For Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010, fire departments will be permitted to use SAFER funds to rehire fire fighters who were laid off and restore cuts made to staffing as a result of the financial crisis, in addition to using grants to grow fire departments. In addition, no local funding match is required for grants made for Fiscal Years 2009 or 2010.
Traditionally, SAFER grants have been limited to departments seeking to hire new, additional fire fighters.
The IAFF worked with the Obama administration and key members of Congress to pass legislation allowing these changes, and worked closely with DHS to establish rules governing their use.
The new rules are not retroactive and do not affect current SAFER grants.
The application period for Fiscal Year 2009 SAFER grants recently closed. However, FEMA is expected to open the application period for Fiscal Year 2010 grants in early spring or summer, 2010.
Additional information on SAFER grants and the new rules can be found on FEMA's SAFER website at www.firegrantsupport.com/safer