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Assistance to Firefighters Grant 2016 Frequently Asked Questions

The page contains a list of frequently asked questions and anwsers for the 2016 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program application period. The information is intended for AFG stakeholders, which include, but are not limited to, award recipients and the communities they serve.

What’s New For 2016

Wellness and Fitness Micro Grants

Priority 1 Wellness and Fitness activities are now eligible when applying for a Micro Grant.

Change to Complete Set of PPE Definition

AFG will now consider a complete set of PPE to include 2 sets of gloves and 2 hoods.

Equipment Product Lifecycles

Equipment will now be scored using an additional variable of “Age Category.” Equipment is assigned an age category of Short (5-7 years), Medium (8-14 years), or Long (15-20 years). These age categories are used to compare like types of equipment. Under this system, an item that should have a useful life of 10 years is only competing against other items that have a similar lifecycle. An application does not score higher or lower based on the product lifecycle of an item. It only serves to ensure a more even scoring of equipment based on type.

Tow Vehicles

Tow vehicles are now listed under a separate chart in the equipment section to clarify the priority levels between application types.

Federal Regulations governing Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

FEMA anticipates that all FY 2016 AFG awards will be made after the adoption of new regulations governing administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements for Federal awards.

Reminders for 2016

Applicants must now affirm all of the following in order to complete and submit an AFG application:

  • The applicant organization has provided its own unique Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in this application.
  • The applicant organization, as required per 2 CFR § 25.205, is currently registered in the System for Award Management (SAM).
  • The applicant organization has consulted the appropriate Funding Opportunity Announcement and that all requested activities are programmatically allowable, technically feasible and can be completed within the award’s one year Period of Performance (POP).
  • The applicant organization is aware that this application period is open Tuesday, October 11, 2016 from 8 AM Eastern Time and will close Friday, November 18, 2016 at 5 PM EST; further that the applicant organization is aware that once an application is submitted, even if the application period is still open, a submitted application cannot be changed or released back to the applicant for modification.
  • The applicant organization is aware that it is solely the applicant organization’s responsibility to ensure that all activities funded by this award(s) comply with Federal environmental planning and historic preservation (EHP) regulations, laws, and Executive Orders as applicable. The EHP Screening Form designed to initiate and facilitate the EHP Review is available online.
  • The applicant organization is aware that it is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of all application information submitted. Regardless of the applicant’s intent, the submission of information that is false or misleading may result in actions by FEMA that include, but are not limited to the submitted application not being considered for award, an existing award being locked pending investigation, or referral to the Office of the Inspector General.


  • In the application narrative, an organization may indicate a voluntary pledge to commit additional financial support toward a project(s) cost, which is in addition to their required cost share obligation as detailed in the NOFO and required by law. FEMA will not account for this promised additional funding in the terms of the award. The award budget will not account for any voluntary committed cost sharing or overmatch.


  • Refurbished and used (previously owned) vehicles are no longer eligible for acquisition and are not an eligible grant expense.

Ballistic Protective Equipment (BPE) is eligible under PPE

Ballistic Protective Equipment are now eligible as a new mission under PPE. A set of BPE is comprised of one vest, one helmet, one triage bag, and one pair of goggles. 

  • Fire and EMS personnel should be properly trained and qualified in the use of the ballistic protection equipment and active shooter/mass casualty incident tactics and procedures. Interagency training and exercises are highly encouraged and should be fully explained as part of the applicant’s narrative, if applicable.

Allowable Items Moved from the Training activity to the Equipment Activity

  • For the FY2016 AFG program, all simulators, as well as mobile or fixed fire/evolution props, (e.g. burn trailers, forcible entry, rescue/smoke maze) and Tow Vehicles have been moved from the Training activity to the Equipment Activity.

Environmental and Historical Preservation:

  • It is FEMA Policy that actions initiated and/or completed without fulfilling the specific documentation and procedural requirements of NEPA will not be considered for funding.
  • FEMA Policy 108.24.4 (linked below) provides procedural guidelines for completing environmental reviews as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in cases where Federal Emergency Management Agency funded projects require initiation or action prior to the completion of the environmental review. FP 108.24.4, Environmental Planning and Historical Preservation Policy
  • AFG Activities that may require renovation or installation, (supporting Training, Equipment, PPE, or Wellness and Fitness), that would qualify as a modification to facility, and will require an EHP review; include but not limited to: air compressor/fill station/cascade system (Fixed) for filling SCBA; air quality systems; alarm/alerting systems; antennas; generators (fixed); sprinklers; vehicle exhaust systems (fixed) or washer/dryer/extractors.
  • Please see FEMA's Environmental and Historic Preservation (EHP) Screening Process. EHP Screening form and instructions are available online. Grantees will be notified of their EHP responsibilities in the grant award package.

Excess Funds: The $10,000 maximum is cumulative for any grant, regardless of the number of activities within the award, and will require no amendment; except when the use of excess funds (not to exceed $10,000 cumulatively) is for any eligible activity that would normally require an EHP Review.

  • Excess funds cannot be used to support Fire Prevention and Safety activities. The opportunity for excess funds is limited when the original uncompleted Scope of Work is changed via Amendment.
  • Excess funds cannot be used for grant writer/preparer fees.
  • Excess funds may only be used for allowable activities identified in the program guidance for that fiscal year’s grant cycle.
  • 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 All procurement activity must be conducted in accordance with Federal Procurement Standards at 2 C.F.R. §§ 200.317 – 200.326

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.

Eligible Applicant Category: State Fire Training Academy was added in 2013

EMS Category: Community Paramedics (EMT-Ps with Primary Care certification) was added in 2013

Standard for Ambulances: Ambulances must meet NFPA 1917: Standard for Automotive Ambulances, Edition 2016.

