USFA Recommends Printing/Reviewing Applications

Washington, D.C. – FEMA/USFA recommends that applicants for the FY2002 Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program print and review their completed applications prior to submittal. There are several reasons for this action:

  • To assure that the application is accurate;
  • To serve as a reference in the event that clarification or additional information is required by Program Staff and/or the applicant;
  • To provide the applicant with a historical record of their grant
    request; and
  • To serve as a reference in the event that there is a change in administration of leadership in the applicant’s organization.
Applicants should keep this printed copy of their application until
notified by FEMA of the final disposition of their grant request.

Earlier, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s United States Fire Administration (USFA) announced that the hours of its toll-free Helpline have been extended to include Sundays. In addition to the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, fire department representatives can also contact the Helpline on Sundays from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m. (EST). The toll-free number is (866) 274-0960.

This expansion is in response to the overwhelming interest USFA has received in the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Some fire departments experienced difficulties accessing the on-line application during the first few days. USFA estimates that 90-95 percent of applicants have been able to register without any problems, but the agency is concerned about the 5-10 percent who have had trouble. USFA has resolved some minor technical issues, and is working with individual applicants to find solutions to each registration problem.

“The Helpline is so important as it can ensure that everyone has access to the assistance they need to complete the application well in advance of the application closing date,” Dave Paulison, United States Fire Administrator, said. “The Helpline has been enormously useful to fire departments. We are encouraged by the positive feedback we have received from callers, and we appreciate the patience that everyone has shown since the program opened last Friday.

“Departments do not need to rush their application to get it in first, second or even third,” Paulison said. “It is critical that they have a correct and completed application submitted by April 1, as it only takes a few hours to fill out the online forms.”

In the first week of applications being available, more than 9,700 fire departments have registered and begun filling out the application form online. As of March 7, more than 100 completed applications have been received and the Helpline has assisted more than 2,500 callers. The Helpline is staffed by both computer specialists and program staff to answer any questions applicants may have.

USFA encourages fire departments to review the program guidance and decide which program they will request before they attempt to complete the application. After fire departments have decided what to apply for, collected the necessary information, and written the five-page narrative, USFA estimates that the process of completing the application online will take, on average, only an hour or two.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program has been provided with $360 million this year for the grants to local fire departments. The process is a competitive one. The purpose of the program is to award one-year grants directly to fire departments of a state to enhance their abilities with respect to fire and fire-related hazards. This program seeks to assist departments that lack the basic tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel.

The application period began March 1, 2002, and will remain open until 5 p.m. (EST) on April 1, 2002. Additional information and assistance can found by calling (866) 274-0960, logging on to www.usfa.fema.gov/grants, or by emailing USFAGRANTS@FEMA.gov.

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