By Jerry Brant
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have announced the opening of the Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grant Application period effective January 3.
This program allocates $35 million for projects that support activities in two broad categories. These categories are: (1) "Fire Prevention and Safety which encompasses activities that are designed to reach high-risk target groups and mitigate incidences of deaths and injuries caused by fire and fire-related hazards; and (2) Firefighter Safety Research and Development which includes research and development activities aimed at improvements of firefighter safety."
Applications may be submitted until 5 p.m., on February 4.
Eligible applicants under the Fire Prevention and Safety Activity include fire departments and national, regional, state, local, Native American tribal organizations and/or community organizations that are known for their experience and knowledge in fire prevention and safety programs and activities.
Private and public non-profit organizations are both eligible to apply under this activity, but for-profit entities are not eligible for funding under this section.
Under the Firefighter Safety Research and Development category, eligible applicants include national, regional, state, and local organizations such as universities, public health, occupational health, and injury prevention institutions.
Fire departments are not eligible to apply for funding under the Firefighter Safety Research and Development category.
If you decide to apply under the Fire Prevention and Safety category, there are several criteria to keep in mind as you are planning and developing your application. These include:
- You must develop a comprehensive plan that addresses a defined risk and target population. Examples of a target population could include: the elderly, infants and young children, people with disabilities, people with special needs, and hearing or vision impaired individuals.
- You may only submit one application but you can request up to three projects per activity.
- You must provide a separate budget for each project.
- You must have all proposed activities completed within one year of funding.
The Fire Prevention and Safety Program has four specific categories available for project funding. These include:
- General Education/Awareness
- Code Enforcement/Awareness
- Fire and Arson Investigation
- National/State/Regional Programs and Studies
There are a number of eligible activities under the General Education/Awareness category. The first step in selecting which activity to apply under is to undertake a risk assessment of your community and to develop a comprehensive plan to address the findings of this assessment.
Your activity should be developed in direct relationship to the recommendations of your comprehensive plan. The following are possible examples of eligible activities that can be considered under this category.
Smoke Alarm Distribution and Installation
Statistics show that working smoke alarms greatly reduce the risk of fire related injuries and deaths.
DHS has placed a priority on projects that target a specific population and conduct door to door smoke alarm installation and go through a home safety inspection.
Additional consideration will be given to applicants who indicate that their project will meet the needs of the disabled in their community.
This includes installing alarms for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Be sure your application addresses who will be responsible for the installation of the alarms, and if it is not your department, how you will insure that the alarms are installed.
Also, your application should include a section on the type of batteries that you will provide with the alarms and justification if you are not providing ten-year lithium batteries as part of this project.
If you are applying under this category, your program should be directed at the entire community.
Your curriculum should educate the public about the benefit of residential sprinklers.
It should also address some of the common myths of home sprinkler systems and it should include demonstrations of working models.
Eligible projects under this activity are public education campaigns that address your community's identified risk and should be designed to promote the reduction of fire and other safety hazards.
Possible programs include home fire drills, age appropriate fire extinguisher use, and escape planning or other similar topics that can be justified in your narrative.
Eligible expenditures under this activity can include fire safety trailers, model homes and other curriculum delivery tools.
You can not use funding under this activity to help pay for operational staff of your department.
You may request funding to train department personnel on the development and delivery of educational activities.
Projects under this activity can include lock box installation, CO detectors, address markers, and other general prevention initiatives.
Wildland Fire Prevention Programs
Education and awareness projects that promote planning to protect lives and property including Firewise and Community Wildfire Protection Plans.
Funding may be used to conduct a formal or informal risk assessment.
Risk assessments are utilized to determine where vulnerabilities exist in communities and what population groups are more at risk of fire related injuries or death.
If you request funding for a formal risk assessment you may not apply for any other project under this funding cycle.
Projects under this activity should be designed to mitigate the number of fires set by children. Programs under this activity may address both treatment and intervention.
Code Enforcement and Awareness Programs
The second category of eligible activities is Code Enforcement and Awareness Programs.
A priority will be given to programs that lead to the adoption of building codes in communities that currently have none.
Projects may also include assistance for the adoption or awareness of building codes, promote code enforcement to improve engineering, or enact fire-related ordinances for new construction.
Eligible expenditures under this category include personnel costs, equipment or training assistance and support for enforcement activities.
Applications that propose Fire and Arson Investigation projects are also appropriate under FP&S. Priority will be given to proposals that have a goal of aggressively investigating every fire to determine its cause and origin.
Eligible expenditures may include: arson investigation trailers, personnel costs, training and equipment expenses, education materials, surveillance equipment, and arson prevention training.
The final project category under the Fire Prevention and Safety heading is National/State/Regional Programs and Studies.
Activities under this category must focus on residential fire issues and/or firefighter safety.
Project outcomes must address how the proposed activity will change firefighter behavior or decision making.
Some final thoughts:
- Remember to initiate your project by conducting a risk assessment to determine your target population and risk.
- Allow sufficient time to plan, develop and assemble your application
- Review the program guidance before you begin your application.
- Have someone outside your project group review your application before it is submitted.
- If you don't have enough time to assemble and submit a competitive application wait until the next funding opportunity.