Today the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released new award procedures for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.
In previous years, departments being considered for AFG awards would receive an email with a series of questions concerning their banking information and their willingness to meet certain requirements of the program. Within a few weeks, the department would receive a call from its senator or congressman announcing the grant. The procedure is about to change, and if you submitted a 2011 AFG application, here are a few items you need to be aware of:
If your application is approved for an award, the person you listed on your application as the primary contact will receive a single email notification from email@example.com. A copy of this message will also be sent to your department’s AFG Mail Center. To access your AFG Mail Center, log into the FEMA site you used to submit your 2011 AFG application. The first screen you will see is your application status page. This page contains all of the AFG, SAFER and FP&S applications that you have ever filed electronically. At the top of this page, you should notice a section titled Mail Center. Select this option and it will display any mail that has been sent to you regarding your application.
You will only receive one email notice from FEMA announcing the approval of your grant. Within 30 days, you must either accept or decline this award utilizing the e-Grant application system. Instructions on how to do this are contained in the award email.
If the primary contact does not formally accept or decline the award within 30 days of notification, the grant award will automatically be withdrawn.
FEMA anticipates that award announcements will begin within a few weeks and continue on a rolling basis into 2012 until all AFG funds have been awarded. At FireGrantsHelp, we realize that this is one of the busiest times of the year both personally and departmentally. We have several suggestions to help your department deal with the new AFG award procedures:
Make sure the person listed as the primary contact on your AFG application is aware of the award changes announced by FEMA.
Respond to any emails from FEMA in a timely fashion to allow compliance with the 30-day rule.
Have your department’s primary contact or another designated member check the AFG Mail Center once a week to ensure your department's receipt of any messages from FEMA.
If your department has not registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) please do so immediately by going to https://www.bpn.gov/ccr/default.aspx. If your registration is not current, you will not be able to draw grant funds if you receive an award.
Please share this information with your department and with anyone you know who filed a 2011 AFG application. We will update you with any additional information as it becomes available.
About the author
Jerry Brant is a Senior Grant Consultant and Grant Writer with FireGrantsHelp and EMSGrantsHelp. He has 40 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter in rural 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 currently an active member of the Patton Fire Company #1. For 20 years, Jerry was employed as the executive director and then president of a small non-profit community development corporation. Jerry has successfully written more than $52 million in grant applications and proposals. Jerry can be reached at Jerry.Brant@FireGrantsHelp.com.
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