Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program
General Frequently Asked Questions
- I have forgotten my user ID and/or password. Who do I contact to get that information?
- If you are the Primary Contact for your department's grant(s), and you have forgotten the user ID and/or password, you can use the forgot password utility available on the login screen (the screen that appears when you click on e-grant application). Click forgot password and answer the two security questions; then submit your request. The screen should indicate that you successfully submitted your request and a temporary password is being e-mailed to your address. Check your e-mail and retrieve the user ID and temporary password. If the message is not there, look in your junk mail file. If it is not in your junk mail file then your e-mail address is not compatible with the DHS system. You will have to set up a new e-mail account. You may want to use the free e-mail accounts such as Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.
If you are unable to answer the security questions, or your primary contact e-mail address has changed, you will need to follow the procedure outlined in the FAQ, "How do I gain access to my department's previous year's application when the previous primary contact is no longer available or does not remember the user ID and password?"
- How do I gain access to my department's previous year's application when I am going to be the primary contact on the new application and I do not know the user ID and password from the previous year's application (i.e., lost password, previous contact is no longer available)?
- Send a letter explaining why you need this information, and if you also need to change the Primary Contact information. Please be aware changing the Primary Contact on one grant will cause the Primary Contact to be changed on all other department grants submitted under the same user ID. The letter must be on fire department letterhead and signed by the Fire Chief of the department. To expedite this change you can fax a copy of the letter to Annette Robinson at 1-866-274-0942.
After faxing the letter to Annette Robinson, please mail the original letter to:
DHS/FEMA/Grant Programs Directorate
Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program
Annette Robinson - Room 5026
Tech World Bldg - South Tower 5th Floor
500 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472
The following information must be included in the letter:
- Grant number
- Previous primary contact person's name
- Explanation of why access to the grant is needed
- New contact person's name
- New contact person's mother's maiden name
- New contact person's date of birth
- New contact person's e-mail address
- Two phone numbers for the new contact person
A mailed letter may take two weeks to process. However, soon after faxing the letter to Annette Robinson, you will receive an e-mail from Pinky Sheets telling you she has updated the system and placed your name on the grant as the main contact person. You will also receive an automated e-mail from EOPS@dhs.gov with your user ID and temporary password.
If you do not receive this automated e-mail from EOPS@dhs.govwithin two days of faxing your request and receiving the e-mail from Ms. Sheets, you should look in your junk mail file. The electronic e-mails are sometimes filtered and sent directly to junk mail.
If you are still unable to get a new user ID and password, go onto the Web site and choose e-grant application. You will get an application sign-in screen. Click on forgot password, answer the two security questions and submit your request.
The screen should indicate that you successfully submitted your request and a temporary password is being e-mailed to you. Go into your e-mail and retrieve the user ID and temporary password. Again, if the message is not there, look in the junk mail file. If it is not in your junk mail file then your e-mail address is not compatible with the DHS system. You will have to set up a new e-mail account. You may want to use the free e-mail accounts such as Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.
When you click on submit and get an error message indicating you gave incorrect information, you need to call Annette Robinson (202) 786-9626.
Please note: This information can only be changed by authorized personnel.
- I have not received any e-mails from the Program Office, what should I do?
- There are many reasons why you may not have received any e-mails from the AFG system. Some e-mail services such as Hotmail, Yahoo, SBCGlobal or MSN have a tendency to place e-mails from us (dhs.gov) in the junk mail folder of the e-mail program. You can remedy this problem by allowing our e-mail addresses to be accepted by your e-mail provider/program. Different programs have different procedures, so check with your e-mail provider for details on how to allow e-mail addresses. The e-mail address always has a dhs.gov extension. The following e-mail addresses should be allowed:
Other e-mail programs that are within a local government or state government, for example, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org , have a tendency to block dhs.gov e-mails entirely. If your e-mail is a .us account, please speak with your e-mail provider or your systems administrator and request they allow e-mails with the dhs.gov extension or tell them to allow e-mails from the following addresses:
- I have had problems with my e-mail account, and I think I may have missed some e-mails from the AFG program.
- Copies of e-mails that have been sent to you by the AFG system are stored in your online e-grant Mail Center. You can logon to the online e-grant system, and click on the Mail Center link on the status page. There is a link to view Old Messages in addition to the ability to view new messages.
- How can I change the personal contact information on my grant?
