The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are responsible for coordinating and organizing public safety across the country. One area that falls under FEMA's jurisdiction is that of firefighting. Many volunteer departments struggle with funding for equipment, locations, and other necessities. FEMA provides a number of grant opportunities for these fire companies.
Assistance to Firefighters
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant provided by FEMA provides funding to fire departments and their affiliated medical service organizations, such as first responders. The funds are used for equipment, protection, vehicles, training and other necessities for the fire company.
The grants tend of focus on needs to improve firefighter safety and the safety of the public in the event of a firefighting emergency. This includes appropriate training and acquiring safety equipment, as well as modifications to fire stations to make sure that the firefighters live and work in stable environments.
The number of grants provided each year, as well as their value, varies each year. For the fiscal year 2010, FEMA acquired about $339 million for the grant program.
Funding opportunities also vary depending on the size of the department in question. Departments that serve 500,000 people or fewer can receive up to $1 million in aid for a fiscal year; those that serve between 500,000 and 1 million people can receive up to $1,750,000 for a fiscal year. Department that serve more than 1 million people can receive up to $2,750,000 for a fiscal year.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants provide funding to firefighting groups to increase the number of trained "front line" firefighters available to help communities.
Grants can be put toward the costs of hiring new firefighters, rehiring those who have been laid off, and meeting national standards regarding staffing requirements, response time and operational requirements. Funding also could be applied to standardized training requirements to meet federal standards and to get new hires or "re-hires" ready to face emergency situations.
Funding opportunities through the SAFER grant vary. For the 2009 fiscal year, FEMA had $210 million to distribute for these grants.
Assistance to Firefighters Station Construction Grant:
The goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Station Construction Grant is to provide funding to build new fire stations or modify existing stations. The aim is to enhance the ability of fire departments to respond to emergency situations in the community.
The focus for funding from this grant applies to improving health and safety conditions in the fire stations. Preference often is given to fire departments that have suffered cutbacks or layoffs and are struggling to fulfill the needs of the community.
FEMA had $210 million available for this program for the 2009 fiscal year.
For application instructions for any of these grants, contact the United States Department of Homeland Security or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA
800 K St. NW
Washington, DC 20472
- Photo Credit Firefighter turnout gear in night hitch image by mcsgraphic from Fotolia.com
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