The page contains a list of frequently asked questions and anwsers for the 2013 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Program application period. The intended for AFG stakeholders, which include but are not limited to award recipients and the communities they serve.
- What is the purpose of SAFER?
- Hiring of Firefighters Category
- Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters Category
- Definition of Applicant Types
- Completing the Application
- Regional Applications
- Technical Assistance for Applicants
- National Standards for SAFER
- National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS)
- National Incident Management System (NIMS)
What is the purpose of SAFER?The purpose of SAFER Grants is to provide funding directly to fire departments and national, state, local, or tribal organizations representing the interests of volunteer firefighters to assist them in increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire related hazards, and to fulfill traditional missions of fire departments.
SAFER Grants achieve this purpose by funding: (1) the hiring of new firefighters, (2) the rehiring of firefighters that have been laid off, (3) the retention of firefighters facing imminent layoffs, or (4) the filling of positions that were vacated through attrition. Additionally, SAFER grants fund fire departments and national, state, local, or tribal organizations representing the interests of volunteer firefighters to assist with the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters.
Are there any funding limits for SAFER?
There are no annual salary limits, and there are no cost-sharing requirements for funds under the FY 2013 appropriations.
Which categories of activities are eligible for funding under SAFER?
SAFER is a competitive/discretionary grant program comprised of two categories:
- Hiring of Firefighters grants provide financial assistance to help fire departments rehire firefighters that have been laid off, retain firefighters facing imminent layoffs, fill positions that were vacated through attrition, or hire new firefighters. The goal is to assist departments to ensure they have adequate personnel to respond and safely perform at incident scenes, providing protection from fire and fire-related hazards for their communities. This category provides two-year grants to assist fire departments by paying the salaries and benefits of the SAFER-funded firefighters.
- Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters grants are to assist fire departments and national, state, local or tribal organizations with the recruitment and/or retention of volunteer firefighters that are involved with, or trained in, the operations of firefighting and emergency response. The goal is to create a net increase in the number of trained, certified, and competent firefighters capable of safely responding to emergencies likely to occur within the fire department's geographic response area. Recruitment and Retention category grants can have a period of performance of up to four years.
If a department is applying for both SAFER grant categories - Hiring of Firefighters and Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters, does the department need to submit two different narrative statements?
Departments interested in applying for both a Hiring grant and a Recruitment and Retention grant must submit two separate applications, one for each category. Each application will require its own unique narrative statement.
Are SAFER grants “renewable” after the period of performance?
No. SAFER is a competitive/discretionary grant program. Program funds are not renewable and funding is only available to grantees during the period of performance associated with the award. Current or former grantees do not have a competitive advantage over applicants that have not previously received a SAFER grant award.
Hiring of Firefighters
Who is eligible to apply for funding in the Hiring of Firefighters category?
Career, combination and volunteer fire departments may apply for funding in the Hiring of Firefighters category.
What are eligible expenses in the Hiring of Firefighters category?
The only allowable costs under the Hiring of Firefighters category, for new or rehired firefighters, are salary and associated benefits (actual payroll expenses). SAFER funding will pay for the total salary and benefit costs for each funded position.
What are some ineligible expenses in the Hiring category?
- Pre-application costs, such as grant writer fees, administrative costs, and indirect costs associated with hiring of firefighters
- Costs to train and equip firefighters (However, the salaries and benefits of firefighters hired under the SAFER Grants funding while engaged in training are eligible if the firefighter is employed by the department.)
- Uniforms and physicals
What is the Period of Performance (POP) under the Hiring category?
The FY 2013 SAFER Period of Performance for the Hiring of Firefighters category is two years.
Are firefighters hired prior to award eligible under the Hiring category?
Firefighters hired and/or rehired prior to award are not eligible under the hiring category. The only exception is those positions under the retention activity.
What are the requirements for the matching funds in the Hiring of Firefighters category?
There are no matching funds requirements for Hiring grants.
What happens after the grant concludes? Does a department have to retain the SAFER-funded firefighters employed?