- For the Primary Contact – There can be only one Primary Contact for your department/agency.
Updating the Primary Contact on one grant will cause the Primary Contact to be changed on all other department grants submitted under the same user ID. If you do not wish to do this, consider changing Alternate Contact information for a particular grant instead (see next paragraph). To update personal information such as Primary Contact name, address, phone numbers, e-mail address, or change password, grantees should log into their grant and at the Status screen and select Manage Grant from the drop-down menu in the Action field. Click on Update, which is located at the upper middle part of the screen. The page that comes up will allow you to update any personal information that has changed. Type in the updated personal information and click Save at the bottom of the page. A note will state, "Your profile has been updated. Thank You." To make the changes permanent, you must log out of your application for the new information to take effect. To do this, click on the Authorized Applications link on the upper left-hand side of the "Thank You" page, and then click on Firefighter's Grants on the new page so the new information will be set and updated.
For Alternate Contacts – Alternate Contacts can differ from grant to grant if your department/agency has more than one AFG Grant. To change the Alternate Contact name, or update any alternate contact personal information, grantees must log into their grant. From the Status screen, select Manage Grant from the drop-down menu in the Action field. Click on Update Alternate Contacts on the menu bar on the left side of the screen. Type in the updated personal information and click Save and Continue at the bottom of the page. As this request changes information that is contained within the actual grant application, it is processed as a Revision Request by Grants Management staff and must be entered manually. The updated information may not appear for several weeks.
- How are grant applications reviewed?
- The evaluation criteria are listed in that year's Funding Oppotunity Announcement (FOA). Review the FOA and focus on these criteria in order to develop a competitive application for panel reviews. All eligible applications go to panel reviews.
- Where should I send letters of support from the community, political leaders, and others for my department's application?
- Letters of support should be sent to:
Office of the Assistant Administrator, Grant Programs Directorate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
800 K. Street NW, 9th Floor North Tower
Washington, DC 20001 Fax 202-786-9938
Letters of Support should be post marked no later than 60 days after the close of the application period.
- Why do I need a DUNS number?
- Since October 1, 2003, the Federal Government has required all applicants for federal grants and cooperative agreements, with the exception of individuals other than sole proprietors and foreign entities, have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number.
The Federal Government uses the DUNS number to better identify related organizations that are receiving funding under grants and cooperative agreements, and to provide consistent name and address data for electronic grant application systems. Additional information about DUNS numbers can be found on the D&B Web site: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform.
The process is free. If you have already registered for a DUNS number, you must use the same number for every application.
- How do I apply for a DUNS number?
- You can obtain a DUNS number within 24 hours by calling 1-866-705-5711. A DUNS number can also be requested online; however, D&B estimates it may take 2-3 weeks to process online orders. We strongly encourage you to register for this number prior to the application period.
- When I apply for a grant, do I have to provide my bank account number?
- Yes. You must provide your bank account number and routing number for our records and to facilitate funds transfer if you receive an award. The Website is on a secure server. Applicant information is not released to anyone. We must have a current routing number. If you are concerned about security, contact the Help Desk at 1-866-274-0960.
- My bank account number is larger than 15 digits and the application has space for only 15 digits. What should I do?
- Enter the first 15 digits of your bank account number.
- What is a bank routing number and do I need one?
- The bank "routing number" is a multi-digit set of numbers that correlate banks and accounts. Every bank has multiple routing numbers that are used to determine how money is placed into accounts. The routing number is actually part of your 15 digit account number. However, the type of account you have currently set up may not be suitable for transferring grant funds. Please check with your bank and confirm your account is set up to accept wire transfers on an "ACH" basis. The specific routing number you need to include is the routing number your bank uses to make wire transfers on a next day availability basis. This routing number is referred to as the "ACH routing number" (Automated Clearing House). Accounts set up as Savings accounts and/or money market accounts cannot be used for the purpose of transferring grant funds. Additionally, the listed "Payee" and "Signature" on the account must be the same as those designated on the account.
- Where do I send unspent funds back to AFG?
- Unspent funds can be sent to:
P.O. Box 530217
Atlanta, Georgia 30350-0217
The organization name and the grant number should appear on the check.
- Can I insert a picture or graph into my narrative?
- No. Photos, charts, graphs, or other computer graphic files (.jpg, .gif, etc.) may not be imported into your application.
- Can I print and mail an electronic application?