Micro Grants (MGs): Fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations 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 the section on Micro Grants, of the 2016 AFG NOFO.

State Fire Training Academies: State Fire Training Academies are eligible for all AFG vehicle acquisition.

System for Award Management (SAM) 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 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.

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.

When is the 2016 AFG Operations and Safety application period?

Grantees may submit completed applications as early as Tuesday, October 11, 2016 but no later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time on Friday, November 18, 2016.

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 are available online.

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 be 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. the Excess Funds section of the 2016 AFG NOFO.

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 3 percent 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 3 percent 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.

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 .

Is reporting to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) required to apply for and be awarded an AFG grant?

While NFIRS reporting is strongly encouraged for all fire departments (as defined by 15 USC § 2229(a)(7)), NFIRS reporting is not a requirement to apply for any AFG program, however fire departments that receive funding under this program must agree to provide information to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for the period covered by the assistance. If a recipient does not currently participate in the incident reporting system and does not have the capacity to report at the time of the award, that recipient must agree to provide information to the system for a twelve-month period commencing as soon as possible after they develop the capacity to report. Capacity to report to the NFIRS must be established prior to the termination of the one-year performance period. The recipient may be asked by FEMA to provide proof of compliance in reporting to NFIRS. Any recipient that stops reporting to NFIRS during their grant’s period of performance is subject to having their award(s) modified or withdrawn.

AFG does not have NFIRS reporting requirements for nonaffiliated EMS organizations and State Fire Training Academies.

How do I access the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards to assist with filling out the 2016 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

Can a State Fire Training Academy apply for an AFG grant?

Yes, the State Training Academies are eligible applicants to submit applications for an AFG grant. A State Fire Training Academy applicant may only apply for Equipment and PPE awards.

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. Learn more

What are Community Paramedics and what is their role?

Community Paramedics are Paramedics with Primary Care certification. 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 Community Paramedic Program has the potential to:  1) Reduce health system expenditures; 2) Become self-sustaining; and 3) Enhance public health and safety by meaningfully supporting the health and social welfare needs of the community.

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 //  and go to NFPA Standard 1917: Standard for Automotive Ambulances, Edition 2016.

What is the minimum number of staff for a Fire Department to be considered a Metro Department?

For FY2016, the AFG Program defines a metro fire department as one that has a minimum of 350 paid/career members.

What is a Micro Grant?

The selection of the voluntary Micro Grant option (cumulative Federal participation of $25,000), for eligible Operations and Safety activities, does not impact an applicant’s request or federal participation under the Vehicle Acquisition or Regional programs. Applicants that select Micro Grants as a funding opportunity choice may receive additional consideration for award.

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".

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?

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. Contact changes may take up to two weeks to process. The letter must be on your fire department letterhead and signed by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), that titled position having the authority to request such change(s) e.g. "Fire Chief" in an organization where the Fire Chief has such authority;  or "President" in a nonaffiliated EMS organization where the President has such authority.

  • Fax a copy of the letter to the AFG Program Office. The number is 540-504-2884. After faxing the letter to the AFG Program Office, please mail the original letter to:

    DHS/FEMA/Grant Programs Directorate
    Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program - 3rd Floor
    400 C Street, SW
    Washington, DC 20472
  • The following information must be included in the letter:
    1. Grant number
    2. Previous primary contact person's name
    3. Explanation of why access to the grant is needed
    4. New contact person's name
    5. New contact person's mother's maiden name
    6. New contact person's date of birth
    7. New contact person's e-mail address
    8. Two phone numbers for the new contact person

A mailed letter may take two weeks to process. However, soon after faxing the letter to the AFG Program Office, 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 with your user ID and temporary password.

If you do not receive this automated e-mail from 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.

What is the nomination process to become an Assistance to Firefighters Grant Peer Review Panelist?

To be nominated to become an AFG Peer Review Panelist should contact their respective fire organization. If you are not affiliated to any of these organizations please send a brief summary of your emergency fire service background to;  and answer the question; Why do I want to be a panelist?

Or mail the information to:

Ms. Terry Fisher
McKing Consulting
11821 Parklawn Dr.
Rockville, MD 20852

National Fire Organizations (Criteria Development Panel Members)

  • IAAI – International Association of Arson Investigators
  • IAFF – International Association of Fire Fighters
  • CFSI – Congressional Fire Service Institute
  • NAFTD – North American Fire Training Directors
  • ISFSI – International Society of Fire Service Instructors
  • NFPA – National Fire Protection Association
  • NASFM – National Association of State Fire Marshals
  • IAFC – International Association of Fire Chiefs
  • NVFC – National Volunteer Fire Council

            Other National Fire Organizations

  • IAHF – International Association of Hispanic Firefighters
  • IABPFF – International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters
  • WFS – Women in the Fire Service
  • NAFC – Native American Fire Chiefs
  • NAHF – National Association of Hispanic Firefighters
  • FDSOA – Fire Department Safety Officers Association

Where can the NFPA Codes that the AFG Program reference be found?

As part of their commitment to enhance public safety, NFPA made its codes and standards available online to the public for free. To access these codes, please visit:

When must an applicant achieve the level of NIMS compliance if awarded a 2016 AFG grant?

Any applicant that receives an FY 2016 AFG award must achieve the level of NIMS compliance required by the authority having command and control jurisdiction over the applicant’s emergency service operations, prior to the end of the grant’s period of performance. AFG applicants are not required to be in compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS), either to apply for AFG funding or to receive an AFG award.

Last Updated: 
12/21/2017 - 08:09