Awarded recipients have no obligation to retain the SAFER-funded firefighters after the conclusion of the period of performance for FY 2013 SAFER awards.
What type of firefighter positions will be funded?
Only full-time firefighter positions will be funded. Full-time positions are those funded for at least 2,080 hours per year. (i.e., 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year).
Volunteer and mostly volunteer fire departments may hire individuals to fill officer-level positions (e.g., chief, fire inspector, training officer, safety officer). However, as the goal of SAFER Grants is to enhance incident scene safety, all applicants must certify that the primary assignment (more than 50 percent of duties) of all SAFER-funded Firefighters will be an operational assignment (fire suppression) regardless of collateral duties.
The grant program will consider funding job-share positions if sufficient justification is provided.
What is a job-share position?
A job-share position is a full-time position occupied by more than one person. For FY 2013, there is not a cap on the number of employees who may share a single job-share position.
Can a department apply for job-share positions if it has never previously utilized job-share employees?
For applicants who are applying under the rehire, retention, and/or attrition activities, if your department did not utilize job-share positions prior to the time of application, then you will not be eligible to apply for such positions. New job-sharing positions are only eligible for applicants applying in the new hire activity.
If a fire department receives a SAFER award, how much time does it have to hire the firefighters?
For all grantees under the Hiring of Firefighters category for both hiring new firefighters or for rehiring firefighters, a default 90-day recruitment period begins when the application is approved for award.
The two year period of performance automatically starts after the 90-day recruitment period, regardless of whether the grantee has successfully hired the requested firefighters.
If a grantee is able to rehire or hire their SAFER-funded Firefighters during the 90-day recruitment period, the period of performance may begin at that time. For grantees awarded under the Retention category, the period of performance can begin immediately. However, in both cases, grantees must submit an amendment requesting that the period of performance start before the end of the 90-day recruitment period. The period of performance cannot be started later than 90 days after the recruitment period.
Can grantees submit a payment request for pre-award expenditures?
Pre-award expenditures are not reimbursable in the Hiring category. However, costs incurred after award but prior to the start of the official period of performance (i.e. during the 90-day recruitment period) are eligible for reimbursement. Any costs incurred prior to the period of performance will be charged against the total grant budget. Firefighters hired prior to the date of award are not eligible for SAFER funding unless the award is for retaining firefighters.
The 2013 SAFER Funding Opportunity Announcement states that grantees cannot layoff any firefighters during the two-year period of performance. What if the department loses positions to retirement or other attrition? Must it fill those vacancies?
For the two-year period of performance all FY 2013 grantees awarded in the Hiring category are required to maintain their staffing at the level that existed at the time of award, in addition to the SAFER-funded positions.
At the time of award, grantees under the Hiring of Firefighters category must submit a current (pre-SAFER) roster listing paid operational/firefighting personnel in support of NFPA 1710 or NFPA 1720, who are in full-time or job share positions. The program office will work with a grantee to establish the correct staffing maintenance number which combines the number of pre-SAFER and SAFER hires. Once this is established, grantees must agree to maintain this number throughout the two year period of performance by taking active and timely steps to fill any vacancies.
Grantees who are unable (due to documentable economic hardship) to fill firefighting positions that are vacated through attrition (e.g., resignation, retirement) may petition FEMA for a waiver of staffing maintenance requirements. An approved waiver allows a grantee to decrease and reestablish the staffing maintenance number agreed to at the time of award by the number of positions that a grantee is unable to fill. In order to qualify for this waiver, the economic hardship must affect the entire public safety sector in a grantee’s jurisdiction, not solely the fire department. Waivers will not be granted for SAFER-funded positions. Grantees who fail to maintain this level of staffing risk losing the federal funds awarded under this grant.
What is the difference between layoff notices that need to be submitted for rehiring and retention?
- Rehiring - Requests for grants to rehire laid-off firefighters are limited to requesting the number of firefighter positions already lost due to layoffs enacted between January 1, 2008, and the application deadline (August 30, 2013).
- Retention - Requests for grants to retain firefighters who face imminent layoff are limited to those firefighters that have been issued a formal layoff notice that specifies a date for the layoff action that is prior to the start of the application period and within 120 days of the close of the application period (December 28, 2013).
Do departments need to provide a copy of the layoff notice if they want to rehire or retain firefighters? How can an applicant attach this documentation to the online application?
Yes. A copy of the official, signed, and issued layoff notices that correspond to the positions being requested must be attached to the Hiring grant application for applicants who request funds to rehire firefighters who were laid off or to retain firefighters at risk of layoff. When you select the Rehire and/or Retention option in the Request Details section of the application, an option will appear that directs you to attach an electronic copy of the layoff notice. The layoff notices may be in either a PDF or a Microsoft Word document. You may attach multiple documents if needed. (Note: only .doc and .pdf files will be accepted).
A department hired SAFER firefighters in a prior year's grant with a contract that expires this year and the firefighters will not be laid off, but their jobs will be terminated. Can the fire department apply for an FY 2013 SAFER grant to keep them employed?
Yes, in this case the fire department may apply for a grant to retain the firefighters; however we strongly encourage you to contact the Program Office to discuss the documentation that must be included for your unique situation.
Who is eligible to apply for funding in the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters category?
Combination fire departments, volunteer fire departments, and national, state, local, or tribal organizations that represent the interests of volunteer firefighters may apply for funding in the Recruitment and Retention category.
What are examples of eligible costs under the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters category?
Applicants must correlate the activities for which funding is being requested and the identified recruitment or retention problems or issues being addressed. Additionally, FEMA will not fund activities if an applicant has not provided sufficient information detailing how an activity being funded will enhance recruitment and retention.
For specific examples of eligible costs, please refer to the FY 2013 SAFER Funding Opportunity Announcement.
What are some ineligible expenses in the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters category?
Examples of ineligible expenses include but are not limited to the following:
- Salary and benefits for firefighters
- Firefighting equipment/vehicles
- Cash payments for non-operational activities
- Costs for training currently covered under the department’s operating budget, such as tuition or instructor fees for department-mandated, basic-level training
- “Giveaways,” such as pencils, pens, t-shirts, cups, mugs, or balloons, for recruitment events
Is communications equipment eligible under FY 2013 SAFER?
No. All communications equipment including cellphones, pagers, portable radios, or Computer-Aided Dispatch systems is ineligible under FY 2013 SAFER.
Can personal protective equipment (PPE) for new firefighters be purchased under the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters category? What are the requirements?
OSHA-required and NFPA-compliant PPE is eligible only for newly recruited members, and reimbursement will be limited to the number of new recruits who received an NFPA 1582-compliant physical exam. Only actual costs are allowed and will be paid on a reimbursable basis and FEMA may establish a reasonable cost allowable. Grantees will be required to provide documentation of completed physicals as well as documentation to support the purchase of the PPE.
Please refer to the FY 2013 SAFER Funding Opportunity Announcement for examples of eligible PPE expenditures.
In previous years, SAFER applicants were limited to requesting up to four sets of PPE for training; is there a limit on the number of PPE that can be requested under FY 2013 SAFER?
For FY 2013 there is no limit on the number of sets of PPE that may be requested. Applicants should request the number of sets they think they will need based on the number of recruits that an organization anticipates will be recruited during the period of performance. Please refer to the FY 2013 SAFER Funding Opportunity Announcement for examples of eligible PPE expenditures.
What types of tuition reimbursement are ineligible?
The FY 2013 SAFER grant does not limit the type of tuition reimbursement one can apply for, and it does not have to be related to fire science or related fields.
Do Recruitment and Retention grantees need to submit training certificates?
While grantees are not required to submit these documents, training certificates, as well as any grant-related documents must be retained by the grantee for a minimum of three years after the grant has been officially closed.
Can a grantee submit a payment request for pre-award expenditures?
