Assistance to Firefighters Grant

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Administered by:

US Federal Government Agency (see all agencies)
Department Of Homeland Security
CFDA #: 97.044

Purpose of this program:

To provide direct assistance, on a competitive basis, to fire departments of a State or tribal nation for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire-related hazards.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

Firefighting Operations and Firefighter Safety, Eligible Uses: Training, Wellness and Fitness, Firefighting Equipment, Personal Protective Equipment, Modifications to Firefighting Facilities for Firefighter Safety, Other Equipment and Supplies; Restrictions: One-year Funds, Funding Restrictions and/or Limits on Certain Equipment, Personnel, Construction, Vehicles. Protecting the Public from Fire and Fire Related Hazards, Eligible Uses: Public Awareness, Public Education, Inspector Certifications, Building Code Development and Enforcement, Arson Prevention and Detection, Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Medical Vehicles, Training, Equipment/Props/Supplies, Transportation, Contracts/Consultants, Program Personnel; Restrictions: One-year Funds, Funding Limits on Certain Equipment, Construction. Firefighting Vehicles, Eligible Uses: Pumpers/Engines, Tankers/Tenders, Brush Trucks/Attack Pumpers, Rescue, Quints, Aerial Apparatus, Hazardous Material, Ambulance/Transport, Communications/Command, Foam Units, Boats, Equipment for the Vehicle; Restrictions: Aircraft, Hazardous Material, Construction, Personnel, 1- year Funding, Funding Limits on Certain Equipment.

Who is eligible to apply...

Eligible applicants for this grant program are limited to fire departments located in the fifty United States, tribal nations, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. A fire department is defined as an agency or organization that has a formally recognized arrangement with a State or local authority (city, county, parish, fire district, township, town, or other governing body) to provide fire suppression, fire prevention and rescue services within a fixed geographical area. An emergency medical services unit can apply for assistance provided the unit falls organizationally under the auspices of a fire department as defined above. Also, States, Tribal Nations, U.S. Territories, and national, local, or community organizations, that currently have a fire prevention or fire safety program or activity focused on the prevention of injuries to children from fire, are eligible for funding under this grant program to expand or enhance their existing fire prevention or fire safety program. Fire departments, which are Federal or contracted by the Federal government and whose sole responsibility is suppression of fires on Federal installations, are not eligible for funding under this grant program. Also not eligible for this program are Ambulance Services, Rescue Squads, Auxiliaries, Dive Teams, Urban, Search and Rescue Teams, Fire Service Organizations and Associations, and State/local agencies such as Forest Service, Fire Marshals, Hospitals, and Training Facilities. Tribal fire departments are not eligible to apply for functions, activities, or materials under this program that are funded by other Federal agencies.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:

Each applicant must certify: 1) that they are an eligible applicant, i.e., a fire department, as defined above; 2) as to the characteristics of their community, i.e., Urban, Suburban, or Rural; 3) to the population size of the community served; and, 4) to the type of department, i.e., volunteer/combination or career.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

Eligible applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for this program on-line via an "e-grants" application process. The information requested on-line is an electronic version of the SF-424 (for background/contact information), FEMA Form 20-20 (for budget information), and FEMA Form 20-16A (for assurances and certifications). Each applicant will also be asked some additional questions which are designed to provide general, profile-type information on the applicant. Then, the applicants are required to answer some specific questions that are relative to the activities they plan to carry out with the grant funds. In addition to the activity-specific questions, the applicants are also required to provide a five-page-or-less narrative on their planned activity that explains the activity, the applicant's financial need, and the benefits to be derived from the costs of the activity.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

Awards will be made on a competitive basis. Each application will be evaluated based on the answers to the activity- specific questions. The applications that best address the program's established priorities will be deemed to be in the "competitive range" and subject to a second level of review. This second level of review is conducted via a panel of subject-matter experts that will assess the applications' merits with respect to the detail provided in the narrative on the activity, the applicant's financial need, and purported benefit to be derived from the cost. The subject-matter experts will independently score each application before them and then discuss the merits/shortcomings of the applications in order to reconcile any major discrepancies. A consensus is not required. Once every application in the competitive range has been paneled, the applications are ranked according to the average score awarded by the panel. The ranking will be summarized in a Technical Report prepared by the Fire Grants Program Branch. The Fire Grants Program Branch will then make award recommendations to the Grants Management Branch of the Financial and Acquisition Management Division. The Grants Management Branch then contacts the applicant to discuss and/or negotiate the merits of the application and then make the award.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...


This program has a 30-day application period. All applications must be submitted during the application period and no applications will be accepted if not submitted within the 30-day period. As of this writing, the application period for the FY 2004 competitive equipment, training, EMS, apparatuses and other operations activities had been held in March 2004. A second application period, for national, regional, State or local organizations recognized for their expertise in fire prevention activities had not been scheduled.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

The range of time it took us to approve an award last year was 90 to 150 days.

Preapplication Coordination

There is no preapplication form required under this grant program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.


Applicants that were denied grants can request a reconsideration of the decision. Such a request may be successful if it is determined that the rating criteria were not appropriately applied, or there was a flaw in the competitive process that unfairly disadvantaged the applicant, or there was human error in the processing of the grant application. Requests for reconsideration must be submitted in writing within 30 days of the date of the notification of denial.

Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


Grant period is 12 months for this program. In the event that the grantees are unable to fulfill their grant obligations within the 12-month grant period, they may request an extension of the performance period. Such requests will be considered and approved based on the written justification.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

The ultimate beneficiaries of this program are the local or tribal communities serviced by the fire department including, but not limited to, local businesses, homeowners and property owners. Additionally, children under 16 years-of-age, seniors, and firefighters would be the beneficiaries since these groups are the targeted "risk groups" for the fire prevention program.

About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Project Grants

The funding, for fixed or known periods, of specific projects. Project grants can include fellowships, scholarships, research grants, training grants, traineeships, experimental and demonstration grants, evaluation grants, planning grants, technical assistance grants, survey grants, and construction grants.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

The range of financial assistance (Federal share) granted in this program's first year was $900 to $700,000. The average award was approximately $51,000. Average size of awards has increased due to flexibilities that have been built into an applicant's scope of application (e.g., combining training and equipment).

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.


(Grants) FY 03 $345,000,000; FY 04 est $720,000,000; and FY 05 est $720,000,000.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification

70-0700-0-1-999; 70-0705-0-1-999.

Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Training: A fire department where a high percentage of firefighting staff needs basic firefighting training. Wellness and Fitness: A fire department that wants to establish a wellness and fitness program that offers an entry-level physical and a job-related immunization program. Firefighting Vehicle: A fire department that has few or no vehicles of the type for which they are applying and whose existing fleet is old with high mileage and/or high volume of calls. Firefighting Equipment: A fire department that needs basic firefighting equipment to satisfy a statutory requirement but has never been able to purchase such equipment. Personal Protective Equipment: A fire department where a high percentage of firefighting staff has never had personal protective equipment and wants to purchase enough equipment to protect all of the firefighting staff. Fire Prevention Programs: A fire department that wants to establish a public education program that focuses on children under 16 years of age, seniors, and/or firefighters, in a community that has no such program.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

In fiscal year 2001, FEMA received 31,295 grant requests from 18,915 different fire departments that totaled more than $3.0 Billion. FEMA awarded 1,886 grants to fire departments and fire service organizations that totaled $96,586,668 in Federal assistance. In FY 2002, the AFG was appropriated $360M. This year, it became a totally online grant management system. The program combined various elements, and allowed departments to submit only one application. The number of applicants increased to 19,500. The program awarded over $346M for 5422 grant awards. Thus far, for the FY 2003 program, the AFG has awarded 8,772 grants for nearly $700M. FY 2004 awards will start in June 2004.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

Every application is subject to a preliminary screening to determine the degree to which the application meets the program's published criteria. The priorities of the program will be published in the Federal Register and other program guidance. A panel of subject matter experts then reviews the applications that best address the program's priorities. The panel rates each application based on how clearly the applicant's project narrative explains: 1) the proposed use of funds, 2) the applicant's financial need, and 3) the benefits to be derived from the project costs. The applications with the highest rating from the panels were recommended for award.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

This program has a 12- month performance period within which the grantee must obligate their grant funds. Grantees then have an additional 90 days to liquidate their grant funds after the end of the performance period. Assistance is disbursed on a reimbursable basis or, if warranted, the funds can be disbursed on an immediate needs basis. All grant funds are electronically transferred to the grantee's bank account via direct deposit.

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. Applicants who protect a population of 50,000 or less are required to provide a nonfederal cost-share of not less than 10 percent of the total award. Applicants who protect a population in excess of 50,000 are required to provide a nonfederal cost-share of not less than 30 percent of the total award. This program also has a Maintenance of Effort requirement intended to ensure that the Federal funds are used to supplement, not supplant, existing resources.

A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...


The bulk of the awards in this program are for the purchase of equipment or vehicles and we expect that they will be accomplished within a short period of time. Therefore, we are only requiring these grantees to submit a final financial report and a final program summary narrative. Grantees whose project is expected to extend throughout the performance period are required to submit a progress report every 6 months and a final financial report and a final program summary narrative.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.


Audits will be conducted on the grantees at the discretion of the Office of Inspector General. The grant program office will conduct grantee monitoring or oversight activities on all grantees. These activities will range from a teleconference to a site visit. The program specialists, the grants management specialists, or regional personnel assigned to this function will conduct these monitoring activities. Additionally, in accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular A-133 (Revised, June 24, 1997), entitled "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that receive financial assistance of $300,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $300,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in the Circular.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).


Grantees are required to maintain a grant file for 3 years after the end of the grant's performance period. The records that should be maintained in the file should be any records that support any and all activities conducted on behalf of the grant. These records should include, but not be limited to, the grant agreement, correspondence, procurement procedures, bids and quotes, personnel time and attendance (supporting any personnel expenses charged to the grant), requests for advances, disbursement records, etc.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.



Defense Authorization Bill of 2001, Public Law 106-398, which amended Section 33 of the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974, 15 U.S.C. 2201 et seq.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

44 CFR Part 152, Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

Detailed information about the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be obtained from the FEMA Fire Grant Liaisons in FEMA's regional offices. See Additional Contact Information - FMR Help for a listing of FEMA Regional Office addresses.

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Department of Homeland, Security 245 Murray Drive, SW., Washington, DC 20528. Telephone: (202) 282-8000.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: