Resources

Take Our Survey!
The IAFF Grants Department is conducting this survey to better direct our grant outreach efforts, specifically with regards to FEMA’s Assistance to Fire Fighters Grants (AFG). The survey should take about three minutes to complete and only those who request so will be contacted for follow up information. Your responses and time are very much appreciated!
Federal Grants FAQs
​We have gathered important resources for those interested in obtaining a federal grant, including how to get started, what can be requested, the FEMA application process, grant writing and more.
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER) was created to provide funding directly to fire departments to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, “​frontline” fire fighters 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 NFPA (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA1720). The SAFER Grant Guidance and Application Kit will be posted on FEMA’s SAFER Assistance to Firefighters web site near the start of the application period. All SAFER applicants should read the Guidance to fully understand any changes to the program, award criteria, funding priorities and important special application instructions for completing the application.​
Assistance to Firefighters (AFG or FIRE Act) Grant Program
The AFG or FIRE Act grant helps fire departments purchase equipment and receive training that departments could not otherwise afford. Equipment and training funded by the FIRE grant program help fire fighters do their jobs safely and effectively by improving the effectiveness of fire department operations and protecting the health and safety of local fire fighters.
Grant Application Guidance Documents
There are a number of IAFF training programs that are eligible for grant funding. These documents will assist your department with completing the application and provide many of the necessary narrative details.
Frontline Blog: Grants and Funding
The IAFF Frontline Blog provides commentary, news and updates on issues important to our members and the IAFF, including grants and funding.

Grant Application Guidance Documents

Grant Application Guidance 
There are a number of IAFF training programs that are eligible for grant funding. These documents will assist your department with completing the application and provide many of the necessary narrative details. Note: If you are considering a regional application, you should begin contacting the partnering agencies as you will need to submit a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) along with the grant application.

 

SAFER Grant
Updated 2/14/2019
Administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), SAFER has put thousands of fire fighters back to work, prevented layoffs and hired many new fire fighters, giving a much-needed boost to public safety in countless struggling communities.
Program Description
SAFER Application Guidance

Other SAFER documents:

 

AFG Equipment and Training Grants
Administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the primary goal of the
Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is to meet the fire fighting and emergency response needs of fire
departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations. Since 2001, AFG has helped
fire fighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency
vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire
and related hazards.
Program Description
Grant Application Guidance

 

IAFF Peer Support Training Program
The stresses faced by fire service members throughout the course of their careers – multiple casualty events, violence, injury to children and the inherent dangers of fire fighting – can have a cumulative impact on mental health and well-being. Peer support programs have been demonstrated to be an effective method for providing support to occupational groups, including fire fighters. After completing the IAFF training, members will become IAFF Trained Peer Supporters and have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide support to their peers; educate brothers and sisters about behavioral health; serve as a bridge to behavioral health programs and community resources; and build or enhance their peer support programs.
Program Description
Grant Application Guidance

 

IAFF Training for Hazardous Materials Response: Technician
This specialized training utilizes a modular format where a fire department may analyze its current level of competency and choose course modules that will provide the skills needed by its hazardous materials team. Training includes offensive procedures for mitigation of hazardous materials spills, leaks, and exposures. Topics include chemistry, detection devices, advanced recognition and identification, pre-incident planning, incident management, scene evaluation and termination, terrorism, toxicology, medical surveillance, emergency care, PPE usage and limitations and decontamination. Course Duration: 80 hours (10 days).
Program Description 
Grant Application Guidance

 

IAFF Hazardous Materials Training: First Responder Operations (FRO)
This course fulfills most of the training requirements for the First Responder Operations level according to OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.120. The course includes 24 hours of instruction taught in three 8-hour days or divided into other blocks of time to accommodate schedules. This course is intended to provide emergency responders with the knowledge, skills and personal health strategies they need to safely and effectively respond to hazardous materials incidents that occur at fixed sites and during transport and/or rectify hazardous situations that develop within routine calls (e.g., exposure to household chemicals that may have been involved/spilled during a residential fire).
Program Description
Grant Application Guidance

 

IAFF Training for Emergency Response to Terrorism: Operations (ERT Ops)
This course provides first responders at the operations level with the information they need to make informed, controlled and safe responses to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Four major threats are discussed during the course: chemical agents, biological agents, radiologicals and explosives/incendiaries.
Program Description
Grant Application Guidance

 

