Will the border wall take your fire grant funding? New law says no

FDs, if you’ve been worried about grant funding getting reallocated for the border wall, some recent news should set you at ease.

President Trump has signed into law the Consolidated Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations Act. This $333 billion spending package includes multi-million dollar increases to many grant programs. Here’s a breakdown of funding levels for various grants and agencies:

 * AFG and SAFER have been funded at $350M FOR EACH PROGRAM, which is level funding from 2018

 * State Fire Assistance program funded at $81 million, which is up $1 million from FY18

 * State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) funded at $525 million, which is $18 million up from FY18

 * United States Fire Administration (USFA) funded at $44.179 million (plus another $1.5 million for National Fire Academy infrastructure improvements). FY18 funding was $42.9 million

 * Urban Area Search and Rescue System funded at $45.18 million, which is $10.15 million up from FY18

 * Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funded at $640 million, which is $10 million up from FY18

* Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) program funded at $17 million, which is $1 million up from FY18

The upshot?

These crucial grant programs are healthy. You can safely ignore any doom-and-gloom nonsense circulating in the media or around the station table.

If you haven’t already, get working on those SAFER applications, start prepping for FY19 AFG, and look into any other Federal program that might benefit your department.

Congress and the President have done their job on allocating the funds. Now it’s your turn to get to work on winning those grants!

FY 2019 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER)

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants

$350,000,000 in fire jobs grants

Grant Website

Grant Guidelines

Grant Application Period: 8:00 a.m. ET, Friday, February 15, 2019 — 5:00 p.m. ET., Friday, March 22, 2019

NOFO Number: DHS-18-GPD-083-000-99

300 awards estimated for US Fire Service Organizations

The purpose of the SAFER Grant Program is to provide 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.

The objective of the SAFER grant program is to assist local fire departments with staffing and deployment capabilities to respond to emergencies and assure that communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Local fire departments accomplish this by improving staffing and deployment capabilities so they may more effectively and safely respond to emergencies. With enhanced staffing levels, recipients should experience a reduction in response times and an increase in the number of trained personnel assembled at the incident scene.

Kurt says…

These are the areas where the NOFO indicated that the information is different from previous years

Applicants may now request to waive the position cost limit for new firefighters.

Pursuant to IB 427, applicants must indicate when they apply for an award whether they are requesting a waiver and what requirement they seek to waive.

The simplified acquisition threshold increased to $250,000.

The definition of “new recruit.”

Updated prioritization and eligibility tables.

What this grant does for your agency

Although not required for a SAFER grant, it is preferable that the enhanced staffing levels of all SAFER recipients should ensure that all first-arriving apparatus are staffed with a minimum of four qualified personnel (to meet National Fire Protection Association.

(NFPA) 1710/1720 standards) who are capable of initiating the suppression response. Ultimately, SAFER recipients should achieve more efficient responses and safer incident scenes, thereby ensuring communities have improved protection from fire and fire-related hazards.

SAFER offers grants to support projects in two activities. This NOFO provides potential eligible applicants with application requirements and details for processing and evaluating applications for financial assistance for both of these activity 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

Agencies awarded the FY 2019 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) receive funds to recruit and hire firefighters.

Only a limited number of grants will be awarded:

Available funding for the NOFO: $350,000,000

Projected number of Awards: 300

Grant Eligibility

For full eligibility details, see the Grant Guidelines.

About FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) helps people before, during, and after disasters. More

Grant Deadline

Grant applications are due no later than 11:59 p.m. EST, Friday, Mar. 22, 2019.

Apply

Funding Opportunity Number: DHS-18-GPD-083-000-99

Apply for the FY 2019 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER)

JUST ANNOUNCED! FY 2018 SAFER Application Period: Feb. 15–Mar. 22, 2019

The FY 2018 SAFER application period will open on Friday, February 15, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. ET and will close on Friday, March 22, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Start planning your FY 2018 SAFER Grant application now by reviewing the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), and Economic Hardship Waivers Information Bulletin (IB), and technical assistance tools below. These tools were produced specifically to help potential applicants begin to plan their 2018 applications ahead of the application period. The tools can be viewed on the AFG website or downloaded to your computer.

SAFER Grants Help Desk: If you have questions about the technical assistance tools listed below, call or e-mail the SAFER Grants help Desk. The toll-free number is 1-866-274-0960; the e-mail address for questions is firegrants@fema.dhs.gov.

