Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG)
B - Could fund technology as a primary component of the budget, if the agency receiving the grant chooses to use it for that purpose.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
The purpose of AFG is to enhance through financial assistance the safety of the public and firefighters regarding fire and fire-related hazards. The objective of the AFG is to award grants directly to fire departments and EMS organizations that are unaffiliated with a hospital to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel.
In 2012 there are four types of eligible applications:
- Operations and safety - The five fundable activities included in this program are: (a) firefighter training, (b) firefighter equipment, (c) firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE), (d) firefighter wellness and fitness, (e) modifications to fire stations and facilities.
- Vehicles - Due to inherent differences among urban, suburban, and rural firefighting needs, AFG has different priorities in the Firefighting Vehicles program area for departments that serve different types of communities. When requesting more than one vehicle, you will be asked to fill out a separate line item and answer all the questions including a NEW narrative for each vehicle. For example, if you are requesting to replace three ambulances, you must fill out the age and vehicle identification number (VIN) of each vehicle being replaced. You cannot use the same VIN in each line item. AFG provides grants for new, used, and refurbished vehicles. Funds may be used to refurbish a vehicle the department currently owns, but it will be eligible only if the vehicle was designed originally for firefighting. Refurbished vehicles must meet current NFPA 1912 standards.
- Emergency Medical Services - These five activities are included in this program area: (a) First responder/Emergency Medical Responder training, (b) EMS equipment acquisition, (c) EMS Personal Protective Equipment, (d) EMS Wellness and Fitness, and, (e) Modifications to EMS facilities.
Applicants may apply for as many of the activities within this program area as deemed necessary.
There are no bonuses or penalties associated with applying for multiple activities. Fire-based EMS organizations are NOT eligible to apply as a nonaffiliated EMS organization.
- Regional - Any eligible applicant, whether a fire department or a nonaffiliated EMS organization, may act as a “host applicant” and apply for large-scale or regional projects on behalf of itself and any number of organizations in neighboring jurisdictions. A regional project is one in which multiple organizations serving more than one local jurisdiction benefit directly from the activities implemented with the grant funds. A county fire department applying for a countywide communications system is NOT a regional project because it does not benefit multiple “seats-of-government.” Regional projects are designed to facilitate interoperability and efficiency among the participating jurisdictions. As such, the only activities available for application under a regional project are training, equipment acquisition (such as communications equipment) that positively affect interoperability between jurisdictions and PPE, including SCBAs.
A full list of eligible expenditures for each project type is available in this programs guidance. The full guidance is available at: http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=6007.
History of Funding
Congress appropriated $404,190,000 for the FY 2011 AFG. From this amount, $380,747,000 will be made available for AFG awards. DHS allocated $405 million for Fire and EMS Operations and Safety Grants, Firefighting and Emergency Vehicle Grants and Fire Prevention and Safety Grants (FP&S). $405 million was made available to support SAFER grants. Funds appropriated for the FY 2011 AFG (via P.L.112-10) are available for obligation and award until September 30, 2012.
For a complete list of FY11 award recipients, visit: http://www.fema.gov/firegrants/afggrants/award_year/2011/AFG2011.shtm.
For the FY 2012 program year, each eligible applicant may submit one application for each of the program areas (e.g., one application for the Vehicle Acquisition program area, one application for Operations and Safety program area, and one application for a regional project). If an eligible applicant submits multiple applications in a single program area (for example, two regional project applications for which they are a host, or two Operations and Safety applications), FEMA will deem all of the applications in that same program area to be ineligible. FEMA considers two or more separate fire departments or nonaffiliated EMS organizations sharing facilities as being one organization. This determination is designed to avoid duplication of benefits.
For example, it would not be cost-beneficial to purchase two firefighting vehicles for two fire departments sharing a facility serving the same community when so many other communities need new apparatus; nor would it be cost-beneficial to buy two sets of equipment for the same firefighters. However, Departments sharing the same facilities with separate governing agencies, manpower, apparatus, equipment, and separate primary response areas are eligible. Departments must have
their own Employer Tax Identification Numbers (EIN) and separate Fire Department Identification FDID numbers to qualify. FEMA believes two or more organizations sharing facilities should be able to satisfy all of operational needs with one program area application. Thus, if two or more organizations share facilities and each submit an application in the same program area, FEMA will deem all of those program area applications ineligible. Fire-based EMS training and equipment must be applied for under the Fire Operations and Firefighter Safety program area. A nonaffiliated EMS organization may only apply for assistance under the
Nonaffiliated EMS Operations and Safety program area.
Non-federal airport and/or port authority fire or EMS organizations are eligible only if they have a formally recognized arrangement with the local jurisdiction to provide fire suppression or emergency medical services on a first-due basis outside the confines of the airport or port facilities. Airport or port authority fire and EMS organizations whose sole responsibility is suppression of fires or EMS response on the airport grounds or port facilities are not eligible for funding under AFG.
Only fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations are eligible to apply for funding. Organizations must operate in one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of
the Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, or Puerto Rico.
The following applicant types are ineligible to apply under this program:
- Fire departments that are federal, or contracted by the Federal Government, and are solely responsible under a formally recognized agreement for suppression of fires on federal installations or land
- Fire stations that are not independent entities, but are part of, controlled by, or under the day-to-day operational direction of a larger fire department or agency
- Fire departments that are for-profit departments (i.e., do not have specific nonprofit status or are not municipally based)
- Auxiliaries, fire service organizations or associations, and state/local agencies such as a forest service, fire marshals, hospitals, and training offices
- Dive teams and search and rescue teams, or any similar organizations that do not provide medical transport
The deadline to submit an application was July 6, 2012. Similar deadlines are anticipated annually.
The estimated available funding is $285,625,000. This program has a 12 month period of performance from the date funds are awarded. Cost sharing under AFG is based on the population protected by the grantee. The cost share breakdown is as follows:
- Fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations serving populations of 50,001 people or more shall be required to provide a cost share of non-federal funds of 20 percent of the total project cost.
- Fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations serving populations between 20,001 and 50,000 people shall be required to provide a cost share of non-federal funds of 10 percent of the total project cost.
- Fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations serving areas with a population of 20,000 people or fewer shall be required to provide a cost share of non-federal funds of five percent of the total project cost.
Regional projects’ cost share will be based on the total population of the entire region, not the population of the host applicant. All non-federal cost share funds must be in cash; in-kind contributions are not acceptable. No waivers of this requirement will be granted except for applicants located in insular areas as provided for in 48 USC § 1469a, which limits the waiver to grants less than $200,000. The grantee is not required to have the cost-share at the time of application, nor at the time of award.
However, before a grant is awarded, FEMA will contact potential awardees to determine whether the grantee has the funding in hand or if the grantee has a viable plan to obtain the funding necessary to fulfill the matching requirement.
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