IAFF Fire Ground Survival (FGS) Program 
The purpose of the Fire Ground Survival program is to ensure that training for Mayday prevention and Mayday operations are consistent between all fire fighters, company officers and chief officers. Fire fighters must be trained to perform potentially life-saving actions if they become lost, disoriented, injured, low on air or trapped. These training exercises must be consistent throughout the fire service. Funded by the IAFF and assisted by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant program, our comprehensive Fire Ground Survival training program applies the lessons learned from fire fighter fatality investigations conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and has been developed by a committee of subject matter experts from the IAFF, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and NIOSH.
Program Description
Grant Application Guidance

 

IAFF Wellness Fitness Initiative (WFI)
The IAFF’s Wellness and Fitness Initiative is intended to strengthen first responders so that their mental, physical and emotional capabilities are resilient to withstand the demands of emergency services response.
Program Description
Grant Application Guidance

 

IAFF/IAFC/ACE Peer Fitness Trainer (PFT) Certification Program
The IAFF/IAFC/ACE Task Force has determined that successful implementation of the Wellness and Fitness Initiative and the CPAT requires a fire fighter in each department who can take the lead. This individual must have the ability to design and implement fitness programs, to improve the wellness and fitness of his or her department and to assist with the physical training of recruits. This need for a department-level leader led to the development of the Peer Fitness Trainer certification program. The program was developed in conjunction with the American Council on Exercise.
Program Description
Grant Application Guidance

Grant FAQs

How Do I Get Started?

While IAFF affiliates cannot directly apply for most grants, you can make decision-makers aware of the grant process, generate the support you need, ask to be part of the writing process and offer IAFF assistance in developing the application. Many IAFF members are designated as the grant writer for their department and have full access to the application, while others assist the department in developing the application and narratives.

The IAFF is prepared to assist the designated point of contact to complete the application to maximize your chances for funding. In many cases, we work collaboratively with your grants committee to work towards the common goal. What is often overlooked is that this consensus building is a great opportunity to further the labor management relationship.

While the official online application is only open for a four-week period, we have prior paper versions of the grant that you can work so that you can obtain the needed information before the grant officially opens. It is critical that you first ensure your SAM and DUNS registrations are valid and the information is current. Successful grants often go through multiple drafts and reviews before submitting so starting early is always better. Please contact grants staff at [email protected] or (202) 824-1575 with any questions.

When is the Application Period?

The application period for federal grants is typically open for four weeks, with the guidance documents usually available for a week or two before the application opening. To find out exactly when documents and applications periods will occur, as well as receive other important grant information from FEMA, sign up here. The IAFF will also send email blasts to affiliate leadership to notify them of grant application openings.

What Can I Request in a Grant?

The FEMA Assistance to Fire Fighters Program has three main components. SAFER grants are used for personnel (salary and benefits). The AFG Training and Equipment Grant is used for any non-personnel requests, including training, equipment, health and safety, and vehicle projects, within certain limitations. The Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) is used for fire prevention and research funding.

Before deciding on what project(s) to pursue, each department should perform a vulnerability analysis and consider the grant priorities listed in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). If you have questions about which project(s) would be most successful, please see the guidance documents for each grant program, or contact IAFF grant staff.

What if FEMA has Turned Down/Rejected My Request for Funding?

Fire departments that have received turndown notices are encouraged to contact FEMA for feedback on your application. FEMA staff can provide additional details regarding your application and point out where the application was deficient. Call FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) Help Desk at (866) 274-0960 or email [email protected]. The IAFF is also prepared to assist your department once you have this information (see below).

Can I Get IAFF Assistance with Grant Applications?

​The IAFF provides grant application reviews both prior to, and after, grant submission. Having the review completed before grant submission is preferred; however, in some cases this is not possible due to conflicts with management or other issues. To request assistance, affiliate presidents or their appointed point of contact must provide a copy of the complete grant application, along with FEMA’s comments (if available). Local presidents must be copied on the email and provide approval before any assistance can be provided.
During the review process, IAFF staff who served as peer reviewers will grade your entire application (both automated entry/data and narrative sections), suggest areas for improvement and provide other feedback using the self-assessment guide. With this comprehensive review process, we have assisted many departments with markedly improving their application and submitting successful applications, which were then funded.

We ask that applications be submitted as soon as possible, and for departments to allow for at least a 72-hour turnaround for a full review. The further into the grant application window, the busier the department is, so please be sure to start early. We suggest that if your department is considering applying for a grant that you begin the process immediately by speaking with IAFF staff at (202) 824-1575 or emailing us at [email protected]. See below for details on how to access and print your application.

How Does the IAFF Peer-Reviewer Process Eork?

