The Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) close on Feb. 2, 2018, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is hosting a slate of application support webinars this month for each region. Participation in these webinars can provide a wealth of useful information for developing AFG applications.
This year’s application will feature several changes to the equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) activities of the Operation and Safety portion of the grant.
FEMA has made these changes and revisions to elicit a clearer understanding of why the applicant is requesting financial assistance for the request. If you are not cognizant of these changes, then you may find it difficult to accurately answer the questions in that section of the application.
Over the past few years, FEMA has developed an easy-to-understand matrix for those departments applying for an equipment project. The matrix can be found beginning on page 32 of the funding announcement. The matrix indicates the type of basic equipment and what priority level it has within AFG.
Equipment either carries a high, medium or low priority. Because of funding restrictions, the emphasis is placed on high priority items. The matrix displays an age category to use in determining equipment priority.
Tips for Successful Fire Grants Applications
Remember to start your application early. There are no bonus points for submitting after 3 p.m. on Feb. 2. When completed, please get another set of eyes to look over your application.
Keep the following tips in mind to strengthen your application:
- When you encounter any reference to the age of equipment or PPE in the application, you will utilize 2018 as your reference point for determining age. For all other references or questions about age, you will utilize 2017, as that is the year of the application.
- Vehicle-mounted exhaust systems are now listed under the equipment activity.
- The following items are now considered a medium priority for fire department applicants: props, simulators, mobile data terminals, computers used in training and mobile computing devices used on scene.
- EMS training aids with an age category of “short” (five to seven-year life expectancy) are now eligible expense for FY 2017 (i.e., CPR mannequins, airway training equipment, IVs, etc.).
- Monitoring and sampling devices are now categorized as “sampling devices.” This was done to avoid confusion within similar specialized monitoring devices, for use in medium and low priorities.
- Nozzles, appliances and foam inductors are all high priorities and listed in one category. These items were combined and defined with an age category of long.
- Wellness and Fitness category activities are now eligible when applying for a Micro Grant.
- Cancer screening is now available under the Wellness and Fitness activity.
- All NFPA 1583 training has been moved to Wellness and Fitness. This request was previously requested under Training.
Finally, invest an hour or two of your life and take part in one of the webinars that FEMA is offering on the 2017 application. It is the best advice that I can give you. These sessions offer you the opportunity to hear an explanation of the application, details about eligible activities and up-to-date information directly from FEMA’s staff.
About the Author
Jerry Brant is a senior grant consultant and grant writer with FireGrantsHelp and EMSGrantsHelp. He has 46 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter in West-Central Pennsylvania. He is a life member of the Hope Fire Company of Northern Cambria, where he served as chief for 15 years. He is an active member of the Patton Fire Company 1 and serves as safety officer. Jerry graduated from Saint Francis University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. In 2003 he was awarded a James A Johnson Fellowship by the FannieMae Foundation for his accomplishments in community development. He has successfully written more than $70 million in grant applications. Jerry can be reached at Jerry.Brant@FireGrantsHelp.com.