Fairfax, Va., - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) opened its application period for the SAFER Grant program today. The application period is open until 5 PM EST on Friday, March 6.
Congress appropriated $340 million in fiscal year 2014 for the SAFER Grant program. The program is designed to help career, volunteer and combination fire departments meet their staffing needs.
The program has two categories:
- Hiring of Firefighters
- Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters
Here are some important updates about this round of SAFER grants:
- Cost Share – SAFER grantees are not required to contribute a cost share towards the cost of hiring firefighters
- Salary limits per firefighter – SAFER grant funds may be used to fund the full cost of hiring firefighters.
- Maintenance of effort – Applicants are not required to demonstrate that their annual budget for fire-related programs and emergency response has not been reduced below 80% of the average funding level in the preceding three years.
- Supplanting requirement – Grants may be used for the purpose of retaining firefighters currently employed who are facing imminent layoffs or for rehiring laid-off firefighters.
- Period of performance – In the Hiring of Firefighters category, the period of performance is reduced to two years.
For this round of application, the Hiring of Firefighters category has three priorities:
- The first priority is the rehiring of laid-off firefighters.
- The second priority is retention of firefighters who face imminent layoff or filling positions vacated through attrition but not filled due to economic circumstances.
- The third priority is hiring new firefighters.
For the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters Category, the highest priority is to assist departments facing a high rate of turnover that have staffing levels significantly below the ideal staffing level required to comply with the NFPA 1710 or 1720 standards.
DHS has developed a number of tools to help SAFER applicants, including an application checklist, FAQs and self-evaluation sheets.
The IAFC encourages you to read the Funding Opportunity Announcement (PDF) before completing an application to help ensure you accurately meet all of DHS’s requirements.
To help your grant-writing effort, check out the On Scene article Write Successful Grant Applications: Ten Steps for Fire-Service Grant Funding; it offers basic information and a ten-step plan for successful grant writing.
About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more