Know the program priorities, application details, and eligibility requirements for both hiring and recruitment and retention activities
FEMA opened the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant application on Feb. 8, and the application will remain open until March 12 at 5 p.m.
This is the first time in the history of the federal grant program that all three applications – SAFER, Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and the Fire Prevention and Safety grant – will be open at the same time.
FEMA is keenly aware that fire and EMS agencies across the nation are faced with critical staffing and financial issues. As such, the 2020 SAFER grant application has no cost share requirement and no position cost limit.
SAFER funds can be utilized for recruitment and retention activities by volunteer and combination departments, and for hiring activities by career, combination and volunteer departments. Specifically, the recruitment and retention component of the grant supports applications to assist fire departments with the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters who are involved with or trained in the operations of firefighting and emergency response. The hiring component of the grant supports applications to hire new additional firefighters or to change the status of part-time or paid-on-call firefighters to full-time firefighters, rehire laid-off firefighters, or to retain firefighters facing layoff.
FEMA prioritizes bringing departments into compliance with either NFPA 1710: Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments or its comparable standard for volunteer fire departments, NFPA 1720, in the most cost-effective manner.
The SAFER application asks applicants general questions about the NFPA standard they are attempting to meet, their current ability to meet that standard, and how they will meet the standard if awarded grant funds. Applications resulting in the largest percentage increases in compliance with the relevant section of NFPA 1710 or NFPA 1720 receive higher pre-scores than applications resulting in smaller percentage increases in compliance.
It is important to review your fire reports for the past year to determine if your department is meeting your applicable standard for staffing and response time. If not, what percentage of the time is your department failing to meet standard? This is the benchmark for funding under the SAFER program. If your department is meeting the 1710 or 1720 standard, then you do not qualify for SAFER funding.
Let’s now dig deeper into the specifics of the recruitment and retention activities and the hiring activities.
Grants awarded under the recruitment and retention activity are intended 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.
The SAFER application places a priority on programs that:
SAFER awards hiring activity grants directly to volunteer, combination and career fire departments to help increase their cadre of frontline firefighters by providing financial assistance in three categories:
As for hiring eligibility, only firefighters hired (New Hire category) or rehired (Rehire category) after the SAFER program grant offer of award (except if awarded under the Retention category) are eligible for grant funding. Additional details:
The SAFER grant is a very intricate application process. I can’t stress enough the importance of reading the Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) and other related documents to gain a working knowledge of this program.
Finally, please start early and have someone review your application before it is submitted.
Good luck to all applicants!
Copyright © 2021 FireGrantsHelp.com. All rights reserved.