Pre-award expenditures, except for grant writer fees are not reimbursable in the Recruitment and Retention category. However, costs incurred after award but prior to the start of the official period of performance (i.e. during the 90-day recruitment period) are eligible for reimbursement. Any costs incurred prior to the official period of performance will be charged against the total grant budget.
Is there a matching funds requirement for the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters category?
There is no local matching funds requirement for this category, and no maximum federal share limit.
Are administrative or indirect costs eligible?
Administrative or indirect costs are limited to a combined total of three percent, unless a grantee has a previously negotiated and approved Indirect Cost Rate Agreement.
This indirect cost rate is established by a federal department or agency for the grantee’s organization that the grantee uses to compute the dollar amount they can charge to the grant for indirect costs incurred during the execution of the grant agreement. (Information about Indirect Cost Rate Agreements can be found at http://rates.psc.gov/.)
Prior to submitting any claims for reimbursement of indirect costs, applicants must first submit a copy of their negotiated and approved Indirect Cost Rate Agreement to FEMA for review and approval. The indirect cost rate is applicable as long as it is consistent with the established terms of the agreement.
What is a “nominal stipend”?
A stipend is nominal if it does not exceed 20 percent of what the fire department would otherwise pay to hire a full-time firefighter to perform the services for which the stipend is provided. Whether a stipend falls above or below the 20 percent threshold may be determined in one of two ways. Departments that maintain paid full time firefighters on their payrolls may compare the stipend to the salary they pay a full time firefighter who performs similar services to determine whether the stipend is more or less than 20 percent of that salary. Departments that do not maintain full time firefighters on their payrolls may make the determination based on a comparison to the salary paid to a full time firefighter in a neighboring jurisdiction, elsewhere in the state, or ultimately the nation, and may also utilize data from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. A nominal stipend may also include reimbursements to volunteer firefighters for approximate out-of-pocket expenses they incur.
If a stipend paid exceeds 20 percent of the prevailing wage, then the firefighter receiving compensation would not qualify as a volunteer and is considered an employee who may be covered by the FLSA minimum wage and overtime provisions. Therefore they would not eligible to receive a stipend under the grant.
How do you define a paid-on-call firefighter?
Firefighters who are paid a stipend for each event to which they respond. Paid-on-call firefighters may be considered paid firefighters or volunteer firefighters, depending on whether the stipend they receive is a nominal stipend. A department whose membership is comprised of all volunteer firefighters, including any paid-on-call firefighters who receive only a nominal stipend, will be considered a volunteer fire department for purposes of this SAFER program. A department whose membership is comprised of any paid-on-call firefighters who receive more than a nominal stipend will be considered a combination fire department, for the purposes of this SAFER Program. Also refer to the definition of a nominal stipend.
Who is eligible for SAFER funding?
Eligible departments or organizations are limited to one application for Recruitment and Retention and/or one application for Hiring per application period. Your organization type determines your eligibility for SAFER categories.
Volunteer Fire Departments
Combination Fire Departments
Career Fire Departments
National, state, local, or tribal volunteer firefighter interest organizations
Hiring of Firefighters category (Hiring/Rehiring of New Firefighters Activity)
Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters category
Can a career fire department apply under the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters category?
No. Career fire departments are not eligible for funds in the Recruitment and Retention category. They are only eligible for funding in the Hiring of Firefighters category.
I represent a volunteer firefighter interest organization that received a Fire Prevention and Safety grant. Are we eligible for a SAFER grant also?
National, state, local, or tribal volunteer firefighter interest organizations that represent the interests of volunteer firefighters are eligible to receive funding under the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters category regardless of whether they received a Fire Prevention and Safety grant. However, these organizations are not eligible for funding in the Hiring of Firefighters Category.
If my fire department was recently awarded an AFG grant, can it still apply for SAFER?
Yes. While the SAFER Grants and the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) are administered by the same office, there are no restrictions with respect to having concurrent awards.
Is an independent rescue squad or emergency medical services unit eligible for SAFER funding?
