At US Digital Designs, we’re often asked to assist our customers and prospects with fire department grant writing—especially as it relates to helping them secure funding for a new fire station alerting system.
For example, a fire chief recently inquired:
“Do you know where we can find some grants that are available for fire station- or EMS-related operations, and/or where to locate help in effectively applying for and writing them?”
Although the topic of fire department grant writing isn’t specifically in USDD’s ‘wheelhouse’ (nor can we assert what agency funds might be available),we’ve been asked enough times that we decided to do a bit of research to assist our customers.
Somewhat surprisingly even to us, we found a few solid, safety operations-related websites that offer a significant amount of information on grants and grant-writing.
Below are several online resources to assist with fire department grant writing:
The Firegrantshelp.com site offers fee-based assistance in fire station grant writing. They claim that they’re responsible for $40 million in awarded grant funding, and that their success rate for grant approval runs 60-percent higher than the national average. They also advertise that their grant writers are all former or current firefighters or emergency medical services (EMS) professionals.
Fire Corps Grants and Funding
The Fire Corps website, while specific to purposes other than general fire station systems and facilities, offers some general information on several grants and other funding resources available to fire and EMS departments that can help you begin, support, and expand your grant-securing efforts. Some of the grants listed on this site are duplicated in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) information below, but the following are unique to this site.
- U.S. Fire Administration Grants and Funding — The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) provides information for fire departments and other first responder organizations on financial assistance available from the USFA and other federal agencies. Highlighted information includes the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, and other ideas for funding alternatives.
- Federal Grants Wire — Federal Grants Wire is a free resource to search for information about available federal grants, government grants, and loans. The site offers over 1,800 federal grant and loan opportunities, organized by sponsoring agency, applicant type, and subject area to help you find funding opportunities applicable to your program and/or agency. There is also a searchable grant directory and index. Additionally, Federal Grants Wire has multiple resources which provide information such as the definition and classifications of federal grants, how to write grant proposals, tips on applying for federal grants, application eligibility requirements, and more.
- FireGrantsHelp.com — [Also mentioned above]The mission of FireGrantsHelp.com is to provide first responders with a comprehensive resource for grant information and assistance. This site features an extensive database of available grants, with a library of information including federal grants as well as state, local, and corporate grant opportunities. FireGrantsHelp.com also offers a multitude of grant assistance tools, from the ‘Grants 101’ tutorial to a wide range of links to research and reference sites.
- FM Global Fire Prevention Grant Program — FM Global, one of the world’s largest business property insurers, has created a new Fire Prevention Grant Program to assist fire departments, along with national, state, regional, local and community organizations to more effectively prevent fires, which happens to be the leading cause of commercial and industrial property damage. Funding from this program is available to support a wide variety of fire prevention, preparedness and control efforts, including arson prevention and investigation; pre-fire planning for commercial, industrial and institutional facilities; and fire prevention education and training initiatives, to name a few.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance
In the U.S., the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides information for three grant programs available to fire departments wishing to enhance their ability to protect the public and fire service personnel from fire and related hazards.
- Assistance to Firefighters Grant – The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is to help meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and emergency medical service organizations. The site reports that, since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public.
- Fire Prevention and Safety Grants – The Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grants are part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards. The primary goal is to reduce injury and prevent death among high-risk populations. In 2005, Congress reauthorized funding for FP&S and expanded the eligible uses of funds to include Firefighter Safety Research and Development.
- Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response – The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) rules 1710 and/or 1720.
Attention FEMA applicants:
To receive an award from AFG, FP&S and SAFER, your fire department must register with the online System for Award Management (Sam.gov). Eligible grantees must have their SAM.gov account validated through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and have their CAGE (Commercial and Government Entity) code validated. These validations are conducted as part of the registration process after the organization has submitted their SAM.gov registration. For questions about SAM, contact your State Assigned Grants Management Specialists or visit our SAM resource page. SAM.gov is administered through the Government Services Administration (GSA). Technical assistance may be obtained through the Federal Service Desk at 1-866-606-8220.
If you’re in the market for fire department grant writing assistance, we recommend that you subscribe to FEMA’s bi-weekly email alerts. This information will help you stay on top of deadlines regarding FEMA’s three funding opportunities.
Can USDD Help?
We know that the grant application and writing process can be as burdensome as it is valuable. It can be time-consuming and frustrating, but, in the end, well worth the effort. We hope the information we provided above will help take some of the pain out of the process. As we said, we’re not topic experts in this field, but if there’s anything we can offer you about fire station grant writing or other related grant-writing resources, send us a quick email for a no-obligation discussion.
As a fire safety or EMS professional, you might have come across your own excellent resources for grant-writing and funding assistance. If so, please feel free to share them with us; we’d love to hear from you.