2018 AFG Award News and 2019 Grant Updates

For weeks, departments across the country have been trying to determine the status of their 2018 Assistance to Firefighters Grants applications. They talked to vendors, to neighboring departments and to friends on the internet, and probably even sought the advice of psychics, all to no avail. Some people were giving out dates when they guaranteed that AFG awards would start or when turndown letters would be issued, but those dates all passed, and nothing happened.

Further, we now have exclusive information from FEMA concerning the award and application schedule for 2019.

What we know: 2018 AFG award news

FEMA received 8,406 applications for the 2018 AFG program. This is the smallest number of applications in the history of AFG program.

Of those applications, 2,085 were for new vehicles. The average age of vehicles requested for replacement were 22 years for urban departments, 26 years for suburban departments, and 30 years for rural departments. All these numbers are down slightly from 2017 vehicle applications.

FEMA anticipates that all panel reviews for AFG applications will be completed by the end of April. Post-panel reviews by technical experts will take place during the month of May, and 2018 AFG awards will start in June. Check your application because some applicants have already started to receive 1199A Direct Deposit forms.

Like last year, those applications that did not make it through electronic review will receive turndown letters early in the award process. This is anticipated to occur in June.

Additionally, 2018 SAFER grant applications are currently being reviewed. FEMA anticipates that SAFER grant awards will also begin in June.

FEMA indicated that the 2019 AFG application period will open this fall, with SAFER and Fire Prevention & Safety (FP&S) grant application start dates this coming winter.

What’s new for AFG 2019

For 2019, FEMA will launch a new system. The system, Grant Outcomes (GO), will operate across all three applications. The new system should be more user-friendly, feature plain language, and streamline the application process.

However, with the advent of the GO system, applicants will now be required to register in order to access and complete their FEMA applications. The good news: You can already start that registration process on the GO system site.

The information that you enter into GO registration must match your SAM and DUNS information. This includes your point of contact for your grant. It’s best to complete this registration process as soon as possible.

The new system will not drastically change the 2019 AFG application format. The 2019 AFG application will still feature the same narratives as it has in the past. The sections of the application will remain the same, with some minor changes to make the questions easier to understand.

FEMA has also opened a twitter account, @FEMAGrantsTwitter.

Start early on AFG process

Because there will be no major changes to the 2019 AFG application, I encourage you to start today. Take these steps:

  • Register for the new GO system now.
  • Make sure your SAM and DUNS registrations are current.
  • Meet with your department officers and complete an assessment of your coverage area and your department.
  • Determine your needs and read the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to determine if your needs meet AFG priorities.
  • Do market research to obtain estimates.
  • Write the narrative sections of your application, and get the information ready for the Characteristics sections
  • Have someone review your narratives.

Starting today and following this simple plan will allow you to develop and assemble a competitive application following a comfortable timeframe.

Science in the Fire Service: Research Update on Contamination Control

The fire service continues to drive the movement for science-based research to better understand how the fire environment, firefighting PPE, and fire department practices can impact firefighters’ risks. During this recently held webcast, Gavin Horn, PhD, shares some of the latest firefighter research on contamination control along with lessons learned from ongoing efforts to implement some of these practices. Commonly asked questions and a few tips on how to implement best practices are discussed in the context of the scientific background and fireground execution.

Access archived webcast

Sponsored by Globe.

Gavin Horn has served as the director for the IFSI Research program at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), a department within the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2004. In that same year, he received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. IFSI Research studies focus on firefighter health and safety, first responder technology development and material testing. Gavin also serves as a volunteer firefighter/engineer with the Savoy (IL) Fire Department.

5 Easy Steps to Select Your Turnout Gear

Researching and specifying new turnout gear for your department may seem like an arduous task given all the choices of materials and styles available today. That’s why we offer an easy 5-step process to help you learn the basics and get started.

Step #1: Understanding Standards

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a standards writing organization, founded in 1896 and dedicated to the concept of voluntary consensus standards writing. While it is not an enforcing agency, NFPA enjoys a unique reputation and its standards have been adopted by all levels of government, in many cases giving the standards the force of law.

NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting,
sets the minimum requirements for design, performance, testing, and certification of the elements of the ensemble for body protection in structural fire fighting and in proximity fire fighting – coats, trousers, one-piece suits, hoods, helmets, gloves, footwear, and interface elements such as wristers.

