Helpful Information for Assistance to Firefighters Grant Applications for COVID-19 PPE

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The purpose of Assistance to Firefighters Grant-Supplemental (AFG-S) is to award grants directly to fire departments, non-affiliated EMS organizations, and State Fire Training Academies. This grant program is to be used to enhance your ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel, through the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and related essential supplies needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The next cycle of this program opens on October 6th to volunteer fire departments and combination departments only and the application period will remain open until November 13th.

As a result of the CARES Act, there was $100M available through the AFG-S, but for this second application period a total of $31M is available. As defined in 15 U.S.C. § 2229, combination department means a fire department that has paid firefighting personnel and volunteer firefighting personnel. Departments who pay fees/stipends (paid on-call) are also considered under this category.

Important Information Regarding AFG-S Round 2 Funding Opportunities

To learn more about the caps on available funding per department and other useful materials for applying to this program, please check out this information available by FEMA.

It is important to note that applicants requesting reimbursement or requesting immediate use of PPE will receive a higher consideration than applicants requesting funds to prepare for future COVID-19 response capabilities. Applicant requests should align with information about current supply, response usage, and anticipated peak dates.

All activities for this round of funding will be limited to the purchase of PPE and related supplies required to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. This includes reimbursement for expenditures made since January 1, 2020. If an applicant was unsuccessful in the first round, that application does not carry over to the new, second-round and you must reapply.

However, if you did successfully apply in the first round and were granted funds, you may still apply for funding in this round if you qualify as long as you have not already received the award cap. If you were approved in the first cycle and used everything granted, you can apply again – please state you are applying for more or need funding for something else that qualifies that you did not apply for last time.

Eligible PPE and Other Supplies

The following types of personal protective equipment are eligible to be bought with this AFG cycle 2 funding:

  • Eye protection – Appropriately fitted, indirectly vented goggles or single use disposable face shields that fully cover the front and sides of the face.
  • Isolation gowns – Nonsterile, single use fluid-resistant and impermeable disposable patient isolation gowns.
  • Protective coveralls – 360-degree protection of whole body, including the back, lower legs and feet. Jumpsuits are also covered.
  • Gloves – Single use, disposable patient examination gloves.
  • Footwear covers – Single use, disposable medical footwear covers.
  • Respirators – Any NIOSH-approved particulate respirator (e.g., N95 or higher-level respirator, including reusable respirators and powered air purifying respirators (PAPRS), but not SCBA purchases), including the purchase of filters appropriate for use.
  • Surgical type face masks – Loose-fitting, single use disposable physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer to allow fire and EMS personnel to meet CDC recommendations and/or state mandates for face covering when in a public setting other than direct patient contact.

The following other supplies are also eligible but will be considered a lower priority than the items listed above. Examples include:

  • Decontamination supplies and services for PPE, station-quarters, and vehicles, including decon sprayers.
  • Replacement High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters and other types of disposable filtration supplies used on EMS respiratory and/or ventilator equipment.
  • Personally issued antiseptic hand washes, antiseptic hand rubs such as alcohol-based hand sanitizers, foams or gels, and reasonable refill supply.

Ineligible PPE for this Round of Funding

These items that do not fall under the category of PPE or related supplies may be considered ineligible for funding. These items could include:

  • Decontamination systems
  • Thermometers
  • Medications/COVID test kits
  • Barriers or materials to build barriers
  • Fit tester
  • Structural firefighting PPE
  • AED/monitors

Regardless of your state’s COVID numbers, if you need light PPE and are eligible, then you should apply. You must also make sure that you have an active System for Award Management (SAM) account number in good standing before you submit your application.

We’re Here to Help with PPE Selection

For more information about this AFG-S program, please see this document and this webpage hosted by FEMA. For help selecting appropriate PPE, please do not hesitate to reach out to our safety specialists today.