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How to secure wellness and fitness AFG funding

Here’s a breakdown of what the category covers and what you need to include in your application

By Bryan Jack

Question: “We are considering applying for a wellness and fitness grant through AFG this year, are there any specifics that we should be aware of?”

It seems that everyone is very well versed in applying for vehicles, PPE, SCBA and communication equipment through the AFG grant program, but I have noticed that many agencies often overlook the wellness and fitness portion of AFG funding. Why is this? Do agencies simply focus on funding large ticket items through AFG? Do a majority of agencies already have comprehensive wellness and fitness programs in place and don’t need funding? Or has firefighter wellness and fitness simply been pushed down on the priority list? If the original intent of the AFG grant program was to increase firefighter safety then perhaps the most bang for the buck would come from funding and implementing wellness and fitness programs.

The wellness and fitness portion of AFG is available to both fire departments and non-affiliated EMS agencies. As outlined in the 2010 AFG guidance, agencies that are establishing a wellness and fitness program for the first time will be given higher priority than those that have programs in place. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a grant in this category you must agree to implement the following three items: “entry physical examinations, immunizations and periodic health screenings.” Some additional ways to score higher in review are to document in your narrative and program development that the new program will:

  • Be open and available to all agency members
  • Have mandatory participation
  • Use and implement physical agility evaluations for candidates
  • Have a plan for a training or an education program to supplement your fitness program

So, you have decided that you can meet the above requirements and you are going to write a wellness and fitness grant. What items can be requested and purchased under this aspect of AFG and what items are not eligible? Here’s a breakdown:

Eligible Not eligible
Medical services from an MD or RN Transportation Expenses
Medical Exams that meet NFPA 1582 Contract services w/ consultants and trainers
IAFC/IAFF peer fitness trainer programs Fitness club memberships
Physical fitness equipment Cash & non-cash incentives
Supplies directly related to the program Facility construction & real estate
Medical equipment


  • Check to see if you qualify
  • Choose a program (Wellness and Fitness)
  • Check to see if your chosen equipment or request will qualify
  • Review workshop presentations and guidance documents
  • Gather all required data
  • Draft a narrative

For additional information or assistance please visit

Bryan Jack is a grant consultant with and its sister site, A 15-year veteran of the fire service, Bryan is currently serving as Battalion Chief at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District in Monument, Colorado. A certified Fire Officer and Paramedic, Bryan has been successfully writing, reviewing and consulting on grants for more than five years. For any questions related to grants, you can contact Bryan at He will be featuring some of the questions – and his answers – in upcoming columns.