Don’t Miss: FEMA Funds for Hiring, Retaining Firefighters


While the world continues to focus on the fight against COVID-19, other fire emergencies don’t necessarily stop. Firefighters around the U.S. are stilled called out to fight structure fires, assist with wildfire fires, aid in search and rescue efforts, and much more.

Thankfully, the U.S. government continues to recognize the importance of fully staffed and well-trained fire agencies in the security and safety of our nation, and is doing its part to help fire departments through a FEMA grant aimed at recruitment, hiring, and retention. The catch: the grant application window will be closing May 15, 2020, so it’s imperative to get your application completed and submitted right away.

Funds for Hiring and Retaining Firefighters

In addition to two new grants available to specifically address budgetary shortfalls created by the COVID-19 crisis – namely, the Paycheck Protection Program and the Public Assistance Grant Program – FEMA is also currently accepting applications for its Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants.

SAFER Grants are available to fire agencies and organizations only and provide funding directly to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, frontline firefighters. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response, and operational standards established by NFPA 1710 and NFPA 1720.

SAFER Grant applications are currently open, but will be closing at will close on Friday, May 15 at 5 p.m. EDT. The grants are part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, which this year allocated $345 million to support the SAFER Grant Program.

According to FEMA, the purpose of the SAFER Grant Program is to assist with increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry minimum standards, to attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards, and to fulfill traditional missions of fire departments. Funds from the SAFER Grant Program are intended to support recruitment, hiring, and retention, and may only be used to hire additional firefighters, or to change the status of part-time or paid-on-call firefighters to full-time.

Fire officers interested in applying for SAFER Grants can visit FEMA’s SAFER web section for all the information and resources they need to begin the process.

Make Your Application More Complete and Competitive

As with any grant program, it’s helpful to have a good handle on your department’s documents and statistics to support your application and increase your chances of winning the grant. FEMA does offer several online tools and guidelines to help you gather your required documents, but digital tools such as those included in ESO Fire software suite can be an invaluable aid in applying for a grant.

ESO Fire software includes tools specifically tailored for fire agencies, and reducing workload by eliminating double data entry, supporting +1 codes and NFIRS codes, digitizing scheduling and personnel management, and optimizing inspection and preplanning activities. In regards to grants, it makes your data cleaner and easier to retrieve and process, offering a historic view that is often required for grant applications. This not only cuts down on the time you spend preparing your application, it makes your data – and therefore your application – stronger and more competitive.

Learn More About Fire Grants

For more insight into what makes a strong grant application and how to improve your chances of acceptance, download the free Insider’s Guide to a Successful Fire Grant Application or view the on-demand webinar: Must-Know Tips for a Successful Fire Grant Application.

You can also test your own fire grant knowledge with this online Fire Grant Quiz.



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