Round 10 FY 2017 SAFER Fire Jobs Grant Winners Announced

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) GrantsFEMA has announced Round 10 fire jobs grant winners for the FY 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program. FEMA awarded 18 fire service hiring grants totaling $19,655,982, including:

  • Garfield Fire Department, Garfield, NJ, Recruitment, $88,000
  • Micro Volunteer Fire Department, Micro, NC, Recruitment, $213,792
  • Mason County Fire District #4, Shelton, WA, Hiring, $336,753
  • Hardin County Emergency Services District #2, Lumberton, TX, Hiring, $488,874
  • Pelham Fire Department, Pelham, NH, Hiring, $682,991
  • International Association of Fire Chiefs, Fairfax, VA, Recruitment, $1,017,513
  • Pelham Fire Department, Pelham, AL, Hiring, $1,334,465
  • Gila River Indian Community Fire Department, Chandler, AZ, Hiring, $2,565,469
  • University City Fire Department, University City, MO, Hiring, $1,914,395
  • Coppell Fire Department, Coppell, TX, Hiring, $2,893,637

Subsequent SAFER fire jobs grants will be announced on Fridays but may not occur every week. Check First Responder Grants each week for the latest SAFER fire grant news.

Round 9 FY 2017 SAFER Fire Jobs Grant Winners Announced

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) GrantsFEMA has announced Round 9 fire jobs grant winners for the FY 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program. FEMA awarded 24 fire service hiring grants totaling $14,121,763, including:

  • Abingdon Fire Company, Inc., Abingdon, MD, Recruitment, $98,200
  • City of Girard Fire Department, Girard, OH, Hiring, $281,247
  • Hazleton Fire Department, Hazleton, PA, Hiring, $360,612
  • South Pasadena Fire Department, South Pasadena, FL, Hiring, $453,941
  • Metro North Fire Protection District, St. Louis , MO, Hiring, $754,800
  • City of Kennewick Fire Department, Kennewick, WA, Hiring, $2,338,881
  • Graham Fire & Rescue, Graham, WA, Hiring, $3,570,493

Subsequent SAFER fire jobs grants will be announced on Fridays but may not occur every week. Check First Responder Grants each week for the latest SAFER fire grant news.

Round 8 FY 2017 SAFER Fire Jobs Grant Winners Announced

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) GrantsFEMA has announced Round 8 fire jobs grant winners for the FY 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program. FEMA awarded 96 fire service hiring grants totaling $90,892,746, including:

  • Village of Elmira Heights Fire Department, Elmira Heights, NY, Recruitment, $9,000
  • Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department , Blacksburg, SC, Recruitment, $46,000
  • Indian River Volunteer Fire Company, Millsboro, DE, Recruitment, $125,788
  • Steven’s County Fire Protection Dist. 1, Clayton, WA, Recruitment, $318,000
  • Teays Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Scott Depot, WV, Hiring, $504,574
  • York County Fire and Life Safety, Yorktown, VA, Hiring, $698,314
  • Union City Fire Department, Union City, GA, Hiring, $841,750
  • Danville Fire Department, Danville, IL, Hiring, $1,143,101
  • Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, Las Vegas, NV, Hiring, $2,297,185
  • Memphis Fire Department, Memphis, TN, Hiring, $8,111,959

Subsequent SAFER fire jobs grants will be announced on Fridays but may not occur every week. Check First Responder Grants each week for the latest SAFER fire grant news.

Round 7 FY 2017 SAFER Fire Jobs Grant Winners Announced

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) GrantsFEMA has announced Round 7 fire jobs grant winners for the FY 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program. FEMA awarded 80 fire service hiring grants totaling $35,367,079, including:

  • Dexter Area Fire Department, Dexter, MI, Recruitment, $20,000
  • Stanton Township Volunteer Fire Dept., Inc., Houghton, MI, Recruitment, $54,100
  • Hanford Fire Department, Hanford, CA, Hiring, $550,079
  • City of Sherman, Sherman, TX, Hiring, $742,879
  • City of Harvey, Harvey, IL, Hiring, $921,300

Subsequent SAFER fire jobs grants will be announced on Fridays but may not occur every week. Check First Responder Grants each week for the latest SAFER fire grant news.

Firefighter jobs: How SAFER grants can help you staff for compliance with NFPA 1710–1720

Firefighters

 

The Fund Finder News, by Kurt Bradley, Senior Grants Consultant, First Responder Grants

Firefighter jobs: The need is there—but do you have the funding to bring on the personnel?

NFPA 1710 and NFPA 1720 lay out guidelines for staffing levels for fire departments to maintain proper fireground safety during responses to structure fires. For example, if you’re responding to a structure fire at a 2,000 square foot, two-story, single-family home, here’s the staffing NFPA says you should have:

  • In an urban area (>1,000 people/square mile), at least 15 staff should respond within 9 minutes, 90% of the time
  • In a suburban area (500–1,000 people/square mile), at least 10 staff should respond within 10 minutes, 80% of the time
  • In a rural area (<500 people/square mile), at least 6 staff should respond within 14 minutes, 80% of the time
  • In a remote area (travel distance greater than 8 miles), at least 4 staff should respond, 90% of the time

Are you now looking around the fire hall and thinking, “Well that’s nice, but where am I going get the people to fill those boots?”

