Firefighters and first responders are pillars in our communities whose actions save lives. Ensuring that these emergency response workers have the funding and equipment they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently is critical, but not always easy to attain.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) from FEMA helps firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, training and other resources for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. The AFG Program represents part of a comprehensive set of measures authorized by Congress to enhance operations, foster interoperability and strengthen community preparedness.
This year, there is $414 million in AFG funding available to eligible applicants, including fire departments, non-affiliated emergency medical services organizations and State Fire Training Academies who meet the extended Jan. 21 deadline. Nearly 2500 grants will be awarded with max grant award amounts at $1 – $4.6 million, depending on service area, to be paid out over 24 months. The funding requires up to 15 percent cost sharing based on the jurisdiction population.
Using the Funding for Voice and Video Infrastructure
In addition to facility/vehicle enhancements and supporting training, wellness and fitness programs for these emergency response organizations, AFG funds can also be utilized to purchase equipment for collaboration and communication. Having professional-grade voice and video solutions in place is critical to crack the code for delivering exceptional service at a time when budgets are tight and demands on city resources have never been greater. Effectively utilizing video conferencing can play a significant role in enhancing interdepartmental communications, improving training and reducing travel, which leads to less fuel consumption and vehicle wear and tear.
Which Organizations are Eligible?
To be eligible, applicants must be located in the U.S., or are a fire department in the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any federally recognized Indian tribe or tribal organization.
There are opportunities for regional applications where a fire department or a nonaffiliated EMS (NAEMS) organization can act as a host and apply for funding on behalf of itself and any number of other eligible organizations!
How Poly Can Help – Taking Action to Access the AFG
Should an eligible organization wish to access these funds, they need to take action. They must evaluate their needs, ensure their project aligns with the funding priorities and prepare their proposal. There are materials to help guide applicants through the grant process, but constructing detailed, comprehensive justification for funding can be challenge. Poly’s Grant Assistance Program (PGAP) team offers a wide array of free services to guide you through the grant process—from grant identification and application to post-award administrative support:
Our expert consultants specialize in taking you through a pre-qualification process, helping ensure the “grant of interest” is a good fit for your organization. If we find you’re not likely to be competitive for a specific grant, such as the AFG, we’ll help you find another funding source that’s a better fit.
GRANT WRITING SUPPORT
The PGAP network of consultants and grant-writing experts across the country specialize in meeting your specific needs. Where allowed by the agency, services can include writing assistance, editing support, budget development and budget narrative recommendations to support your technology solutions.
Perhaps the most intimidating part of the grant process occurs after you’ve received an award. Many organizations find the process of reimbursement, audit and other required paperwork a bit daunting. The PGAP consultants are happy to provide support, ensuring you’re in compliance and helping move your project forward in a timely manner.