No. Independent rescue squads or emergency medical services unit are not eligible for SAFER funding. Only fire departments and national, state, local, or tribal volunteer firefighter interest organizations are eligible for SAFER grants.
If my department was awarded a prior-year SAFER grant that still has an active performance period, is it eligible to apply for a SAFER grant this year?
Yes. Applicants are eligible to receive more than one SAFER award. Applicants wishing to apply for additional grants are subject to the same guidelines and requirements as discussed in the FY 2013 SAFER Funding Opportunity Announcement and must indicate if the activities they are requesting are new initiatives or if they are building upon the previously awarded program.
Definition of Applicant Types
How do I determine whether I represent a volunteer, combination, or career fire department?
- A volunteer fire department has an all-volunteer force of firefighting personnel. For a fire department to have an all-volunteer force, no member may receive financial compensation (in the form of salary or wages) for their services other than life and health insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and/or a nominal stipend per call. FEMA considers a department to be majority volunteer if more than 50 percent of its membership is made up of personnel who do not receive financial compensation for services.
- A career department has an all-paid force of firefighting personnel other than paid-on-call firefighters (fire departments that provide reimbursement on a paid-on-call basis are considered to be a combination fire department for the purposes of this program).
- A combination department has paid firefighting personnel and volunteer firefighting personnel. At a minimum, a combination fire department must have at least one active firefighter that receives financial compensation for services (including paid-on-call) and/or at least one active firefighter that does not receive financial compensation for services, other than life, health, and workers’ compensation insurance. Additionally, a department whose membership is comprised of paid-on-call firefighters is considered a combination fire department for the purposes of this program.
How do you define a national, state, local, or tribal volunteer firefighter interest organizations?
These are defined as organizations that support, or represent the interests of, firefighters in front of legislative bodies at the local, state, tribal, and federal level. Such organizations include, but are not limited to, state or local firefighter and/or fire chiefs’ associations, volunteer firefighter relief organizations, and associations. FEMA shall make the final determination as to whether an applicant is an appropriate volunteer firefighter interest group.
The SAFER grants prohibit "for-profit" organizations from applying for grant funding. How do I determine if my department is for-profit?
If you are a municipally-based organization, (i.e., an organization providing services on behalf of a governmental entity), or if you are registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) corporation, you are NOT a for-profit organization and are eligible to receive SAFER funding.
Completing the Application
When can I apply?
Applications will be accepted only from 8:00 a.m., Monday, July 29, 2013, until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Friday, August 30, 2013.
When is the grant application due?
The application deadline is Friday, August 30, 2013. Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. EST. Applications received after the close of the application period will not be accepted.
How do I access the FY 2013 SAFER e-grant application?
Applications under the FY 2013 SAFER will be accessible at https://portal.fema.gov. The application will also be linked via the US Fire Administration’s (USFA) Website http://www.usfa.fema.gov and the grants.gov website http://www.grants.gov
Who may apply for a regional grant?
Eligible national, state, local, or tribal volunteer firefighter interest organizations and individual volunteer and combination fire departments may apply for regional grants in the Recruitment and Retention Category if their request will have an impact beyond the immediate boundaries of the applicant’s first-due area. An eligible organization will serve as the host applicant and apply on behalf of the other eligible organizations and fire departments benefitting from the grant.
Note: The Hiring of Firefighters category is not eligible as a regional project.
I'm planning to submit an application as a host for a regional project. When I answer the questions in the Applicant Characteristics section of the online application, do I use the statistics for the entire region that will be affected by the project, or do I use my department's local statistics?
In completing the Request Details and Narrative Statement sections of the application, the applicant must include a list of participating third-party organizations that will benefit from the regional project if the project is approved. In completing the Department Characteristics section of the application, the regional applicant must include data that approximates the characteristics of all fire departments affected by the grant.
I'm applying as the host for a regional project, but I also have needs in my own department. Can I include my own department needs in the application?
An eligible applicant, which can include a fire department, may act as a “host applicant” and apply for support of both a regional initiative and its own department’s internal needs on one application.
