AFG Home Page: www.fema.gov/firegrants
AFG Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.fema.gov/assistance-firefighters-grant-program-most-frequently-asked-question
AFG Regional Representatives: www.fema.gov/fire-grant-contact-information
AFG Help Desk: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone Toll-Free: 1-866-274-0960
AFG Applicants - Tips to avoid unnecessary delays
If you applied for AFG funding, we strongly recommend that you do the following now to avoid unnecessary delays to any potential award:
Check your organization’s System for Award Management (SAM) registration at www.sam.gov and ensure that your organization’s registration is “Active” and that the information is current. All applicants are required to be registered in SAM.gov at the time of application; no awards will be made to applicants that do not have Active registrations in SAM.gov. Remember, there is never a fee to register or renew your registration in SAM.gov. If you need technical assistance with SAM, contact the SAM Helpdesk at 866-606-8220, 8 am to 8 pm, Monday through Friday.
Check the expiration date of your SAM.gov registration. Do not allow it to expire! The expiration date will be listed near the top of the account information. Your SAM registration must be updated and revalidated every 12 months from the date of registration, or it will expire. If your registration is due to expire in the next few months, find out now who will be responsible for updating the SAM.gov information so that it does not expire.
If you received an AFG award in the past, please check the information in your online Direct Deposit form (SF-1199A). Be sure that the information is both correct and matches the data in your SAM.gov registration. If the data in your Direct Deposit form and SAM.gov registration are incorrect and/or do not match, your award will be delayed until they are corrected. Be certain that the following data are correct and matching in SAM:
- DUNS Number: Must match the DUNS number in your application.
- Payee Address: Must match exactly ONE of these addresses in the SAM.gov account: Physical, Mailing, or Remittance.
- Employer ID Number (EIN or Tax ID Number)
- Type of Bank Account (Checking or Savings)
- Bank Routing Number
- Bank Account Number
If you have been awarded AFG funds in the past, ensure that your organization has submitted all of the required closeout reports. Grant closeout reports should be submitted online for all AFG and Fire Prevention and Safety awards from fiscal years (FY) 2010 and earlier, e.g., EMW-2010-XX-XXXXX, EMW-2009-XX-XXXXX, unless you received an approved amendment to extend the period of performance. SAFER grant closeouts for FY 2005 to 2008 must be submitted using the forms that are provided to grantees 90 days before closeouts are due. If you have not submitted closeout reports for these awards, new awards will be delayed until the outstanding closeout reports have been submitted. Contact the AFG Helpdesk for more information at 866-274-0960 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Be certain that you have completed the required semiannual Federal Financial Reports (SF-425) for all grants that have open periods of performance. These financial reports are required every 6 months during the period of performance regardless of whether you have received any grant payments. These reports are submitted online in the AFG e-Grants system. Contact the AFG Helpdesk if you need information on locating the SF-425 report screen. Again, if these reports are not submitted, any potential new award will be delayed until the required SF-425 reports have been received.
Grant Writing Resources & Links
Below are a couple of great grant writing resources available to help you with your grant application. While they are not affiliated with Action Training Systems, both gentlemen have a great deal of experience and success with writing grants and are excellent resources if you have any questions on the grant writing process, need help filling out your application or writing your narratives.
Jeff has over 30 years of Fire Service experience. He has served as a peer reviewer for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and was formerly with LSU where he helped many departments write successful grant applications. He is currently the Assistant Chief with Franklin Fire Department in Franklin, LA.
This page contains information on financial assistance available from the U.S. Fire Administration and other Federal agencies for fire departments and other first responders.
PUCO (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio) Hazmat training grant. Click on the link to access the application and get more information. Applications may be submitted anytime. A review committee and the PUCO commissioners review applications on a quarterly basis.
The Foundation Center has a short course on how to design and write a proposal. The Foundation Center is also a wealth of additional information.
PS Associates provides free assistance in developing and writing proposals. They offer a free newsletter filled with hints and techniques you can use.
AFG Help Desk: 1-866-274-0960 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Focus only on your department needs that line up with the funding priorities for the current grant year and your community classification: Rural, Suburban or Urban.
