Kansas City, MO -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), now a part of the new Department of Homeland Security, announced Monday that the FY 2003 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program application period opened March 10. Building on the success of last year?s program, the Department of Homeland Security will make $750 million available to help fund improvements in the first response capabilities of fire departments around the nation. The application process closes at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on April 11, 2003.
Last year, more than $25 million was awarded to fire departments in FEMA Region VII -- Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. FEMA Regional Director Dick Hainje, himself a 24-year career fire service veteran, encourages fire departments to submit an application to one of four eligible program areas:
- Fire Operations and Firefighter Safety Program. Eligible activities under this function are limited to training, wellness and fitness, firefighting equipment, personal protective equipment, and modifications to fire stations and facilities.
- Fire Prevention Program. Eligible activities under this function include, but are not limited to, public education and awareness activities, fire codes enforcement activities, fire inspector certifications, purchase and installation of smoke alarms and fire suppression systems, wildland mitigation, and arson prevention and detection activities.
- Emergency Medical Services Program. Eligible activities under this function for fire-based EMS units are limited to equipment, training, and wellness and fitness initiatives. Vehicles, such as ambulances, are not eligible in this programmatic area.
- Firefighting Vehicles Acquisition Program. Eligible apparatus under this program include, but are not limited to, pumpers, brush trucks, tankers, rescue, ambulances, quints, aerials, foam units, and fireboats. You may apply for only one vehicle per year.
According to FEMA Regional Director Hainje, fire departments can develop a comprehensive program to address all of their needs by applying for multiple eligible activities within a programmatic area.
"For example, if a department determined its needs were in the area of fire operations and firefighter safety, the department could apply for any one of the activities under that program, or any combination of activities, or all of the activities listed within that program," said Hainje. "If a department needs a vehicle, it can apply under the vehicle acquisition program."
In January and February, Region VII Program Specialist Rex Jennings and state fire service training agencies conducted over 100 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program workshops. The workshops were designed to help potential applicants address the goals and priorities of the grant program in relation to their own community and fire department. Jennings will continue to provide this technical assistance in grant writing on an individual, as-needed basis for departments that have specific questions after starting their own application process. Those with questions should call Rex Jennings at 816-283-7951.
The 2003 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program application is automated and is now available on-line at www.usfa.fema.gov. The USFA has established a help desk to assist with the application process. The help desk number is 866-274-0960 and will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST Monday through Saturday and 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST on Sunday.
Paper applications will be accepted, but are discouraged because of the inherent de...