SAFER Application Period Open Through Feb. 24

January 31, 2012 | By Adrianne Fielding | Post a Comment

The application period for the fiscal year 2011 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program opened yesterday. The SAFER program provides local fire departments with funding to increase their staffing and emergency-related deployment capabilities, which allows communities to have sufficient protection from fire and fire hazards.

SAFER awards are made in two categories:

  • Hiring of Firefighters; and
  • Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters.

The Hiring of Firefighters category provides funds to cover 100 percent of the salaries and benefits for new or rehired firefighters.  The Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters category provides funding for a wide range of incentives that may be offered to volunteer firefighters to encourage them to continue service in a fire department.

Volunteer and combination fire departments may apply for funding through either category. Career fire departments may only apply for funding through the Hiring of Firefighters category. Statewide or local volunteer firefighter interest organizations can apply for funding through the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters category to support regional projects.

Applicants who wish to request funding in both categories must submit two separate applications, and applicants may submit no more than one application per category.

Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. ET on Feb. 24.

Upon announcing the start of the application period, the Federal Emergency Management Agency emphasized a few important points about the FY 2011 competition:

  • There are no salary limits on positions funded through the Hiring of Firefighters category;
  • Matching funds are not required;
  • The period of performance for the Hiring of Firefighters category has been reduced to two years;
  • Although applicants are not required to retain grant-funded firefighters beyond the period of performance, layoffs of grant-funded or other firefighters are not permitted during the period of performance;
  • Under certain conditions, recipients may apply for a waiver of the staffing maintenance requirements;
  • In order of importance, the funding priorities for the Hiring of Firefighters category are:
    • Rehiring laid-off firefighters;
    • Retaining firefighters at risk of layoff and/or filling positions that are open due to attrition; and
    • Hiring new firefighters;
  • The top funding priority for the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters category is to help departments with a high rate of turnover and a staffing level that is significantly below the staffing level needed to comply with federal standards.

FEMA also described the special instructions that applicants must follow during the submission process to address a technical issue with the electronic application.

Although grantwriters and other third parties may be used to develop applications, the agency reminded applicants that they are responsible for the accuracy of their applications and urged them to carefully review any such work prior to submission.

FEMA’s announcement about the opening of the FY 2011 competition is available here. The program guidance is available here.  A quick guide to the program is available here. The application kit is accessible here. Self-evaluation sheets are available to facilitate the preparation of Hiring of Firefighters and Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters applications. More information and resources related to the SAFER program are available here.

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