FY 2018 Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG) opens soon

Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG)September 24 tentative start date

The FY 2018 AFG open application opportunity is right around the corner (September 24 tentative start date) Begin preparing for the FY 2018 open application period by reviewing the available application assistance tools below.

FY 2018 AFG Application Guidance Materials Available Now

  • 2018 AFG Cost Share Calculator
  • 2018 AFG Narrative Get Ready Guide – Application
  • 2018 AFG Narrative Get Ready Guide – Narrative
  • 2018 AFG Self Evaluation Vehicle Acquisition
  • 2018 AFG Self Evaluation Operations Safety
  • 2018 AFG Application Checklist

Live AFG Webinars

Beginning September 17, 2018, AFGP staff will host two live webinar series to educate organizations on what is new for FY 2018. The Application Workshop webinars will teach attendees about the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, its mission, which organizations and activities are eligible, and how to apply.

A Fire Program Analyst will provide updates that apply to the FY 2018 application and some help tips in preparing your application. We will also have our Application Walk-thru webinars which gives attendees a section by section view of the application with AFG staff to explain and answer questions.

FY 2018 Application Workshop Presentation

Monday, September 17th – October 5th at 9 a.m. EDT and 4 p.m. EDT

FY 2018 Application Walk-thru

Monday September 24th – October 5th at 10 a.m. EDT and 1 p.m. EDT

2 First Responder Grants Clients Win $294,100 in Round 6 AFG FY 2017 Fire Grant Awards

Two Kentucky-based First Responder Grants clients won a combined $294,100 in fire grants from the FY 2017 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program. Both awards were announced as part of the 86 Round 6 AFG fire grant awards announced Aug. 17, 2018.

A first-time AFG applicant, New Castle VFD & Rescue Squad in Kentucky will use its $84,500 fire grant to procure new SCBAs and SCBA masks.

Nelson County Fire and Rescue of Bardstown, Kentucky, had applied on their own to AFG in both 2015 and 2016. However, those efforts were not successful. In 2017 NCFR became a First Responder Grants client. We were successful in gaining them an award of $209,600 to purchase new SCBA and masks for their entire department.

To-date First Responder Grants clients and students have won a combined $1,958,149 in fire grants under FY 2017 AFG this year.

AFG fire grants are administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Sometimes departments think that they’ll never have a shot to win, or that if they’re rejected they think they shouldn’t try again,” says Kurt Bradley, Senior Grants Consultant at First Responder Grants. “These two Kentucky fire service organizations are reminders of two important things: Even a first-time applicant can win a vital fire grant. And, if you get rejected one year, the best thing to do is try again next year.”

About First Responder Grants

Public safety agencies nationwide rely on First Responder Grants for grant writing training, grant consulting, and the latest news and tips and news for writing winning grant applications. Since 1998, our Certified Grants Consultants have helped public safety agencies like yours win over $1,000,000,000 in grant funding. Our grant writing training students learn to write competitive grants that bring home additional funding dollars to your agency, but that’s not all. Students receiving First Responder Grants training in grant writing maintain a documented +80% success rate at winning a grant award after attending our classes—many on their very first application.

4 First Responder Grants Clients Win $412,971 in Round 5 AFG FY 2017 Fire Grant Awards

Fire service organizations in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Ohio became the latest First Responder Grants clients to win fire grants from from the FY 2017 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program. Four departments won a total of $412,971 in AFG grants during Round 5 awards, announced Aug. 8, 2018.

All four departments have worked with First Responder Grants to develop applications that put them in the winner’s circle.

New Hampshire’s Gilmanton Fire Department and Ohio’s Rio Grande Volunteer Fire Department will use their respective $50,000 and $25,772 AFG Operations and Safety fire grants toward purchasing equipment. Connecticut’s Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company and Ohio’s Ross Township Fire Department will use their respective $160,250 and $176,949 Operations and Safety AFG fire grants to purchase and replace Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

AFG fire grants are administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Even in the same state, multiple departments can face varying levels of need,” says Kurt Bradley, Senior Grants Consultant at First Responder Grants. “These funds to procure equipment and PPE demonstrate the commitment of America’s firefighters to do their best to protect life, property, community, and personnel.”

About First Responder Grants

Public safety agencies nationwide rely on First Responder Grants for grant writing training, grant consulting, and the latest news and tips and news for writing winning grant applications. Since 1998, our Certified Grants Consultants have helped public safety agencies like yours win over $1,000,000,000 in grant funding. Our grant writing training students learn to write competitive grants that bring home additional funding dollars to your agency, but that’s not all. Students receiving First Responder Grants training in grant writing maintain a documented +80% success rate at winning a grant award after attending our classes—many on their very first application.

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

2 First Responder Grants Clients Win $817,109 in Round 3 AFG FY 2017 Fire Grant Awards

Missouri’s Wolf Creek Fire Protection Association, Farmington, and Central Crossing Fire Protection District, Shell Knob, won a combined $817,109 during Round 3 awards from the FY 2017 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.