The IAFF participates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during its annual Criteria Development Panel (CDP), a panel of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) representing major fire service organizations, responsible for recommending fair and consistent application criteria and program priorities to FEMA for the following grant programs:

  • Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG)
  • Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER)
  • Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S)

Subsequently, the IAFF provides a number of peer reviewers who serve as evaluators and provide objective comments and qualitative judgment on the merits of each application’s component activity requested and score the project(s) based on pre-established criteria.

To request to be a peer reviewer on behalf of the IAFF, candidates must be a member of an IAFF affiliate and must be in good standing with their local president and district vice president. Priority selection is given to past and present union officers. Candidates should send a letter of interest, along with a letter of support from their respective IAFF local presidents, through their district vice president to General President Harold A. Schaitberger for review and consideration. Letters of interest must address the program-specific criteria described below.

Appointment is at the discretion of the General President and can be revoked at any time. After appointment, selection for panels cannot be guaranteed as FEMA requests various numbers of reviewers for various application reviews throughout the year.

Questions on the programs and process can be addressed to Elizabeth M. Harman, Assistant to the General President, Grants Administration and HazMat Training Division at [email protected] or (202) 824-1564.

How Do I Access and Print Prior Grant Submissions?

Submitted grant applications are available directly from the FEMA grants portal. You will need the user ID and password. To print the document, log in and locate the “Print Application” tab on the left-hand menu. Please submit the document as a PDF electronic file for easier tracking of incoming applications.

Please note that when you print out the SAFER application, it does not print out the NFPA 1710/1720 staffing chart. We will need this chart to perform a full review. To access the NFPA staffing chart:

  • Expand the “Request Details” tab/section of the application: Request Details > View Details (lower right corner of screen) > Update Button (the upper “update” button across from the hiring of fire fighters line).
  • Now print the page with that starts with the NFPA 1710/1720 chart at the top.
  • Send this along with the completed printed application.

What Is SAFER?

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER) was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer fire fighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, “front line” fire fighters 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 NFPA (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720).

The Guidance and Application Kit will be posted on the SAFER Assistance to Firefighters web site near the start of the application period. All SAFER applicants should read the Guidance to fully understand any changes to the program, award criteria, funding priorities and important special application instructions for completing the application.

What Is AFG?

The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations. Since 2001, AFG has helped fire fighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

The Guidance and Application Kit will be posted on the AFG Training and Equipment Assistance to Firefighters web site near the start of the application period. All AFG applicants should read the Guidance to fully understand any changes to the program, award criteria, funding priorities and important special application instructions for completing the application.

What is FP&S?

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 fire fighters from fire and related hazards. The primary goal is to reduce injury and prevent death among high-risk populations.

The Guidance and Application Kit will be posted on the FP&S Assistance to Firefighters web site near the start of the application period. All FP&S applicants should read the Guidance to fully understand any changes to the program, award criteria, funding priorities and important special application instructions for completing the application.

Should Our Department Hire a Grant Writer?

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of solicitations from private grant writers and grant writing companies looking to establish grant-writing services for fire departments. There are many considerations when hiring any outside vendor that will provide services for your department.

The first question should be whether your department needs to hire a grant writer. Researching and writing grants is time consuming and requires some level of research and writing skills. Experience with grants and grant writing can make the odds better for receiving an award, but that shouldn’t scare you off, as much of the research needed is already familiar to department members, and comes in the form of department annual reports, strategic plans, NFIRS/NFORS data, CAD data, etc.

FEMA also provides easy to use tutorials, handouts and self-rating sheets that enable someone who has never written a grant to gain an understanding of the process and successfully apply for and receive grant funding. Often, the necessary skills exist elsewhere in your jurisdiction and can be borrowed to help guide you through the first application. Perhaps there are individuals or departments with grant experience willing to lend a helping hand and guide your department through the process.

If your department lacks the personnel or other resources to develop a solid grant application, or wishes to invest resources identifying and applying for other less visible grant opportunities that are available, such as private foundation grants, you may wish to hire a grant writer.

There are many qualified grant writers with significant experience that can provide references and previous examples of successfully funded departments that have used the grant writer’s assistance. While the IAFF maintains a grants department to assist with grant review, we do not write the grant application. The main difference is that we will assist with developing your application; whereas, many of the private grant writers will write your application from scratch.

If you are starting from scratch, you can search these sources for listings of consultants, including grant writers:

  • The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) offers a Consultants Directory on its website that can be searched by specialty, name or geographic area.
  • The Grants Professionals Association has a national list of member consultant services.

What Are Some Good Resources for Grant Writing?

What About Grant-Funded Hazmat Training?

For more information on grant-funded HazMat training, see the HazMat grant guidance documents here.

Contact Us

Contact us at (202) 824-1575 or [email protected] with any questions. ​