The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have opened the application period for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. While the fiscal year 2011 AFG program remains largely unchanged from last year, DHS has made a few important adaptations to the program, according to the Fairfax, Va.-based International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC).

The application period opened on Monday and will end at 5 p.m. EST on Sept. 9. The program has more than $404 million available for career, volunteer and combination fire and non-affiliated EMS departments to apply for basic equipment, training, and wellness and fitness needs.

The changes mentioned by IAFC include:

• New Guidance: The AFG Guidance and Application Kit now includes two separate documents. Section I of the kit is designed to help grantees during the application period. Section II is intended to help grantees understand the rules and regulations associated with administering the federally funded grant awards. Both sections of the grant guidance and other AFG documents are available on FEMA's Assistance to Firefighters Grants website.
• Scoring Changes: Applications will receive two reviews that comprise their total score. The first review, which counts for 50 percent of the total score, will measure the request to see if it meets the funding priorities. The second review is the panel score, which also is 50 percent of the total application score.
• Funding Priorities and Eligible Items: Funding priorities are now categorized as high, medium and low, and more items have been made eligible for funding by the AFG program, such as behavioral health programs, boats under 20 feet and extended warranties. More changes in eligibility are discussed on the IAFC website.

Read more about the AFG program.

Related Stories