“Critical infrastructure.” It’s a phrase you might find in many grant guidelines and requests for proposal. But what is it? Where is it? How much does your area have? The answers might surprise you.
What is critical infrastructure?
According to DHS, critical infrastructure comprises physical and virtual systems “so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”
There are 16 sectors:
Food and Agriculture
Healthcare and Public Health
Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector
Water and Wastewater
Where is critical infrastructure?
Critical infrastructure can be anywhere.
How much critical infrastructure does your area have?
And that, folks, can be the big hairy unknown. Critical infrastructure can be in or around your area, and you might not know it.
What to do about it?
We are working on some new resources to help agencies like yours plan around critical infrastructure and how to include details about critical infrastructure in grant applications.
Remember: The FY 2018 FP&S grant application period will open on Monday, November 12, 2018 at 8 AM ET and will close on Friday, December 21, 2018 at 5 PM ET.
Grant Application Webinars
The FP&S Program Office will host 2 webinars to help you with your FY 2018 FP&S grant application. The webinars will provide potential applicants with general information about the FP&S grant program, how to navigate the grant application, and tips for preparing an application. FP&S Program Officers will be available to answer questions.
FY 2018 Fire Prevention & Safety Application Assistance
Please make sure to thoroughly review the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) prior to beginning your application, as it contains the latest updates to the FY 2018 FP&S Grant Program. Begin preparing your application now by using the following application assistance tools:
FY 2018 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) – This document contains key programmatic updates and application requirements for all eligible applicants.
FY 2018 FP&S Application Checklist – This checklist will help you prepare to answer questions within the grant application. Collecting this information will reduce the time and energy needed to complete your application.
FY 2018 FP&S Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – This document contains answers to frequently asked questions about the FP&S Grant Program.
FY 2018 Research & Development (R&D) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – This document contains answers to frequently asked questions specifically about the Research and Development Activity within the FP&S Grant Program.
FY 2018 FP&S Self Evaluation Sheet – This Self Evaluation Sheet will help you understand the criteria that you must address in your Narrative Statement when applying for FP&S grants.
FY 2018 FP&S Cost Share Calculator – This calculator will help you understand and determine your organization’s cost share for FP&S grants.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is holding webinars for stakeholders nationwide to discuss the agency’s efforts in updating the National Response Framework (NRF) to incorporate lessons learned from the unprecedented 2017 hurricane and wildfire season. First released in 2008, the NRF is a guide for how our nation responds to all types of disasters and emergencies. As part of FEMA’s renewed effort to build a national culture of preparedness, this update will include the following areas:
Additional emphasis on non-governmental capabilities to include the role of individuals and private sector/industry partners in responding to disasters;
A new Emergency Support Function to leverage existing coordination mechanisms between the government and infrastructure owners/operators; and
Focus on outcomes-based response through the prioritization of the rapid stabilization of life-saving and life sustaining Lifelines.
The updated NRF will continue to focus on the capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs during disasters. The NRF will continue to be scalable, flexible and adaptable, using the core capabilities identified in the National Preparedness Goal.
FEMA is hosting a series of one-hour engagement webinars to describe the update and answer participants’ questions. These webinars are geared toward the whole community, including individuals and communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and all governments (state, local, tribal, and territorial, as well as federal agencies).
Advance registration is required and on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, click on your preferred webinar session from the list below.
Once summer gives way to fall, we all know how close we are to the holidays… and then to another new year. As we head into the final months of 2018 and look ahead to 2019, there is lots your department can be doing right now to prepare for next year’s grant opportunities.
Conduct a needs assessment
Proper planning involves a myriad of things, one of which is assuring that you have proper manpower and equipment to carry out your basic mission for your citizens. A needs assessment gives you the facts you need to know about how well prepared your department is to carry out its primary function.
Each year, public, private, corporate, and non-profit organizations provide thousands of grants worth billions of dollars. What programs are out there that your agency could benefit from? What program will you try for for the first time? What programs have you tried for and gotten rejected, but you’re determined that this year be the year you get to the winner’s circle? Remember: Lots of grants open for applications during the first quarter!
Know and practice the 4 things grant winners have in common
Over the years we’ve looked at thousands of grant applications, and we have seen it all. The good. The bad. The ugly. And there are things that consistently set the winners apart from the losers. Put our 4 tips to work in your grant efforts, and you will be far more likely to celebrate a grant award in 2019.
