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FEMA announces fire prevention and safety grants

Five priority programs include smoke alarm installations, sprinkler awareness, risk assessments, code enforcement and arson investigation

DHS/FEMA has issued the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the 2017 Fire Prevention & Safety Grant. The application period opens on Feb. 12, 2018 and close at 5 p.m. on March 16, 2018. FEMA has $34,500,000 allocated for the program and anticipates making 150 awards.

Typical fire prevention activities are designed to reach high-risk target groups and mitigate frequencies of deaths and injuries caused by fire and fire-related hazards. The safety portion of the program title denotes research and development focusing on firefighter safety equipment and related topics, and is not open to fire departments.

The FP&S grant program has been extremely competitive in the past and this year looks to follow that trend. If you averaged the grant out, there would be only about $700,000 available per state. What has clouded this figure in the past is the fact that the program is open to nonprofit groups as well as fire departments. Many of these national nonprofits have received multimillion dollar FP&S grants in the past.

FEMA has $34,500,000 allocated for the program and anticipates making 150 awards. (Photo/Pixabay)
FEMA has $34,500,000 allocated for the program and anticipates making 150 awards. (Photo/Pixabay)

FEMA instituted a Micro Grant category two years ago to assist agencies with smaller programs. The limit for the Micro Grant is $25,000 in federal share of the proposed program.

What can we apply for as part of FP&S?

The four program activities for this year’s grant are:

  1. Community Risk Reduction.
  2.  Fire & Arson Investigation.
  3.  Code Enforcement/Awareness.
  4.  National/State/Regional Programs and Studies.

Regardless of which category you choose, FEMA has placed emphasis on programs that will include:

  • A risk analysis.
  • Community partners.
  • An intervention strategy.
  • An implementation plan.
  • An evaluation.

Typically, programs that are funded under these activities should be completed in a 12-month period. However, FEMA will allow programs to operate for up to 24 months if sufficient justification is provided in your narrative for the additional time.

The Safety portion of the title of this program does not indicate that safety equipment, such as turnout gear or SCBA is an eligible activity under the FP&S program. The Safety portion is dedicated to research into firefighter safety activities and research. This portion of the grant application is only for research agencies and institutions of higher education. Fire departments are not eligible to apply.

Priorities for the FP&S Program

Funding priority projects include:

1. Smoke alarm installations: Priority will be given to programs that target a specific high-risk population to conduct both door-to-door smoke alarm installations and provide home safety inspections, as part of a comprehensive home fire safety campaign. The comprehensive home fire safety campaign should also include an educational program that is delivered to the occupant at the time of the installation and inspection.

2. Sprinkler awareness: Priority will also be given to programs that include sprinkler awareness that affect the entire community in this effort, such as educating the public about residential sprinklers, promoting residential sprinklers, and demonstrating working models of residential sprinklers.

3. Risk assessments: Priority will also be given to community-appropriate comprehensive risk assessments and risk reduction planning.  These assessments and planning should focus on the whole community.

4. Code enforcement: Priority is given to projects that focus on first time or reinstatement of code adoption and code enforcement, including Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) codes for communities with a WUI-wildfire risk.

5. Arson investigation: Priority will be given to projects that aim to aggressively investigate every fire.

Critical things to keep in mind

Regardless of which category you are applying under, please keep these details in mind:

  1. Make sure your agency has a DUNS number.
  2. Verify that your registration in SAM is current.
  3. Plan and start your application early. This is a highly competitive application that requires a great deal of planning  and data collection.
  4. Remember to have a third party review your application for completeness and accuracy.

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