- No. We do not accept any printed versions of the electronic applications that are mailed in.
- Can I type my narrative using word processing software and paste it into the space allowed for the narrative portion of my grant?
- Yes. However, remember only a limited number of characters are allowed, and any graphics, tables or other text enhancements (bullets, etc.) may not transfer to the text box area provided in the application.
- Can I use my password from a previous grant application?
- Yes. It is preferable you use the same user ID and password you used for a previous application, especially if you were awarded a grant in a previous program year.
- Does the application software have a time-out feature?
- Yes. The application times out after 20 minutes if there is no activity. If you have not clicked Save and Continue or clicked another link for 20 minutes, the application session will end, and all unsaved data will be lost.
- How will I know if my electronic application was received?
- Upon successful submittal, the online application will provide a confirmation page you can print and keep on file pending award determination. We recommend you write your login information on this confirmation page so you can keep them together.
- If I do not have access to a computer, will I still be able to apply?
- We strongly encourage applicants to apply online. All you need is Internet access from any computer. Since you create a user ID and password, you can log in from anywhere and work on the application. You can save it and return later to continue working on the application from any computer that has Internet access.
- Do we receive a notification our grant application has been received and is being considered?
- Yes. When you apply electronically, you receive an e-mail confirmation of receipt for your grant application.
- What are the hardware and software requirements for accessing and filing the grant application online?
- Most computers work with the application without difficulty if they have access to the Internet and have a web browser installed. Do not use any other browsers than Internet Explorer (IE 6 or higher) when entering your information. Do not have multiple browsers ("windows") open when entering your information, even if you're using Internet Explorer (IE 6 or higher). There are several known problems entering application information using non IE browsers, or having multiple browsers open, including but not limited to:
- System failure to recognize correct information
- System failure to capture and retain correct information
- System functions like "cut and paste" being disabled
- System resources like Help screens or drop down menus being unavailable
There is no appeal process for inaccurate or incomplete information retained by the system due to improper or multiple browser usage by the applicant.
- Will preference be given to those who applied for Fire Grants last year and didn't receive them?
No. This is a competitive grant program. We will view all applications independently. Applicants whose requests are most consistent with the priorities in the Funding Opportunity Announcement who provide the best narrative explaining the project with the project's budget details, demonstrating financial need, showing the best cost-benefit ,and showing the most significant effect on the ability to protect life and property will score the highest in the competitive grant process.
- If I decline an award, will that be held against me if I apply for future funding?
- An applicant who declines to accept a grant during negotiation would not be penalized for declining the award. However, we would consider the grantee to be a poor performer if they accepted an award and subsequently returned it because they cannot fulfill the grant requirements. This does not mean the poor performing grantees are precluded from applying for future assistance. It merely means past performance is taken into account prior to awarding any new grants. Prior performance has always been a consideration for funding.
- Is there a penalty for returning funds or excess funds?
- No. There is no penalty for returning funds. However, it is our preference grantees expend all awarded funds on eligible expenditures.
- May I change or edit my application after it has been submitted?
- Once you have submitted your application, you cannot change it. You will not be allowed to update your application to correct errors discovered after submission or to reflect changes in your organization's circumstances.
- Why do I need to register with the System for Award Management (SAM)?
- Applicant registration in the System for Award Management (SAM) is a requirement prior to any AFG Application(s) submission for FY 2014. Registration in SAM is free. To register, please visit https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/.
The AFG application process requires a current registration by the applicant, which must be confirmed at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/. The System for Award Management (SAM) is a free web-site which consolidates federal procurement systems and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. Please ensure that your organization's name, address, DUNS number, and EIN are up to date in SAM and that the DUNS number used in SAM is the same one used to apply for all FEMA applications. Future payments will be contingent on the information provided in SAM; therefore, it is imperative that the information is correct.
There are several ways to get help with SAM:
- Submit a Question to the Federal Service Help Desk managed by the General Services Administration (GSA). Tell them the issues you have and how they can contact you.
- Use self-service by searching the Answer Center at http://www.fsd.gov/app/answers/list.
- Call (866) 606-8220 (toll-free)
- SAM Quick Start Guide For New Grantee Registration and SAM Video Tutorial for New Applicants are tools created by the General Services Administration to assist those registering with the System for Award Management (SAM). If you have questions or concerns about your SAM registration, please contact the Federal Support desk at https://www.fsd.gov.