The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has opened applications for its Fiscal Year 2023 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, announcing a significant allocation of $324 million to enhance public and firefighter safety against fire-related hazards.
The AFG program plays a crucial role in bolstering the nation’s defenses against fire-related incidents.
This year’s funding aims to provide essential resources for emergency response personnel, focusing on equipment acquisition, training enhancement, and fostering communication interoperability.
The program has a substantial track record of benefiting communities nationwide.
Examples include the use of AFG-funded equipment and training in life-saving scenarios, such as the rescue of a teenager in New Jersey and the prevention of a serious accident in a Kansas housefire.
Additionally, the program facilitated crucial health screenings for firefighters in Maine, highlighting the program’s far-reaching impact.
Eligible entities for the grant include fire departments, nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations, and state fire training academies.
The application period is set to close on March 8, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET.
While the available funding for FY 2023 AFG is $324 million, the total appropriation under the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2023, is $360 million, with a portion allocated to the Fire Prevention and Safety program.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, drawing from her experience as a former firefighter, emphasized the program’s importance in providing local fire departments with necessary resources: “As a former firefighter, I know the hazards and risks communities, fire departments and firefighters face, especially those that are under-resourced.
“The Assistance to Firefighters Grant program continues to have a meaningful impact on our nation’s first responders and the communities that they serve, and this new round of funding can be crucial to a local fire department’s ability to acquire needed protective gear, equipment, training, or other assets to effectively protect lives and property.
“I encourage more communities across the nation to seize this opportunity to better protect the public and the first responders who serve them.”
Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, U.S. Fire Administrator, also affirmed the impact of AFG grants at various governmental levels: “As a previous AFG grant awardee, I know the impact these dollars can make at the national, state, local, tribal and territorial level.”
For more information on the funding notice and application process, interested parties can visit FEMA’s website and Grants.gov.
FEMA also plans to offer webinars to assist applicants.
The announcement of the $324 million funding by FEMA for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program marks a significant step in enhancing the safety and preparedness of firefighters and the communities they serve.
The allocation demonstrates a continued commitment to addressing the evolving challenges faced by emergency response teams across the United States.
The program’s past successes in aiding firefighting efforts and improving emergency medical services underscore its value.
The upcoming application period offers a critical opportunity for eligible entities to access resources that could be transformative in their fire prevention and response capabilities.