Where Can I Find Funding or Grants? Show Me the Money!
Finding funding and grants for fire service training is an important way for fire departments to support their operations and their mission of providing services to their community. Grants can be used for many different things, depending on the type and requirements. Funding that is available to fire departments and EMS agencies can help with the purchasing of equipment and apparatus, money for PPE and communication upgrades, and funds for training members and volunteers. This is especially true during times of crisis, natural disasters, as well as pandemics!
Training & Funding in Times of Crisis
When it comes to the challenge of training during a pandemic, Action Training Systems’ customer Mike Simmons, Academic Director at Kilgore Fire Academic fortunately had his hybrid training program up and running prior to the pandemic. Mike felt he definitely had an advantage and was in the perfect position to continue his program. He had this advice for other departments who may be scrambling to keep their training on track and need grants or funding.
“With covid 19 virus going on and government challenging us to continuing to train firefighters in creative ways. That means it’s going to cost us some money. I encourage you to check with your state and federal resources because, during these times of crisis, the government understands and knows that those are the things that will have change or to be developed, so there’s probably a lot of grant money out there that you can pursue through the state for training funds.”
Grants are awarded through either the federal government or by non-federal entities, such as nonprofit organizations or for-profit businesses (Walmart and Target have grants for first responders). Grants are used to fund projects that provide public services or to support critical recovery initiatives, help during a public health crisis, or natural disaster relief, research, and other public programs. The many grants follow a linear lifecycle. Often the awards are cyclical and awarded quarterly or annually.
Fire departments should track and apply for the many funding opportunities that are available to them. Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to notify the public of the availability of grant funds. Here are some of the most common grants (federal and foundations) for first responders, EMS, and fire agencies. These include:
Assistance to Firefighters Grant program https://www.fema.gov/grants/preparedness/firefighters
Joey D. Foundation https://www.joeydfoundation.org/contact-us/
Gary Sinise Foundation https://www.garysinisefoundation.org/mission/
Fire Prevention & Safety Grant https://www.fema.gov/grants/preparedness/firefighters/safety-awards
Staffing For Adequate Fire And Emergency Response (SAFER) https://www.fema.gov/grants/preparedness/firefighters/safe
Special Funding Sources
Again, special federal grants are often created during times of public emergencies, or for disaster relief. Mike Simmons shared some suggestions for those in the state of Texas who need to adapt their training program or find new funding sources.
“For us, in the state of Texas, we have a couple things that State and State Fireman and Fire Marshal Association, which has HB 2604 training money. We also have “TIPMAS money” which is Texas Interstate Fire Mutual Aid System. That money’s put out there by the state, by the federal government, in order to assist you with developing new training programs. Look into those funds and see if they are available and really try to pursue them right.”
Finding Money: Lists & Resources For Grants
To find other grant opportunities for first responders you can find lists on the Homeland Security, Science, and Technology site. Another reliable source, with a broader base of funding, is the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). This catalog lists all of the available funding programs to all levels of government, nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses, and other eligible entities.
Also, Grants.gov provides a consolidated search for grants and cooperative agreement opportunities from all federal grant-making agencies. You can search for grants using filters and apply for specific grants. Other resources that you may find helpful but are subscription-based, includes The Foundation Center which maintains a comprehensive database on the U.S. and global grantmakers and their funding opportunities. And, the Funding Information Network facilitates access to grant resources and publications to under-resourced entities and populations.
FEMA’s Grants Management System
All AFG, SAFER, and Fire Prevention applications and grant awards will be through the FEMA Grants Outcomes (FEMA GO). This is a grants management system that allows users to apply, track, and manage all disaster and non-disaster grants. It also improves oversight and monitoring.
- Make sure that your SAM.GOV registration is and remains ACTIVE during the period of performance of your grant.
- Be sure to update SAM and FEMA GO if there are changes in your AOR. (Authorized Organization Representative)
- Make sure your FEMA GO registration is good to go NOW.
You can find more information and guidance about this process on the FEMA website and here you can find Regional contacts for FEMA. State and regional directories can also be found using the Community Foundation Locator and will direct you to grant-making foundations in your area.
Don’t Miss Out On Grants!
Billions of dollars are allocated every year to help enhance fire and EMS organizations’ ability to protect the health and safety of the public, and their first responders. The grants can be used to support all aspects of a fire department operation including community risk reduction initiatives, facilities, equipment, apparatus, and the training of volunteers and personnel. Don’t miss out on these funds!
RIGHT NOW: This round of AFG grants will provide $319.5 million to help fire departments, state fire training academies, and non-affiliated EMS organizations to improve their baseline response capability for responding to all hazards. Application Deadline: Friday, February 12, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. ET Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program
Looking for Training Resources?
Our Training Consultants can help you to identify ways that you can use your grants to purchase Action Training Systems DVDs, online training, or other instructor resources.
Call us today we have decades of experience and are 100% focused on serving the first responder community!