Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER)

To increase the number of firefighters in local communities and to help them meet industry minimum standards and attain 24/7 staffing for adequate protection against fire and fire-related hazards, and fulfill related roles associated with fire departments.


Agency - Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security has three primary missions: Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism and minimize the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters.

Office - SAFER grants are directed from the FEMA Headquarters Office.

There are 10 regional offices in FEMA.

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Program Accomplishments

Since the authorization of SAFER grants at the start of FY 2005, the hiring of over 2,300 firefighters has been supported under the first three years of grant awards.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Not all fire departments will be eligible to apply.

Training, equipment, over-time, and administrative expenses are not eligible.

Individuals seeking personal assistance are not eligible.

This program is intended to assist fire departments and recognized organizations as identified in the program guidance document and application package; and only those fire departments and organizations as specified in the program guidance, are eligible.

Funds may be used to recruit, hire, and retain firefighters, but cannot supplant (replace) the applicants funds budgeted for that purpose.

Recipients of funds for hiring of new firefighters must commit to maintaining their pre-existing (pre-grant) staffing level, and retaining personnel hired with grant funds, for at least one (1) year beyond the end of the four (4)-year grant period.

Thus, recipients must maintain pre-existing staffing levels and retain grant funded personnel throughout the five year period of performance.

Grant funds are provided on a sliding scale, recipients must initially match 10% of the Federal share the first year.

Recipient match increases by certain percentages in the second, third, and fourth years, culminating in 100% of personnel costs (per position), in the fifth year and beyond.

Refer to the program guidance for further information.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

This program is restricted to the jurisdictions/organizations described in the program guidance.

For specific information, refer to the program guidance.

In summary, for the purpose of this program, "State" is defined as the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S.

Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Alaska Village Initiative, a nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of Alaska, shall also be considered eligible for purposes of receiving assistance under this program on behalf of Alaska Native villages.

A "fire department" is defined as an agency or organization that has a formally recognized arrangement with a State, territory, local, or tribal authority (city, county, parish, fire district, township, town, or other governing body) to provide fire suppression on a first-due basis to a population within a fixed geographical area.

Fire departments may be comprised of members who are all volunteer, combination volunteer/career, or all career.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Local or tribal communities serviced by the fire department including, local businesses, homeowners and property owners.


Applicant must certify that they are an eligible applicant, i.e., a fire department, as described in the program guidance. Refer to program guidance document for specific information.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Depending on the type of applicant, this program may or may not be excluded from E.O.

12372 ("Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs").

Applicants should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his/her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

Application deadline and other information are contained in the application/program guidance.

Award Procedures

Applications or plans are peer reviewed and subsequently also reviewed by DHS program and administrative staff. Any issues or concerns noted in the application will be negotiated with the successful applicant prior to the award being issued.


Refer to announcement or application guidance for further information.


15 U.S.C. 2229a, FY 2005 Homeland Security Appropriation Act.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Refer to program guidance document.


Applicants that receive an adverse decision or denial, can request reconsideration of the decision. Request for reconsideration must be submitted in writing, to the address contained on the program's website within 30 days of the notification of denial by the administering program office.



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Any hiring grant made under this program has a match requirement. Refer to program guidance document for hiring grant match percentages in the first through and including the fifth year; recipient's match percentages increase each year. The recruitment and retention grants do not have any local match requirements. Refer to program guidance document for specific information.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The hiring grants have a five-year performance period. The recruitment and retention grants are made in one-year increments up to a possible four-year period of performance. Refer to program guidance for further details. Awards are subject to the Cash Management Improvement Act for payment and/or reimbursement of expenditures.

Post Assistance Requirements


Grantees are required to submit quarterly financial and performance reports.

The quarters are designated to be the three-month increments from the award date.

Reports are due within 30 days after the end of each quarter.

Final financial and performance reports are due 90 days after the expiration or termination of grant award.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards (or receive property, or a combination of both, within the fiscal year) will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular A-133. These audits are due to the cognizant Federal agency, submitted through the Federal Audit Clearinghouse, not later than 9 months after the end of the grantees fiscal year.


Grant records shall be retained for a period of 3 years from the day the recipient submits its final expenditure report. If any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit, or other action involving the records has been started before the expiration of the 3-year period, the records must be retained until completion of the action and resolution of all issues which arise from it, or until the end of the regular 3-year period, whichever is later. Grant records include financial and program/progress reports, support documents, statistical records, and other documents that support the activity and/or expenditure of the recipient or sub-recipient under the award.

Financial Information

Account Identification



Grants) FY 07 $95,794,097; FY 08 est. $180,500,000; and FY 09 est. not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Refer to program guidance document.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

U.S.C. 2201 et seq.; Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

SAFER grants are directed from the FEMA Headquarters Office. There are 10 regional offices in FEMA.

Headquarters Office

Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, C/O 245 Murray Lane - Bldg. #410, Washington, DC 20523. E-mail: Telephone: (866) 274-0960.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Refer to the program guidance for information on criteria for selecting proposals.

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