Supplemental grants help Fire Service Organizations nationwide against coronavirus
FEMA has begun announcing award rounds for Fire Service Organizations awarded Supplemental AFG grants to aid their operations against the novel coronavirus. Awards will continue until all funding is exhausted.
The guide provides actions emergency managers and public officials can take to prepare for response and recovery operations during ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. Specifically, the guidance:
Describes anticipated challenges to disaster operations posed by COVID-19.
Highlights planning considerations for emergency managers based on current challenges.
Outlines how FEMA plans to adapt response and recovery operations.
Creates a shared understanding of expectations between FEMA and emergency managers.
Includes guidance, checklists and resources to support emergency managers’ response and recovery planning.
Private sector and non-governmental organizations can use the guidance to gain an understanding of the government’s posture, planning and readiness efforts.
To expand awareness and understanding of the guidance, FEMA’s National Preparedness Directorate is conducting four webinars. The webinars will allow emergency managers an opportunity to discuss how the guidance can assist jurisdictions review and modify their plans given the constraints and limitations of the ongoing pandemic. To register, please click on the link for the preferred webinar from the list below:
In recognition of the economic hardships facing local jurisdictions and fire departments across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf has waived the cost share, position cost limit, supplanting, and minimum budget requirements for FY19 SAFER grant applicants. For more information, see Information Bulletin 450 which can be found here. In addition, the application period is being extended to May 27, 2020 at 5 p.m. ET.
Please note: Funds under the FY 2019 SAFER Hiring of Firefighters Activity must be used to hire new, additional firefighters, and the costs to hire those firefighters must be at the usual annual costs of a first-year (i.e., entry-level) firefighter. This requirement has not been waived.
Additionally, the waiver of the requirements identified above does not apply to the FY 2019 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) or to the FY 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant – COVID-19 Supplemental Program (AFG-S).
In consideration of the economic impact of the pandemic, Acting Secretary Wolf has also authorized waivers for certain provisions of the FY 2020 SAFER Grant Program. DHS/FEMA will provide more details on the FY 2020 changes soon.
Applicants no longer need to request an economic hardship waiver within the FY 2019 online application. If you have already submitted your FY 2019 application, no further action is needed at this time. The waiver of these provisions and the adjustments to the requested amount will be handled by the SAFER Program Office during their technical review of applications.
If you have not yet submitted your application, please note that the applications will continue to show the cost share/position cost limit. However, as stated above, there is nothing additional that applicants need to do regarding these provisions. The adjustment will be made by the SAFER Program Office.
The FEMA Grant Outcomes (GO) system automatically records proof of timely submission and the system generates an electronic date/time stamp when FEMA GO successfully receives the application. The individual with the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) role that submitted the application will also receive the official date/time stamp and a FEMA GO tracking number in an email serving as proof of their timely submission. Applications received by FEMA GO after the extended application submission deadline will be deemed as late and typically will not be considered for funding.
DHS/FEMA will not review applications that are received after the extended deadline or consider them for funding except in cases where a technical problem outside of the applicant’s control prevented submission of the application by the deadline.
FEMA has released the “Disaster Financial Management Guide” to support jurisdictions in establishing and implementing sound disaster financial management practices, which are critical for successful response and recovery.
The guide identifies the capabilities and activities necessary to prepare and successfully implement disaster financial management while maintaining fiscal responsibility throughout response and recovery operations. This includes considerations and practices necessary to:
Track, calculate and justify the costs of an emergency;
Support local reimbursement reconciliation;
Avoid de-obligation of grant funding; and effectively fund and implement recovery projects and priorities.
The principles, concepts and resources contained in the guide can support jurisdictions in identifying the resources needed to support their community, increase the efficiency of recovery efforts, and reduce the likelihood of audits and financial penalties for the jurisdiction.
The guide also presents an overview of common disaster assistance and recovery funding programs that may be beneficial to recovery efforts. Although there are many government and private/non-profit sector recovery resources and programs designed to aid jurisdictions, navigating the various eligibility requirements and application processes pose administrative challenges for jurisdictions.
The “Disaster Financial Management Guide” takes an all-hazard approach and addresses a broad range of issues jurisdictions face. However, the document contains concepts, principles and resources that are applicable to the current operational environment and ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
Opens Monday, April 13, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. ET Application Deadline: May 15, 2020 May 27, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. ET
Increase the number of firefighters in your fire department
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program focuses on enhancing the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire and fire-related hazards.
The SAFER program accomplishes this by providing funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to assist in increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards, and to fulfill traditional missions of fire departments.
What this grant does for your agency
SAFER offers grants to support projects in 2 areas:
Hiring of Firefighters Activity is to hire new, additional firefighters to improve staffing levels or changing the status of part-time or paid-on-call firefighters to full-time firefighters.
Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters Activity is to assist fire departments with the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters who are involved with or trained in the operations of firefighting and emergency response.
FEMA released expanded capabilities to the Resilience Analysis and Planning Tool (RAPT), including census tract data and additional infrastructure layers for all state, local, tribal and territorial jurisdictions across the nation. This update to the tool enables a more granular analysis of community resilience indicators and allows users to calculate the population of individuals with specific indicator characteristics in selected census tracts.
Jurisdictions at all levels, other federal agencies, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations can use RAPT to inform strategies for preparedness, response and recovery activated related to the coronavirus pandemic and other disasters. The tool is a free-to-use Geographic Information System (GIS) webmap tool that allows users to combine layers of community resilience indicators, infrastructure locations, and hazard data to visualize, prioritize and implement strategies to impact resilience, response, and recovery.
The updated RAPT provides important census-tract level demographic information and infrastructure locations related to coronavirus pandemic planning and response efforts. This includes the location and size of infrastructure entities such as hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care facilities, public health departments, and pharmacies; population count and demographics of individuals within a containment zone (e.g. over age 65, disability, educational attainment); and visualization tools.
The National Integration Center will host three 60-minute training webinars over the next two weeks, starting on April 2, to provide additional background on the RAPT, demonstrate multiple capabilities and answer questions from RAPT users. Webinars are open to all.
Advance registration is not required, but space is limited to 150 participants per webinar. Real-time captioning will be available. To participate, please click on your preferred webinar session from the list below at the beginning of the webinar to begin and call the phone number provided:
Assistance Listings Number (formerly Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number)
Application Period: Mon., Feb. 3, 8:00 a.m. ET to Fri., Mar. 13, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET. DEADLINE EXTENDED to Mar. 20, 2020!
Grant funding for PPE, fire vehicles, training programs, and more
The objectives of the AFG program are to…
Provide critically needed resources that equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards
Enhance operational efficiencies
Support community resilience
Applying organizations need to also make sure they have registered with SAM.gov and the new FEMA GO system.
“The designated business representative (DBR) in SAM.gov is the person who must register the department in FEMA GO,” explains Kurt Bradley, Senior Grants Consultant for First Responder Grants. “While they are at it, the DBR can set their Grant Consultant as either a ‘Grant Writer’ or ‘Authorized Organizational Representative.’ They will need their grant writer’s email address to do so.”
What this grant does for your agency
AFG has three activities:
Operations and Safety
“Only apply for high-priority items,” says Kurt. “And remember, micro-grants and regional grants can sometimes be more effective than applying for a larger amount or applying as an individual agency.”