Both departments have worked with First Responder Grants to develop applications that put them in the winner’s circle.

Wolf Creek Fire Protection Association will use their $660,728 toward a Regional Request for PPE. Central Crossing Fire Protection District will put their $156,381 Operations and Safety fire grant toward a combination of training and PPE.

AFG fire grants are administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Regional requests can be a crucial way for departments to band together and access grant funding from sources such as AFG,” says Kurt Bradley, Senior Grants Consultant at First Responder Grants. “Replacing and updating PPE is a mission-critical way for departments to maintain readiness and safety.”

About First Responder Grants

Public safety agencies nationwide rely on First Responder Grants for grant writing training, grant consulting, and the latest news and tips and news for writing winning grant applications. Since 1998, our Certified Grants Consultants have helped public safety agencies like yours win over $1,000,000,000 in grant funding. Our grant writing training students learn to write competitive grants that bring home additional funding dollars to your agency, but that’s not all. Students receiving First Responder Grants training in grant writing maintain a documented +80% success rate at winning a grant award after attending our classes—many on their very first application.

Got a Federal grant? File this by June 30

If your agency has any Federal grants that are not officially closed, there’s a deadline looming that you need to stop and take care of now (if you haven’t already).

If your grant is open for any reason–including the unavailability of a closeout module–you must file a form SF-425 no later than June 30, 2018.

Failure to keep up with these reports may result in your remaining funds being locked, rejection of any grant currently under submission, and/or refusal to accept future grant applications.

Grants.gov has everything you need to take care of this filing, including:

  • Form SF-425 (PDF)
  • Form Schema
  • Form Items Description (FID)
  • Form Instructions

Don’t delay, file it today!

Go to Federal Financial Report SF-425

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2019 Homeland Security, Fire Grants Spending Bills

Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI)On June 21, 2018, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Homeland Security spending bill. The legislation appropriates $55.15 billion for programs and activities within the Department of Homeland Security. The Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs are funded at $700 million, split evenly between the two programs. This is the same amount Congress provided for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18).

The bill also provides $44 million for the United States Fire Administration (USFA), with an additional $1.5 million for infrastructure improvements at USFA’s Emmitsburg, MD campus. USFA received a total of $44.397 million in funding for FY18. The Urban Search and Rescue System is funded at $35.180 million in the bill, the same level of funding as appropriated for the current fiscal year.

Full story

Submit an FY 2017 FP&S Grant Application for a Risk Assessment

Fire Prevention & Safety (FP&S) GrantsAre you interested in submitting a proposal under the FY 2017 Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grant program but do not know where to start? Or perhaps you have an idea for a project that might reduce the fire and safety risks in your community, but you do not have data to support your plan. If that is the case, consider applying for a grant to conduct a community level risk assessment. The assessment of risk is an essential step to developing an effective plan to respond to the fire and safety problems in your community.

Priority for Funding

If you apply for a comprehensive risk assessment under the Community Risk Reduction Category of the FP&S Activity, your application will be considered a funding priority. See page 35 of the FY 2017 FP&S Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

Note that applications that request a risk assessment are precluded from applying for additional projects under the FP&S Activity.

Types of Costs

A grant application for a risk assessment may include:

  • Costs to support personnel salary and fringe benefits for individual(s) conducting the assessment
  • Costs to support a contractor to conduct the assessment
  • Costs for software and/or office supplies
  • Costs for grant administration

Micro Grants

A risk assessment project can be considered as a micro grant. Micro grant awards have a federal share not exceeding $25,000. Micro grant recipients still have a 5% percent cost match.

Resources

Below are some resources for applicants interested in learning more about risk assessments:

http://www.cpse.org/agency-accreditation/about-accreditation-cfai.aspx

https://strategicfire.org/community-risk-reduction/community-risk-assessment/

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Wildfire/Firewise-USA/Become-a-Firewise-USA-site

Start Your Application Now!

The FY 2017 FP&S grant application is in full swing and will close on Friday, March 16, 2018 at 5 PM ET. Please read the application assistance tools, including the FY 2017 FP&S NOFO, before you begin your application. Start your application at https://www.fema.gov/e-grant-application-access.

The ultimate resource for finding public safety grants

Budget cuts. Shrinking tax bases. A public—and sometimes, government officials—who don’t understand why your agency needs the funding it needs. Whether Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement, or Emergency Management, public safety agencies have it harder than ever. Threats to the public loom every day, yet your department lacks resources for equipment, personnel, and training.

What if you could do something about it?

Find grants fast

Here’s the thing: every year, billions of dollars are available from public, private, and non-profit sources. That doesn’t mean there’s a big pot of gold waiting around the corner for you (though we’ll wait if you want to check real quick). But it does mean that, with a little work, your department can find other ways to procure the funding you need.

