The Keys to a Winning FEMA Application

By Rodney Slaughter, Dragonfly Communications Network

The FEMA Grant Workshop held January 15, 2002, in Riverside, California, gave interesting insights for successful FEMA grant applications. You have heard, no doubt, that funding for this year’s FEMA grant is $360 million! According to Brian Cowan, chief of USFA National Fire Programs, “FEMA expects to make approximately 4,000 grants this year.” Grants will be made in four major program areas including Fire Operations/Firefighter Safety, Fire Prevention, Emergency Medical Services, and Vehicles.

This year you will only be able to request funding from one of the four program areas with one application. Each of the four program areas listed above will allow you to apply for everything relevant to your needs for that program. For example, you could apply for a fire prevention program that would include presentation equipment (laptop computer, data projector, speakers, and digital camera) along with paying for an instructor to teach you how to use the equipment. Your request could also include handout materials as well

If you include information that would allow neighboring jurisdictions access to these materials or if you show a that private funding source is going to cover your matching costs, then you’ve just improved your chances for funding by demonstrating a positive cost/benefit of FEMA money!

The rules for this year’s program will be published in the Federal Register this month. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait around before you begin to build your application. The FEMA Grant Workshops list what they consider award-winning applications:
1. Be sure you read the application directions and fill out the application completely!
2. Be sure that your request is compatible to grant program!
3. Include a community risk assessment!
4. What is your department’s capabilities?
5. Do you have the tools and training to do your job well?
6. Describe the cost/benefit for funding your program.

These suggestions are just the tip of the FEMA funding iceberg. But the USFA considers each of these items important to the success of last year’s grant awards. This year’s round of FEMA funding is going to be fiercely competitive. So don’t wait to get started on building the most persuasive case for your grant request.


California Office of Traffic Safety
Emergency Medical Services
Closing Date: January 31, 2002

California Integrated Waste Management Board
Local Government Waste Tire Clean-up Grants
Closing Date: February 28th, 2002

National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Technology Opportunity Program Grant
Closing Date: March 21, 2002

United States Fire Administration
Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program
Closing Date: April 1, 2002

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Public Health Conference Support
Closing Date: June 17th

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