Grant Opportunities Announced for Firefighting

From a Rep. Nick Rahall Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) Tuesday announced the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is accepting applications for grant opportunities to support local fire departments’ staffing and deployment capabilities to more effectively respond to emergencies.

“The life of a firefighter requires a steadfast commitment to service and demands many sacrifices, especially of time, to family and friends.  Local towns deserve a shot at fair competition with large cities for the talented pool of individuals, who will commit to such noble public service.  The type of funding can help level the playing field for our smaller towns,” said Rahall.  “I have long been an ardent supporter of federal funding to support public safety on the local level. While tightening our budgetary belt, we must stand united in support of critical investments in national priorities like our first responders.  Twice last year, the Congress proposed cutting funds for FIRE grants and eliminating SAFER grants for hiring and retaining firefighters.  With my support, those proposed cuts were reversed and the funds were restored.”


FEMA will award approximately $380 million in funding under its Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 SAFER Grant program. SAFER grants are awarded to local fire departments to support activities in two categories: Hiring of Firefighters and Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters.


            “Firefighters are at the heart of daily life for all Americans. They are on the front lines in times of emergency – on call 24/7 – willing to lay down their lives each day for our communities.  And, when we remind ourselves that many of our firefighters in southern West Virginia are volunteers, the meaning of these words becomes even more profound, barely describing the commitment made every day by our fellow West Virginians,” said Rahall.


Hiring of Firefighters grants help increase frontline firefighters, rehire laid off firefighters, retain firefighters facing imminent layoffs, or fill positions that were vacated through attrition to reduce response time and ensure an appropriate number of trained personnel will be assembled at the incident scene. One hundred percent of the actual salary and benefits for the SAFER-funded firefighters will be fully funded for the two-year period of performance.


Recruitment and Retention grants assist volunteer fire departments to increase the number of trained, certified, and competent firefighters capable of safely responding to emergencies.  One hundred percent funding is provided for periods of up to four years.


The application period for the FY 2011 SAFER Program will close on February 24, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. EST.  In the interim, the FY2011 SAFER Funding Opportunity Announcement, application materials, and Get Ready Guides are available for review at