Improve your grant game: Government offices, public safety support, and surplus auctions

Use these 3 resources for your next grant

Find ALL Government Offices for State & Local Government

Having trouble finding web sites that relate to your state and local government? I wish I had known about this site a long time ago. The State and Local Government Internet directory provides convenient one-stop access to the websites of thousands of state agencies and city and county governments.

Public Safety Foundation of America (PSFA)

The PSFA’s objective is to provide critical funding and technical support to public safety answering points (PSAPs) and local emergency response officials.

Government Surplus Auctions at Government Liquidation

The government’s own auction and surplus eBay-style site, and the exclusive partner of the US Department of Defense for the sale of military surplus.

FY2018 Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grant Application Webinars & Assistance Tools


Fire Prevention & Safety (FP&S) GrantsRemember: 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.

Details and more: AFGP Workshop Schedule at FEMA.gov

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.

All FEMA FP&S application assistance tools and resources

More about FY2018 FP&S

First responders and public safety agencies, get ready for 2019 grants


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.

How to do a needs assessment

What grants will you go for?

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!

Don’t miss another grant

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.

The 4 things grant winners have in common

Let the numbers do the talking

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.

Get the numbers and facts you need with our resource lists

Train

Just as you train for different incidents, it takes solid training to write a good grant too.

Check out our online training and national training options for what’s right for you

Need help with all this?

Our expert Senior Grant Consultants are a phone call or an email away.

Contact us today

4 things grant winners have in common


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?

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

Improve School Safety: Sandy Hook parent, Virginia Tech victim share their experiences


NIMS Alert FEMAFederal 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.

Contact us today

NIMS Alert 18-18: FEMA releases revised IS-100.c and IS-700.b online courses


FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency

FEMA is pleased to release 2 revised online NIMS courses:

IS-100.c, An Introduction to the Incident Command System, ICS 100

This course introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. The course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

IS-700.b, An Introduction to the National Incident Management System

This course provides an overview of NIMS. NIMS defines the comprehensive approach guiding the whole community–all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations (NGO), and the private sector–to work together seamlessly to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the effects of incidents. The course provides learners with a basic understanding of NIMS concepts, principles, and components.

Together, these two online courses form the foundation of NIMS training for all incident personnel.

Classroom versions will be released later this summer

The classroom versions of IS-100.c and IS-700.b are also under revision and will be released later this summer.

Please note that IS-100.c and IS-700.b are updated versions of the IS-100.b and IS-700.a courses. If you have successfully completed a previous version of these courses there is no FEMA requirement to take the revised versions of the courses. However, because these courses contain new information based on the revised NIMS, October 2017, you may find it informative to review the new versions of these courses. Previous versions of these revised courses will be archived upon release of the revised courses. This will include archiving the seven discipline-specific versions of ICS 100 for the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Workers, Healthcare/Hospitals, Higher Education, Law Enforcement, Public Works and Schools. The new ICS 100 includes discipline-specific content.

The new courses will be available through the EMI website https://training.fema.gov/is/. Students will still have access to tests for the legacy versions of these courses (IS-100.b and IS-700.a) for 30 days after release of the new courses.

An additional 28 NIMS curriculum courses are in final revisions for NIMS 2017 and will be released as they are completed and approved for release.

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

The letter you must send to SAM.gov now


SAM.govRegistration process changes in SAM.gov in effect

What’s changed

Beginning on April 27, 2018, ALL entities renewing or updating their registration at www.SAM.gov will be required to submit an original, signed notarized letter confirming the authorized Entity Administrator associated with the DUNS number before the registration is activated.

As a reminder, FEMA will not make an award to an entity until the entity has complied with the requirements to provide a valid DUNS number and maintain an active SAM registration with current information. If the applicant is noncompliant with this requirement at the time of award offer, then FEMA will determine the applicant is not qualified to receive an award

What are the circumstances behind the SAM.gov process changes?

The General Services Administration’s System for Award Management (SAM) is supporting an active investigation by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) into alleged, third party fraudulent activity in SAM. At this time, only a limited number of entities registered in SAM are suspected of being impacted by this fraudulent activity and have been notified.

What changes have been made to the SAM.gov registration process?

The proactive steps taken by SAM to address this fraudulent activity include requiring an original, signed notarized letter identifying the authorized Entity Administrator for the entity associated with the DUNS number before a new SAM.gov entity registration will be activated or an existing entity is updated or renewed.

GSA posted instructions for domestic entities and instructions for international entities for easy reference. Notarized letters must be submitted via U.S. Postal Service Mail. No electronic submissions are being accepted.

What should entities registered in SAM.gov do to protect themselves and confirm that their bank account information has not been changed?

Entities registered in SAM are advised to log into SAM and review their registration information, particularly their bank account information for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) on the financial information page.

Contact the supporting Federal Service Desk at www.fsd.gov, or by telephone at 866-606-8220 (toll free) or 334-206-7828 (internationally) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EDT), for FREE assistance.

Entities are responsible for ensuring that their information is current and correct in SAM in accordance with paragraph (b) of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause 52.232-33 or Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 25 (2 CFR § 25.310 and Appendix A), as applicable, and should routinely review such information for accuracy.

For further information read the SAM Alert at https://www.sam.gov.

To learn more about what is required in the notarized letter and mailing address, read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at https://www.gsa.gov/samupdate.

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.