The page contains a list of frequently asked questions and anwsers for the 2013 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program application period. The intended for AFG stakeholders, which include but are not limited to award recipients and the communities they serve.
1. What's new for 2013?
- Environmental and Historical Review Screening Forms on AFG Application portal: AFG Funded Projects that involve the installation of equipment (including but not limited to antennas, sprinklers, alarm systems, generators, vehicle exhaust systems, air improvement systems, permanent mounted signs or renovations to facilities) are subject to FEMA's Environmental and Historic Preservation (EHP) Screening Process. Download the EHP Screening form and instructions. Grantees will be notified of their EHP responsibilities in the grant award package.
- Excess Funds: The threshold for when a grantee must submit an amendment to expend excess funds, in most cases, was raised to $10,000. For more details, please see Appendix C > C. Excess Funds, page 66 of the 2013 AFG FOA.
- Help FEMA Prevent Fraud, Waste and Abuse: If you have information about instances of fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement involving FEMA programs or operations, you should contact the DHS OIG Hotline at 1-800-323-8603; by fax at 202-254-4297; or e-mail DHSOIGHOTLlNE@dhs.gov. For more information, see Appendix C > D. Procurement Integrity, page 67 of the 2013 AFG FOA.
- National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS): While NFIRS reporting is strongly encouraged, NFIRS reporting is not a requirement to apply for, or be awarded a grant within the AFG Program. However, any fire based organization(s) that receives an AFG Grant must commence reporting to NFIRS prior to the beginning of their period of performance. In order to be compliant and closeout the grant, the grantee may be asked by FEMA to provide proof of compliance in reporting to NFIRS. Any grantee that stops reporting to NFIRS during their grant's Period of Performance is subject to having their award(s) modified or withdrawn.
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): Courtesy of the NFPA (and at no cost during the AFG Application period), relevant standards that should be referenced in your applications may be viewed at NFPA Free Access
- New Eligible Applicant Category: State Fire Training Academy
- New EMS Category: Community Paramedics (EMT-Ps with Primary Care certification)
- New Standard for Ambulances: Ambulances must meet NFPA 1917: Standard for Automotive Ambulances, Edition 2013.
- Micro Grants (MGs): Fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizationsnow have a voluntary funding limitation choice (within the application) for any AFG Operations & Safety program activity. MGs are not an additional funding opportunity but MG applicants may receive additional consideration for an award, please see Micro Grants, page 23 of the 2013 AFG FOA.
- State Fire Training Academies:State Fire Training Academies are eligible for all AFG vehicle acquisition.
- System for Award Management (SAM) has replaced CCR. Sam.gov registration is free. AFG will not accept any application(s), make any award, process any payment request or consider any amendment until the applicant or grantee has complied with the requirements to provide a valid DUNS number and an active SAM registration with current information.
- System for Award Management (SAM) Registrants: Banking information, EIN number, organization/entity name, address and DUNS number provided in your AFG application must match the information that you provided in SAM.gov. SAM will send notifications to the registered user via email 60, 30 and 15 days prior to expiration of the record. You can search for registered entities in SAM by typing the DUNS number or business name into the search box.
- SAM Registration: A valid SAM Registration is a requirement to apply for an AFG grant. Per 2 CFR Part 25, all grant applicants must have an active current SAM registration status at the time of application submission and throughout the duration of any Federal award.
- Vehicle Acquisition: Beginning FY 2013, fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations can apply for vehicles under the component program Joint/Regional. Like previous years, vehicle activity funds may also be used to refurbish a vehicle the department currently owns.
2. Reminders for 2013
Here are answers to how SAM transition affects AFG awardees and applicants questions about the transition based on information taken from the CCR Website.
At the end of July 2012, all data in the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) along with Federal Agency Registration (FedReg) was moved to the new System for Award Management (SAM) to reduce the number of different systems where grantees and contractors need to interact and to reduce the amount of redundant information.
3. Do I need to register in SAM to submit an application?
All grant applicants must have an active current SAM registration status at the time of application submission and throughout the duration of any federal award.
4. What will happen to my CCR data when I register into SAM?
Your data will be migrated or moved from CCR into SAM. It will be in SAM when you are ready to access it. When it is time to renew your registration, you will go to SAM.gov, create a simple SAM user account and follow the online instructions to validate and update your information.
5. When do I need to register for a user account in SAM?
You need to register immediately for a user account in SAM if you intend to submit an FY2013 AFG application.
6. Where can I find more information about SAM?
Information about SAM can be found at SAM.gov: Updated SAM training material is also posted to SAM.gov. Federal Service Desk (FSD) (1-866-606-8220): The FSD provides help desk support for users of SAM and other acquisition-related systems and websites.
7. 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.
8. 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:
Attn: Assistant Administrator Brian Kamoie
400 C Street S.W., 3N
Washington, D.C. 20472-3635
9. When is the 2013 AFG Operations and Safety application period?
Grantees may submit completed applications as early as Monday, November 4, 2013, as but no later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time on Friday, December 6, 2013.
10. Where can I find a copy of the Environmental and Historical Preservation (EHP) review screening form?
The Environmental and Historical Review Screening Form can be found on AFG Application portal: EHP Screening form and instructions.
11. Once the scope of work of an awarded project is finished and there are funds remaining, how much of these remaining funds can be spent without an amendment request approval?
The excess funds threshold is $10,000. If the excess funds in this amount or less the funding may used to enhance the awarded activities and you will not be required to submit an amendment request for AFG Approval unless you want to use excess funds for another activity. For more details, please see Appendix C > C. Excess Funds, on page 65 of the 2013 AFG FOA
12. What is Management and Administration (M&A)?
Management and Administration are administrative expenses that are incurred during the administration of an AFG award.
