bill to reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP).
On April 20, 2023, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to reauthorize the AFGP through 2030. This bill reauthorizes the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. It also increases funding for the U.S. Fire Administration. The bill is currently with the U.S. House of Representatives. As of this writing, there is no date indicated for when the bill will come up for consideration in the House. The progress of this bill through the legislative process can be monitored here: S.870 – 118th Congress (2023-2024): Fire Grants and Safety Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress.
June Fire Prevention Message
Charge lithium-ion batteries safely.
Lithium-ion batteries supply power to many kinds of devices including smart phones, laptops, e-scooters and e-bikes, e-cigarettes, smoke alarms, toys and even cars. If not used correctly, or if damaged, these batteries can catch on fire or explode.
- Purchase and use devices that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Only use the battery that is designed for the device.
Grants Management Training
Grants Management Technical Assistance
K0705 Fundamentals of Grants Management is a virtual course offered by FEMA 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 among policy, program and financial staff to integrate grant management functions;
- Identify applicable regulations and navigate and apply the Code of Federal Regulations, including 2 CFR Part 200;
- Apply proven business practices related to the grant lifecycle to increase efficiency and meet grant management priorities, such as strategic planning, organization, program implementation, staff training, monitoring, reporting and audits;
- Develop or revise policies, procedures, and practices in critical areas of grants management, such as monitoring, procurement, source documentation, payments, and equipment inventory; and
- Prepare for federal monitoring and sub-recipient monitoring.
Upcoming Course Offerings:
|Orientation Dates||Course Dates||Course Start Times||Course Host|
|June 28, 29, & Jul. 6||July 10 – Aug. 3, 2023||10 a.m. ET||Open Enrollment|
|Aug. 2, 9, & 10||Aug 14 – Sept. 7, 2023||2 p.m. ET||Open Enrollment|
Questions: [email protected]
AFGP SUCCESS STORIES
Fire Protection Research Foundation – Quincy, MA
Awarded items: 2019 FP&S to Develop Fire Service Roadmap for Firefighting Foam Operations and Handling
Submitted by: Sreenivasan Ranganathan, Ph.D., Research Director
The overall goal of this project was to develop a strategic roadmap for the fire service while transitioning from fluorinated foam (i.e., AFFF) usage to fluorine free foam technology. The project aimed to enhance firefighter safety and health by developing best practices for firefighting foam operations and handling. The project included following specific objectives:
- Develop recommendations of best practices for foam operations and handling for the firefighters to reduce death, injuries in long-term.
- Summarize learnings from the existing published literature, ongoing research studies, current fire service and industrial practices, and standards that address the health and environmental issues associated with firefighting foam usage.
- Summarize existing trends in firefighting foam applications in fire service and industry for fire suppression operations and handling.
- Identify factors that influence fire suppression performance characteristics of fluorine free foams.
- Identify knowledge gaps and future research requirements that need to be addressed while transitioning to fluorine free foam technology.
- Stimulate a cross dialogue between ongoing diverse research efforts.
- Evaluate and refine the findings with stakeholders from fire service and industry.
This project was completed in June 2022 and has resulted in the Firefighting Foams: Fire Service Roadmap Report. In addition, this project was selected as the recipient of the 2022 Foundation Medal. The Foundation Medal recognizes the Fire Protection Research Foundation project completed in the prior year that best exemplifies the foundation’s fire safety mission, technical challenges overcome, and collaborative approach to execution that is the hallmark of all Fire Protection Research Foundation projects.
SHARE YOUR SUCCESS STORY
The AFG Program Office always welcomes feedback from the AFG community. If there are topics or information that you may find helpful in future monthly updates from the AFG Program, please send any thoughts to the AFG Help Desk ([email protected]).