The SAFER way to staff fire jobs

Every year, fire service organizations around the country recruit and hire personnel. That’s not because they all suddenly discovered gold in the back of the bunker gear lockers either. It’s because they received SAFER grants, ranging from a few thousand dollars, to millions of dollars in direct grant funding to the department.

Administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the annual Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants make it possible for fire service organizations, like yours, to add personnel.

Before you apply for a SAFER grant

The SAFER program accepts applications once a year. In the meantime, that gives you ample opportunity to get ready for when the gates open.

Career, volunteer, and combination departments will all have to take different approaches in their grant application and narrative. (If you want to know more, you can contact one of our Senior Grant Consultants for advice.)

If you don’t have the numbers, you have the need

Take these early steps to figure out if you might be able to make a case for adding firefighter jobs with SAFER grant funding.

  1. Examine your current personnel levels and past personnel levels year to year.
  2. Review NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720: Are your staffing levels in compliance?
  3. Analyze your call logs for the past three years. How many times have you had insufficient numbers of personnel responding to an incident?

Having adequate personnel decreases the time it takes to respond to an incident and get a fire under control, which also decreases the chance of harm to firefighters and the public you are supposed to be protecting.

If you don’t have the numbers, you have the need. Now you can build your case for why your department should receive a SAFER grant.

Make sure your SAFER grant application includes…

Remember, your grant application isn’t you asking for a handout. Your SAFER grant application’s job is to paint a picture of why your department is in need, and to offer a solution to the problem you’ve outlined. SAFER funding is just to help you carry the ball into the end zone.

When working on your SAFER grant, any solution you offer must:

  • Result in compliance with NFPA1710/1720 at least 85% of the time
  • Reflect that you reviewed records for the past three years
  • Determine how many times your department did not comply and what that percentage is

The lower the compliance rate, the better chance you have to get funded. Again though, remember that your solution must gain your department NFPA 1710/1720 compliance at least 85% of the time.

Keeping those jobs after SAFER funding is essential

SAFER isn’t a permanent solution to your staffing levels though. The intent of the program is to help get your department to better staffing levels. It’s your department’s responsibility to keep those jobs going after the SAFER funding period.

As part of your application, detail out how your department will continue funding these new firefighter jobs beyond the SAFER grant’s funding timeframe. You need to offer a sound sustainability plan, such as funds coming from:

  • Bonds retiring
  • Tax abatements from lured industrial facilities or new developments expiring
  • Attrition through retirement
  • Measured economic growth
  • Completion of projects that are already underway that will yield tax revenue upon completion. This cannot be “maybe projects,” though. Work must be underway, with a completion date prior to the grant performance period ending, in order for this to be considered a viable source of revenue to a proposed sustainability plan.

Better staffing and improved incident response

SAFER is a competitive program. But for a department that can demonstrate need and show a path forward beyond the SAFER grant, odds are decent that you just might be filling some more fire boots, complying with NFPA staffing guidelines, and improving your overall department safety and incident response.

If you wish to start considering a SAFER grant for your department for hiring firefighters, it would be beneficial for you to read the Notice of Funding Opportunity for last year’s SAFER grant. Typically the rules don’t change much from year to year.

Download a pdf of the 2017 NOFO for SAFER here

Or, copy-and-paste this link this into your browser:

https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1520885778340-63be0643f104f6e5e598312a80caf2bf/FY2017SAFERNOFOFINAL.pdf

Round 4 FY 2017 SAFER Fire Jobs Grant Winners Announced

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) GrantsFEMA has announced Round 4 fire jobs grant winners for the FY 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program. FEMA awarded 12 fire service hiring grants totaling $7,454,572, including:

  • LaFayette Fire Department, LaFayette, GA, Hiring, $184,593
  • Bureau of Fire-City of Butler, Butler, PA, Hiring, $383,875
  • Superior Township Fire Department, Ypsilanti, MI, Hiring, $616,761
  • City of Helena Fire Department, Helena, MT, Hiring, $811,410
  • St George City Of, St. George, UT, Hiring, $993,672

Subsequent SAFER fire jobs grants will be announced on Fridays but may not occur every week. Check First Responder Grants each week for the latest SAFER fire grant news.

Round 1 FY 2017 SAFER Fire Jobs Grant Winners Announced

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) GrantsFEMA has announced Round 1 fire grant winners for the FY 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program. FEMA awarded 2 fire grants totaling $1,069,219, including:

  • City of La Feria, La Feria, TX, Hiring, $244,193
  • East Cleveland Fire Department, East Cleveland, OH, Hiring, $825,026

Subsequent SAFER fire grants will be announced on Fridays but may not occur every week. Check First Responder Grants each week for the latest SAFER news.