No more than three percent (3%) of AFG Funds awarded may be used solely for management and administration with the AFG under any of the program areas (Vehicle Acquisition, Operations and Safety & Joint or Regional) listed above in accordance with 2 CFR Part 225, Cost Principles for state, local and Indian Tribal Governments (OMB Circular A-87) or 2 CFR Part 230, Cost Principles for Non- Profit Organizations (OMB Circular A-122), as applicable.
Applicants may apply for administrative costs if the costs are directly related to the implementation of the program for which they are applying. Administrative costs are identifiable costs directly associated with the implementation and management of the grant and cannot exceed three percent (3%) of the award.
If you are requesting administrative expenses, you must list the costs under the "Other" category in the budget and explain the purpose for the administrative costs in your Project Narrative.
Administrative costs should be based on actual expenses only, not a percentage of the overall grant. Examples of eligible administrative costs include shipping, office supplies and computers and software associated with the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) reporting requirements.
Grant funds may not be used for insurance, Internet service provider fees, or any similar monthly service fees.
13. Who do I contact to help FEMA prevent fraud, waste and abuse or mismanagement by an AFG grantee?
If you have information about instances of fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement involving FEMA programs or operations, you should contact the DHS OIG Hotline at 1-800-323-8603; by fax at 202-254-4297; or e-mail DHSOIGHOTLINE@dhs.gov. For more information, see Appendix C > D. Procurement Integrity, page 67 of the 2013 AFG FOA.
14. Is reporting to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) required to apply for and be awarded an AFG grant?
Reporting to NFIRS is strongly encouraged, NFIRS reporting is not a requirement an applicant must have to apply for, or be awarded a grant within any AFG Program. Any fire based organization(s) that receives an AFG Grant should be reporting to NFIRS prior to the beginning of their grants period of performance. In order to be compliant and closeout the grant, the grantee may be asked by FEMA to provide proof of compliance in reporting to NFIRS. Any grantee that stops reporting to NFIRS during their grant's Period of Performance is subject to having their award(s) modified or withdrawn.
15. How do I access the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards to assist with filling out the 2013 AFG application if I am not a NFPA member?
Courtesy of the NFPA (and at no cost during the AFG Application period), relevant standards that should be referenced in your applications may be viewed at the NFPA Free Access Page
16. Can a State Fire Training Academy apply for an AFG grant?
Yes, the State Training Academies are now eligible applicants to submit applications for an AFG grant. A State Fire Training Academy applicant may only apply for Equipment and PPE awards.
17. Are training props that support the delivery of training by State Fire Training Academies (SFTA) eligible under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program?
FEMA recognizes the unique mission of State Fire Training Academies (SFTA) to deliver training to firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel throughout their state.
18. What are Community Paramedics and what is their role?
The Community Paramedic (CP) is considered as a back-up emergency response unit when no actual emergency exist. They should be immediately available to respond to a scene, arrange appointments and transport patients to alternate destinations through established partnerships or direct field communication. Established alternative destinations should include walk-in clinics, mental health triage, social detox facilities, shelters and homeless services and in-home assistance services among others. They also schedule in-home evaluation of high-risk patients following hospital discharge. They are able to assess and report to the referring physicians using standard field tools including EKG, blood glucose, pulse oximetry, venous lactate, end-tidal carbon dioxide, along with the standard vital signs and optional blood draws along with the immediate availability of transport and treatment if needed.
A Community Paramedic Program should seek to establish a sustainable model for improving the use of existing EMS providers through scope of practice flexibility and coordination with other health providers. A CP program has the potential to: 1) Reduce health system expenditures 2) Become self-sustaining 3) Enhance public health and safety by meaningfully supporting the health and social welfare needs of the community.
19. What is the standard that an ambulance must meet and where can this standard be found?
The new standard that an ambulance must meet is NFPA 1917. It can be accessed at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) at //www.nfpa.org/freeaccess and go to NFPA Standard 1917: Standard for Automotive Ambulances, Edition 2013.
20. What is the minimum number of staff for a Fire Department to be considered a Metro Department?
For FY2013, the AFG Program defines a metro fire department as one that has a minimum of 350 paid/career members.
21. What is a Micro Grant?
Micro Grants is a voluntary funding limitation choice (within the application) for any AFG Operations & Safety program activity. Micro Grant awards have a federal share not exceeding $25,000 and are not an additional funding opportunity. Micro Grant applicants may receive additional consideration for an award.
22. When an AFG grant is accepted by the grantee, when does the period of performance for the award start?
Grantees are notified via email and through the AFG e-grants system of the award offer. The grantee shall notify the awarding agency of its intent to accept or decline the award. Grantees must accept their grant awards no later than 30 days from the award date.
Funds remain on hold (for a maximum of 90 days) until the grantee accepts or declines the award through official correspondence (e.g., written, electronic signature, signed letter or fax) to the Grant Programs. The grant award date can be found in the award agreement within the
Obligating Document for Award in section "14. - Performance Period".
23. How do I obtain a user ID and/or password to access the grant system if I don't have the username and password of the person who submitted a grant from our department in previous years?
Fax 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 1-540-504-2884.
After faxing the letter, please mail the original letter to:
Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program
400 C Street S.W., 3N
Washington, D.C. 20472-3635
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 William Dunham, you will receive an e-mail telling you that the system has been updated and your name was placed 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.gov within two days of faxing your request and receiving the e-mail telling you that your name was placed on the grant, you should look in your junk mail file. The electronic e-mails are sometimes filtered and sent directly to junk mail.