You can make a well-stated case for why your department needs a grant more than another, but you also have to back up your story with hard data. Luckily, there’s lots of that out there. Demographics, critical infrastructure, economics, you name it.
Law Enforcement, EMS, Emergency Management, Fire Service. You name it, no matter what part of the Public Safety sector an agency is in, when it comes to winning grants those winning agencies have 4 things in common.
1. They all got an early start.
Winning agencies don’t wait till the last minute. They tend to start their application and narrative 3-6 months ahead of the grant program’s opening date.
2. They all know the NOFO backward and forward.
The number one reason grants are rejected is that the applying agency committed “failure to follow directions.”
Know where these directions are?
Every single direction is in one document, known as the NOFO or RFP, the Notice of Funding Opportunity and Request for Proposal. This vital document spells out every detail of a grant program. Losing agencies sometimes barely open or skim the NOFO.
Winning agencies read, re-read, and re-read these documents again, and keep them close at hand for further reference throughout their application process.
3. They know what they need and why they need it.
Winning agencies have conducted a “needs assessment” in order to identify the highest priority item not just for themselves, but that also falls into the high priority category defined by the grant funding source.
In order to be competitive, you have to know the difference between a “need” and a “want.” They are distinctively different. Only seek “high” priority projects to go after in your grant.
Be sure you have thoroughly vetted your project with agency administrators and command staff. That way, prior to you even starting the grant application, everyone is reading from the same page and knows exactly what you will be writing for and why.
4. They seek out professional training, advice, and consulting.
Winning agencies know that you don’t just train for incident response. You train for writing grants too. They get the professional expertise they need to understand the grant process. They seek professional advice and assistance to guide their efforts and check their work for mistakes prior to submission.
As an example, the wrong answer to a single question can result in lowering your grant’s priority from a “high” to a “medium or low” priority. As such, your grant would end up rejected by the computer as not being competitive enough to go further through the vetting process. All because of one error.
While no one person or no amount of preparation can guarantee a grant’s success, these 4 steps can make it far more likely that your grant will make it to the winner’s circle.
How can you put these 4 things to work in your agency’s grant efforts today?
Before we know it, summer will be on the wane. Vacations will be ending. School will be starting. Someday the temperature might even cool off…
As we start to think about fall and–can you believe it?–the year to come, it’s also a great time to talk with your department and municipality about getting grant-writing training. Since our training is only for first responders, emergency management, and public safety agencies, it’s tailored exactly for what you need to write and send out the most competitive grants you can.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and emergency management partner organizations today released two new PrepTalks from Michele Gay and Kristina Anderson focused on improving school safety.
NIMS Alert 21-18: FEMA and Emergency Manager Partners Release School Safety PrepTalks
Gay’s PrepTalk, “Rethinking School Safety”, relays her personal experience as the parent of a child killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. She highlights some of the simple solutions that students and staff needed during the crisis at Sandy Hook, and presents Safe and Sound Schools’ Framework for Comprehensive School Safety Planning and Development: Emergency Management, Community Engagement, Physical Safety, Mental and Behavioral Health, Climate and Culture, and Health & Wellness.
Anderson’s PrepTalk, “Safety is Personal: Lessons Learned as a Survivor of the Virginia Tech Tragedy”, begins with her experience of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, when she was shot three times. She translates her experience into a focus on the importance of threat assessments in schools to identify and mitigate potential threats. She explains that it’s important to improve physical safety, but it’s just as important to encourage people to monitor their environment and to build a supportive culture in a school.
The next PrepTalks Symposium will be held on September 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. All PrepTalks, question-and-answer sessions, discussion guides, and related resources are available at https://www.fema.gov/preptalks.
PrepTalks are presented by FEMA, the International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Emergency Management Association, the National Homeland Security Consortium, and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security.
What does this mean for your department?
Here are things to examine in your organization:
What are your policies and procedures for responding to incidents at schools, colleges, and universities?
How will your department coordinate with other responding agencies?
What protocols are in place to protect your personnel or minimize risk?
If you are trying to figure out how your organization can better prepare for and respond to school-related incidents, we may be able to advice on grants or other programs that may be able to assist your department.