A regional host must include a list of all the participating organizations benefitting from a proposed regional project, and provide clear and detailed information on which activities are regional specific versus those that are host specific.
Technical Assistance for Applicants
Where can I obtain technical assistance in filling out the application?
The AFG Program Help Desk at 866-274-0960 will be available to provide technical assistance with completing your SAFER application.
Normal business hours for the Help Desk are Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. During the application period, July 29, 2013 - August 30, 2013, the Help Desk will be staffed between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday; and until 5:00 p.m. EST on August 30, 2013. However, these hours may change as the application period progresses. The toll-free number also accepts voicemail messages after hours or if the line is busy. In addition, questions may be faxed to 866-274-0942, or e-mailed to FireGrants@dhs.gov .
What is the "Request Details" section of the application?
The Request Details section is where applicants answer activity specific questions and enter the budget details of their grant proposal. For FY 2013, applicants applying under the Hiring of Firefighters Category will enter the actual dollar figures of salaries and benefits for year one (1) and year two (2) in the Request Details section.
In the Recruitment and Retention category, the Request Details section no longer has a drop-down menu for the budget item as in years past. Recruitment and retention applicants will now need to enter their own description of the budget items (i.e., Recruitment and Retention Coordinator salary) being requested.
Do I need to register in SAM.gov?
- ALL GRANT APPLICANTS: Please ensure that your entity has an active registration in SAM.gov. Registration is required to receive an award for FY 2012 and 2013. It may take several days for a newly submitted registration to become active.
- POTENTIAL APPLICANTS: If you are thinking about applying for FY 2013 funds, you should register your organization on SAM.gov as soon as possible. . ** Please note that starting with the FY 2013 AFG Program applicants are required to be registered in SAM prior to submitting their application.
- CURRENT GRANTEES: Current grantees must have an active registration in SAM.gov to avoid delays in receiving approval of amendment and payment requests.
- EVERYONE: Make sure the banking information, employer ID number, and organization/entity name, address and DUNS number you report in SAM.gov are accurate; the information you enter in SAM.gov and in your grant application must match.
Remember that registration on SAM.gov is completely free of charge. There is no fee for you to register or to renew or update your organization’s information on SAM.gov. You may see the websites of private businesses or contractors that will register your organization in SAM for you—for a fee. These websites often look like government websites at first glance. BUT remember that paying any fee is unnecessary to use SAM.gov and its resources.
TO OBTAIN HELP WITH SAM.GOV:
- Visit the SAM.gov Website. First, become familiar with SAM.gov. Browse through and read the Guides, Top FAQs, and other information that can be found online at the SAM.gov website, the SAM Helpful Hints page, and the Federal Service Desk at www.fsd.gov
- View the SAM Webinar. Next, view the prerecorded SAM Webinar for users, which covers topics like
- Creating a new SAM user account;
- Migrating permissions from the legacy Central Contractors Registry (CCR) system into SAM; and
- Updating and renewing an existing registration.
- Contact the AFG Grants Management Specialists (GMS). Next, send questions you have by e-mail to the AFG Grants Management Specialist for your FEMA region. A list of the GMS for each FEMA Region can be found on the AFG Website. Faxes for the GMS staff may be sent to 202-786-9905.
SAM/Federal Service Desk (Help Desk). If you are still having problems navigating in SAM.gov, call the toll-free SAM.gov Federal Service Desk at 866-606-8220, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
My SAM.gov registration has been delayed, may I still submit our organizations application?
Yes. SAM.gov registration is required in order to receive a grant award from FEMA, but is not required at the time of application.
What standards does SAFER involve?
The industry minimum standards to be addressed by SAFER are the staffing and deployment sections of: NFPA 1710, Section 18.104.22.168 (Initial Full Alarm Assignment Capability), which primarily applies to all-career fire departments and at the combination department's election; and NFPA 1720 Section 4.3 (Staffing and Deployment), which primarily applies to all-volunteer fire departments and combination departments that do not elect to comply with NFPA 1710. The NFPA established a link providing information regarding these standards: www.nfpa.org/SAFERActGrant .