Classifications are determined from answers to questions in the online application. These include: population, water supply, land use, number of stations, number of inhabitable structures over four stories tall in your jurisdiction and call volume. Click here to access the E-Grant Application page.
Returning applicants should use the same login and password used in previous years to access the online application. Make sure all of your contact information is still current.
Be sure you have a DUNS number. This is a requirement when applying for a grant. D&B estimates it may take 2-3 weeks to process online requests for a number. You can obtain a DUNS number within 24 hours by calling 1-866-705-5711.
Departments that score highly in the grant process have several things in common:
- Their applications meet the intent of the grant program
- Their applications state their problems clearly and concisely
- They demonstrate how the grant solves their problems
- The cost is reasonable
- Their narrative is easy to understand
- Their narrative answers all the questions
- Their application shows a great cost to benefit ratio
How to Write a Successful Narrative
Ideas for Raising Matching Funds Don’t let this happen to you:Some departments have refused a grant award because they did not have the necessary matching funds.
Matching funds dollars are a hard match. That does not mean they are hard to get, just that you must match real dollars with real dollars. You can’t use salaries or time for matching funds.
You need to have your matching funds lined up when you put your application together. You do not need to have the money in hand at that time, just the commitment for the money. You probably won’t find out if you are approved for your grant request until 6-10 months after you applied. For 2009 that time frame has been over a year. The money has to be ready when that comes through.
If you don’t have money in your department budget for the matching funds, or, if you don’t have the option or time for other fund raising events such as traditional pancake breakfasts, bingo or chili cook-offs, there is still a way to find the money.
Here are two ideas for raising matching funds that may not have occurred to you:
- Ask your city council or governing entity to allocate the matching funds.
Several departments were able to accomplish this in years past. If you go to that governing body with a strong proposal that shows a great return on investment (all the things you need to convince FEMA to fund you) you have a good chance that money can be made available to cover your matching funds.
One successful department included the following in their application:
”We have approached the County Government and the Village for assistance to purchase these items. The village gave all they could for the used truck. Sales tax is down and unemployment is up, the county says the money is not there to fund these items. Both government bodies realize that we need support and have pledged to fund the 10% matching if we are successful in receiving the grant.”
- Contact local businesses.
If your city or county government cannot give you the matching funds, try contacting some local businesses in your area. If you have a good proposal put together they can be even more receptive than a government entity that may have no money to spare.
Get a couple of people from your department to put on a uniform and make face-to-face contact with local business owners or managers in your response area. Firefighters are still considered the good guys and communities and businesses like to support you. Tell them that you have a chance to improve your department if you can raise a small amount of money.
For example: If your matching funds level is 10% and you are asking for $45,000, you will need $4500 in matching funds. Telling businesses in your response area that you can get $45,000 worth of training materials or equipment for your department if you can raise $4500 should get their attention. Then ask if they would be in a position to contribute towards that goal.
Be sure to mention how it will help your community (them) – lowering insurance rates (ISO), improve Firefighter safety, improved response times etc. All it would take is for 3 businesses to contribute $1500 each and you have it.
Tell them you don’t need the money today, only the commitment. You will need the money in 6 months to a year. That gives them time to work it into their budget as well.
You can use the same argument for apparatus, PPE whatever. 10% of a $125,000 pumper is only $12,500. How often can your department get a 90% discount on training or apparatus?
Just be prepared with what you want to say about the benefits and cost savings to the community if you are successful. This is the type of thing businesses will support.
AFGP Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Excess Funds for Other Purchases?
Answer from the Grants Management Tutorial -
"The Use of Excess Funds Up to $5000 Grantees may use up to $5000 to continue or expand the grant's scope of work for the activities for which they received their award. Prior Program Office approval is not required to use the excess funds for this purpose.
Example: Grantee may use up to $5000 of excess funds to purchase more eligible items without seeking DHS approval."
Grant Management Information
Use the Grant Management Tutorial to help you manage your grant award. It will help you with requesting payments, amend requests and outline reporting requirements.