Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program Frequently Asked Questions

This page addresses Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 AFG Grants.

Yes. Per 2 C.F.R. § 25.205, SAM registration is required to both begin and submit an application in the FEMA GO system. Organizational SAM.gov registrations are only active for one year and must be renewed annually. Therefore, applicants must ensure the applicant entity has a valid and active registration in SAM.gov before starting an application.

Step-by-step instructions for registering with SAM. Applicants should contact SAM.gov with questions or concerns about their SAM registration.

DHS may not make a federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS/UEI and SAM requirements. An applicant’s SAM registration must be active at the time of application, during the application review period, and when FEMA is ready to make a federal award. If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time DHS is ready to make a federal award, DHS may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a federal award and make a federal award to another applicant.

The submission of payment requests and amendments are also contingent on the information provided in the entity’s SAM.gov registration. It is imperative that all information in the application is correct, current, and matches the information in the SAM.gov registration. Please ensure that your organization’s name, address, DUNS number, and Employer Identification Number (EIN) are up to date in SAM.gov and that the DUNS number used in SAM.gov is the same number used to apply for all other FEMA grant program awards.

More information on SAM.gov is included in the FY 2021 NOFOs and on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Programs Website. If applicants have questions or concerns about a SAM registration, please contact the Federal Support Desk or call (866) 606-8220, Monday – Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET.

You will be able to review or edit the entire application prior to submission. However, if you would like to edit or change your application after submission, you will have to withdraw the application from consideration of award to edit. Then, the application must be resubmitted to FEMA to be considered for an award.

It is FEMA policy that actions initiated and/or completed without fulfilling the specific EHP requirements will not be considered for funding.

Applicants should consider the impact of the EHP process on the proposed period of performance. A project that involves clearing vegetation or trimming trees may take many months to be reviewed by EHP due to required consultation with local groups, such as conservancy, fish and wildlife, and Indian tribes. These applicants may wish to request a 24-month period of performance to ensure that the project can be completed on time.

Please see FEMA's EHP Screening form and instructions at EHP Screening Form. EHP policy guidance can be found at Preparedness Grants EHP Compliance webpage. Recipients will be notified of their EHP responsibilities in the grant award package.

If you have information about instances of fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement involving FEMA programs or operations, contact the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-800- 323-8603; by fax at 202-254-4297; or online. All procurement activity must be conducted in accordance with Federal Procurement Standards at 2 C.F.R. §§ 200.317 – 200.326.

The FY 2021 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) contains changes to definitions, descriptions, and priority categories from FY 2020. Changes to the FY 2021 AFG Program NOFO include:

  • Under the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Activity:
    • Inclusion of pre-scoring emphasis for this Activity to ensure replacing out-of-service and non-compliant PPE is of high priority
    • The following PPE priorities and definitions have been updated:
      • Increase supply for new hire/existing firefighters that do not have one set of turnout gear (PPE) or allocated seated position (self-contained breathing apparatus [SCBA]); this includes replacing out-of- service PPE and SCBA as High Priority
      • Replace in-service/in-use/damaged/unsafe/unrepairable PPE or SCBA to meet current standard as High Priority
      • Replace in-service/in-use/expired/noncompliant PPE or SCBA to current standard as High Priority
      • Upgrade technology to current standard as Low Priority
  • Additional considerations for PPE and SCBA:
    • The applicant’s call volume has a lesser impact on scoring and therefore the final funding decision
  • Under the Equipment Activity, the following priorities and definitions have been updated:
    • Obtain equipment to achieve minimum operational and deployment standards for existing missions as High Priority
    • Replace non-compliant equipment to current standard as High Priority
    • Obtain equipment for new mission as Medium Priority
    • Upgrade technology to current standard as Low Priority
  • Under Supporting Definitions:
    • Paid on-call/stipend departments are added to the definition of Combination Fire Department
    • Firefighting personnel definition is added
  • Under Modifications to Facility Activity:
    • New first-time installation of exhaust, sprinkler, carbon monoxide and/or smoke/fire detection systems are now listed as High Priority, while replacement or update/upgrade to existing systems is considered Low Priority
  • Under Equipment Activity List:
    • Respirator decontamination system is added as Medium Priority
  • Under Additions to the Application:
    • Question about frequency of live fire training is added for statistical purposes only
    • Question about self-inflicted fatalities within the department is added for statistical purposes only
    • Question regarding quantity of equipped advanced life support response vehicles (transport and non- transport) is added
  • Under Allocations and Restrictions of Available Grant Funds by Organization Type:
    • Outlined the funding available for Micro Grants applications
  • Under Application Tips:
    • Recommendation to consider non-Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) gear purchase

Online applications is only available in the AFG Program’s FEMA GO (FEMA Grants Outcomes) application portal.

Applicants must complete the following in order to start, complete, and submit an AFG Program Application:

The applicant organization must provide a valid Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number registered in the System for Award Management (SAM to apply in FEMA GO. Instructions for obtaining a DUNS number can be found online.

The applicant organization must be currently registered and active in SAM in order to apply. Further, the applicant must stay active in SAM for the entirety of the application period, otherwise they may not be selected for an award. SAM registration is available online.

Last updated February 3, 2022