Standard for Firefighter Professional Qualifications (FFI and II)
This standard identifies the minimum job performance requirements for career and volunteer firefighters whose duties are primarily structural in nature. The purpose of this standard is to specify the minimum job performance requirements for firefighters. It is not the intent of the standard to restrict any jurisdiction from exceeding these requirements.
Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments
To help fire departments ensure that personnel are medically capable of performing their required duties, the 2013 NFPA 1582 incorporates current research and knowledge to present the latest provisions for a comprehensive occupational medical program. The Standard provides separate chapters for the medical evaluation of candidates/prospective employees and for the occupational medical and fitness evaluations for fire department members. Requirements are equated against the essential job tasks based on several NFPA Professional Qualification Standards and apply to career, volunteer, private, industrial, governmental, and military fire department. Recruitment and Retention applicants should refer to NFPA 1582 Chapter 6, Medical Evaluations of Candidates 6.1 and Chapter 9, Essential Job Tasks — Specific Evaluation of Medical Conditions in Members (http://www.nfpa.org/freeaccess) for specific physical requirements.
National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS)
Do fire departments who apply for a SAFER Grant have to report to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS)?
No. FEMA does not require FY 2013 SAFER applicants to report to NFIRS.
Do volunteer firefighter interest organizations have to report to NFIRS?
No. Only fire departments provide reports to NFIRS.
National Incident Management System (NIMS)
Do fire departments that receive SAFER Grants have to comply with the requirements of the National Incident Management System (NIMS)?
Yes. Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5 requires that, beginning October 1, 2005, all recipients of federal preparedness funds (including recipients of federal grants and contracts) adopt the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as a condition for the receipt of the federal funds. Recipients of FY 2013 SAFER Grants will be considered to be in compliance with the NIMS requirement if the grantee: (a) Has an operational knowledge of the Incident Command System (ICS) (b) Has an understanding of NIMS’ principles and policies (c) Agrees to adopt and/or comply with all directives, ordinances, rules, orders, edicts, etc., passed down by the local or state authorities with respect to incident management. Responders who have already been trained in ICS do not need retraining if their previous training is consistent with DHS standards. In order for us to document compliance, grantees will be required to certify their compliance with the NIMS/ICS requirements as part of their grant closeout process. Grantees may contact their State Emergency Preparedness Officer or State Fire Marshal for local NIMS compliance requirements.
For Regional applications, are all of the benefiting organizations required to be NIMS compliant or just the host applicant?
Yes. All departments receiving equipment or services from a regional SAFER grant must be compliant with all local edicts regarding NIMS.
Are there targeted funding amounts for the two SAFER activities?
A total of $320,920,083 has been appropriated for the FY 2013 SAFER grants.
The appropriated funds are to be administered as indicated below. Specific funding parameters are highlighted as the result of a recommendation via the criteria development process or as required by Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974, as amended:
- 15 percent is set aside for the hiring of new firefighters (CD)
- 10 percent is set aside for the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters (15 USC § 2229a(a)(2))
- No more than 33 percent of the total amount allocated for the recruitment and retention of volunteers can be awarded to national, state, local, or tribal organizations that represent the interests of volunteer firefighters (CD)
- 10 percent is set aside for grants awarded to volunteer or majority volunteer departments for hiring of firefighters. A majority volunteer fire department is made up of more than 50 percent of personnel who do not receive financial compensation for their services, other than life, health, and worker’s compensation insurance, or a nominal stipend payment, including certain paid-on-call personnel. It may be necessary to go out of rank order to select a sufficient number of applications in order to meet the 10 percent requirement. (15 USC § 2229a(a)(1)(H))
- If less than 10 percent of the funds available for the hiring of firefighters are awarded to volunteer and majority volunteer fire departments, the remaining funds must be transferred to provide grants for the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters (15 USC § 2229a(a)(1)(H))