FEMA Invites Fire Department and Volunteer Firefighter Interest Organizations to Apply for $360 Million in FEMA Grants to Boost Number of Trained Firefighters in Communities Nationwide

Release Date Release Number
Release Date:
March 11, 2024

WASHINGTON -- Today, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell announced the opening of the application period for the Fiscal Year 2023 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, which offers $360 million in grants directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained firefighters protecting communities across the nation. 

Building more resilient communities includes having sufficiently staffed fire departments. FEMA SAFER grant funding will be used to increase the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry minimum standards, attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate fire protection from fire and fire-related hazards and to fulfill traditional missions of fire departments. The SAFER application period will close on Friday, April 12, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET.

“All disasters are local and it’s the local firefighters that are first on the scene taking action to prevent loss of life and property,” Administrator Criswell said. “These awards are an annual opportunity for FEMA to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained firefighters available in their communities.”

Since 2005, the SAFER Program has awarded approximately $5.2 billion in grant funding. This support helps ready households and communities, trains a skilled firefighting workforce (both paid and volunteer) and builds local capacity across the nation.

“Across the nation, many career and volunteer fire departments struggle with recruitment of new firefighters and retention of those on the job,” acknowledged Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, U.S. Fire Administrator. “SAFER grant funds are essential to ensuring that local communities have enough firefighters to respond when they are needed.”   

Over the years, SAFER funds have had a big impact in communities, including stories of lives saved because of SAFER-funded staffing.

  • In Lake County, Florida, two firefighters rescued a 3-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl from a housefire. They were able to make immediate entry into the burning home because of additional staffing from a SAFER grant.
  • A firefighter from Pennsylvania’s Southwest Greensburg Fire Department, hired through a SAFER grant, climbed nine flights of stairs to rescue a man from an apartment fire.
  • In Arizona, the City of Maricopa Fire/Medical department was able to continue 24/7 coverage in each fire protection zone during the COVID pandemic in 2020 because of SAFER funding.

The FY 2023 SAFER Notice of Funding opportunity and technical assistance documents for this program are available at www.grants.gov and on the FEMA website. Additional information about upcoming webinars to assist applicants is also available on the FEMA website.

Last updated