Never miss another fire grant application period

SAFER, The Fire Prevention & Safety Grant and AFG 2019 are all on the horizon, start the application process today

Recently, the 2018 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program opened and closed within a 29-day period. There was approximately a 10-day notice before the grant period opened. Were you prepared or were you one of those who spent the entire period complaining about how quickly the program opened and closed?

If I had a dollar for every complaint, I heard during the 2018 AFG grant period, I would be a rich man right now. Doesn’t FEMA realize that October is Fire Prevention month? Don’t they know that my state grant is due this month? Doesn’t FEMA realize that there were two hurricanes? And on and on the complaints went.

Believe me, FEMA realizes all those things and more. The real question is, when are potential applicants going to realize that there is no reason for them to be surprised by grant openings and closings?

If you follow these simple suggestions, there will be no reason for you to be submitting your grant applications on the last day ever again.
If you follow these simple suggestions, there will be no reason for you to be submitting your grant applications on the last day ever again. (Photo/USAF)

Last minute grant filers

As typical, FEMA was bombarded with last-minute filers for the AFG program. In fact, 4,000 applications were initiated in the last 24 hours of the grant period. Some applicants who tried to file their application after 4:30 pm had problems because the system was so clogged with applicants. Many applicants were never able to file because of the overload.

No reason to be surprised anymore

Recently, FEMA sent an email blast announcing its schedule for the two remaining 2018 programs. The Fire Prevention & Safety Grant will run throughout the month of November and the SAFER Grant application will open mid-December. For those of you who didn’t get your 2018 AFG grant filed or if you want to get a head start so you don’t get caught by surprise, my crystal ball is telling me that a late spring 2019 opening is very realistic.

Fire Prevention & Safety

The objective of the FY 2018 Fire Prevention & Safety Grant Program is to award grants directly to eligible applicants in order to carry out:

  • fire prevention and education
  • fire code enforcement
  • fire/arson investigation
  • firefighter safety and health programming
  • prevention efforts
  • research and development

Please note that the safety portion of the grant title does not mean that this grant provides safety equipment to fire departments. The safety portion relates to research and development of safety related programs and equipment for firefighters.


The goal of the SAFER grant program is to assist local fire departments with staffing and deployment capabilities to respond to emergencies and ensure that communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Local fire departments accomplish this by improving staffing and deployment capabilities, so they may more effectively and safely respond to emergencies. With enhanced staffing levels, recipients should experience a reduction in response times and an increase in the number of trained personnel assembled at the incident scene.

Volunteer and combination departments, along with local, regional, state and national originations, are eligible to apply for SAFER funding to recruit new firefighters and to retain existing firefighters. The applicant can tailor a program for their area that can last up to four years. The purpose of this funding is to create a net increase in the number of trained, certified and competent firefighters capable of safely responding to emergencies within the recipient’s response area.

Start the grant application process today

Here are some sections of the 2018 SAFER and FP&S applications that you can address now. You can even get a head start on 2019 AFG.

Since October 2003, all federal grant applications must contain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System number. There is no charge to obtain a DUNS number, and it is your organization's responsibility to obtain one. FEMA will not grant extensions to applicants who are unable to obtain a DUNS number prior to the end of the application period.

Apply for a DUNS number as soon as possible online or by calling 866-705-5711.

I know everyone is growing tired of hearing about SAM but this past round, AFG applications were denied because of SAM registration problems. Make sure your SAM registration is current.

You can also get the demographic data for your coverage area organized. This will help you to discuss your community and your need for financial assistance. As 2018 ends, you can tabulate alarm data and you can examine your department’s profit and loss statement. Your grant committee can meet and discuss possible projects and you can begin to perform market research once you have identified your project.

If you follow these simple suggestions, there will be no reason for you to be submitting your grant applications on the last day ever again.

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