The hard part, of course, is finding those funding sources. That’s why, a while back, we at First Responder Grants partnered with GrantFinder, a real-time, online, searchable database of every federal, state, foundation and corporate grant available to your community.

“In our short term of using GrantFinder, we have been able to find and apply for over 20 grants,” says Sandra Newland, Grants Manager with Laramie County, Wyoming. “These grants range in scope from law enforcement, fire, library and numerous non-profit agencies in our community.”

Through its extensive database, GrantFinder gives you the tools you need to find and track funding sources that can help your public safety agency. Instead of having to comb through the entire Internet or spend hours googling, you can leverage GrantFinder’s powerful tools to help you find grants fast.

GrantFinder can transform the way you search for grants. Even though it’s so powerful, it’s also simple to use:

  • Simple user management. One person can oversee all users and permissions directly from the application.
  • Simple setup. Simple to use. Instantly start searching for grants right out of the box. No onboarding needed. No need to upgrade plugins. Nothing to worry about.
  • The most cost-effective grant search tool on the market. No hidden costs. No setup fees.

Over 500 cities, towns, counties, regional planning organizations, and Councils of Government (COGs) have subscribed. The result? They are finding more funding sources than ever.

“GrantFinder has been very helpful in finding grants as well as finding information,” Matthew Lane, Administrative Budget Analyst with the City of Saginaw in Michigan. “It’s a great tool!”

Powerful search

Last time we checked, GrantFinder listed 7,862 grants. Luckily, you don’t have to wade through those one by one to find what’s relevant to your department.

Before you put on another pot of coffee and start burning some midnight oil, you can instead search those grants with these powerful filters:

  • Keyword
  • Grant Category
  • Funder Type
  • Funder Name
  • Application Deadline
  • Rolling Deadline
  • Matching Requirement?
  • Administering State
  • Geographic Coverage
  • Who Can Apply?

Save and share

Once you’ve found a grant that you’re interested in, you can save that to “My Grants,” a part of your GrantFinder account that gives you at-a-glance access to the grants you are researching, applying for, or following for its next application period.

Want to share that grant with your colleagues? GrantFinder will create a PDF of the grant listing that you can share with your chief, municipal officials, or other personnel.

Find specific grant sources & funding organizations too

At last check, GrantFinder listed grants and other programs from 2,619 funding sources throughout the US. That’s an average of 52 funding sources for every state in the country—and many funding sources offer multiple grants.

With those kind of numbers, odds are you’re going to find a funding source and a grant that your agency can use. And GrantFinder makes it easy: you can search funding sources by name, funder type, and funder state.

Help is a click away

Even though GrantFinder has been setup to be intuitive and easy to use, sometimes we all need a hand figuring powerful tech tools like this. A robust help section walks you through:

  • Common questions
  • Technical difficulties
  • Video tutorials of GrantFinder’s tools

And if you need help beyond that? Additional support is only an email away.

Have those grants come to you

Sure, you can hunt for grants, but wouldn’t it be nice if the grants could come to you?

With GrantFinder’s Grant Alerts, you can set up email notifications based on your needs and preferences. Once setup, Grant Alerts will monitor GrantFinder’s system and email you the latest news about programs relevant to your needs.

You can customize your email alerts by:

  • Grant Categories
  • Matching Requirement
  • Funder Type
  • Who Can Apply?
  • Geographic Coverage

From there, you can even tell GrantFinder what day or days of the week you’d like to receive your emails.

Grant Alerts turn GrantFinder into your own grant search engine, but it does the work for you—and lets you know when it’s time to go into application mode.

Don’t miss that grand deadline!

Of course, all this work means nothing if you miss the grant deadline. You know how it is: deadlines can sneak up on you… and then fly by.

To make sure you are not missing any important application deadlines, GrantFinder’s deadline calendar shows you a list of the next month’s grants, complete with their associated deadlines.

Find the grants you need to get the funding you need

Finding funding is harder than ever nowadays… but you can do something about it. You can find grants that help your agency get the equipment, personnel, and training you need.

“GrantFinder gives all of our member communities real-time access to thousands of grants,” says Greg Chew, Senior Planner with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). “It was an easy decision for our member jurisdictions to request that SACOG subscribe to the service.”

Congress Approves Continuing Resolution (CFSI)

From Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI)

Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI)On Wednesday, September 28th, both the House and Senate approved H.R. 5325, a 10-week continuing resolution funding the federal government through December 9, 2016. In addition to continuing funding for the federal government at current levels, the legislation includes full Fiscal Year 2017 funding for military construction and veterans’ programs. The bill also contains $1.1 billion in funding to respond to the Zika virus and $500 million to assist flood victims in Louisiana and other affected states.

Congress has adjourned until after the November Presidential election. Following the election, both chambers will return for a “lame-duck” session and are expected to complete work on the Fiscal Year 2017 funding bills. Full story