Step #2: Creating a Risk Assessment

A Risk Assessment identifies the hazards department personnel may encounter in the course of their duties and describes appropriate levels of personal protection to operate safely and effectively in conditions that may expose personnel to those hazards. When completed, this Risk Assessment can be a valuable tool in selecting appropriate PPE, creating your specifications, and even providing the justification for two sets of turnout gear or a personnel training plan.

Step #3: Selecting a Style, Features, and Options

Firefighters are industrial athletes and are often called on to perform their jobs in the most challenging conditions. To perform your best, you need gear that delivers enhanced mobility, improved fit, and long-lasting durability. And don’t forget that it is personal equipment, so style and comfort, although more subjective, are also important.

There is no one suit that is best for everyone. Which one is best for you depends on the hazards identified in your Risk Assessment, your evaluation of design and materials, and your budget. And with our thousands of options to choose from, you can be sure to get exactly what you need.

Step #4: Learning About Materials

NFPA-certified turnout gear consists of three layers of materials – together called a composite – which is made up of an outer shell, a moisture barrier, and a thermal liner. Technology, design, and protection have changed dramatically since the early days, but the original concept of making turnout gear from these three layers still provides the foundation of current turnout gear.

Step #5: Evaluating, Specifying, and Purchasing

A well-documented field test and evaluation that results in a recommendation based on quantifiable results can be a powerful tool in providing justification for the purchase of the turnout gear and boots that will be the best solutions for your department.

Get Started Today

Visit our website for more information and to download helpful tools.

Free Online Course | Firefighter Cancer Prevention Tools and Resources

There are ways to mitigate the risks of exposure firefighters face in the field. Although it is an outcome we want to avoid at all costs, there may come a time when a firefighter will be diagnosed with cancer as a result of occupational hazards.

In this course, we will explore some tools and strategies both firefighters and fire officers can use to help reduce exposure to toxic substances and provide important resources that are available to firefighters experiencing a cancer diagnosis. One such resource is the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.

This FireRescue1 Academy course is sponsored by Globe. Log in today and get started.

[Video] Unboxing with Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment: Globe SUPRAFLEX Boots

We recently sent a pair of our SUPRAFLEX™ boots to Chris McCloone, senior editor at Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment, for his review. The boots included Vibram’s Arctic Grip Pro soles that are specifically engineered to perform on wet ice.

Watch his video to learn:

  • The science behind Globe’s athletic construction boots
  • The features that make these boots lighter and more flexible
  • How the Arctic Grip Pro soles are made

Visit our website for more information about Globe SUPRAFLEX™ boots.

Free Online Course | Decontamination Techniques

Wearing PPE properly is only one of many steps in helping to prevent illness and injury. In order to help reduce exposure to agents that can cause cancer and other serious diseases, firefighters must know decontamination techniques to assist in mitigating toxic substance contamination on their gear and bodies.

In this course, we will identify recommended steps for safely removing PPE, performing on-scene gross decontamination, and the more involved process of PPE cleaning and decontamination at the station.

This FireRescue1 Academy course is sponsored by Globe. Log in today and get started.

Free Online Course | Causes of Cancer in Firefighters

There are many cancer-causing agents firefighters will face on the fire ground, but there are also some hazards to be found at the fire station.

In this course, we will examine the most common hazards found on the fire ground and at home, all of which can be the catalyst for the many cancers for which firefighters are at risk of developing.
This FireRescue1 Academy course is sponsored by Globe. Log in today and get started.

New download | SMARTER: Advancing Health-Related Technology

In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighting Grant (AFG) funded a program titled “Science, Medicine, And Research & Technology for the Emergency Responders (SMARTER)” to explore the potential use of technology to address some of the most pressing health concerns in the fire service.

The SMARTER team was led by researchers at Skidmore College’s First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory, and included leading scientists, fire service professionals, and gear manufacturers. The collaborative teams were designed to include expertise from science, technology and industry, and to be guided by a deep understanding of the fire service culture and the needs of firefighters. Some technologies explored were already on the market but needed to be adapted for potential use in the fire service, while other technologies still needed to be developed.

Specific goals of the project were to study the feasibility of specific technologies and to develop/advance technology in targeted areas. Specifically, SMARTER focused on:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring for detection of arrhythmias and ischemic changes
  • Improving and extending a heat stress algorithm to accurately assess core body temperature
  • Developing a low-cost, portable sensor to monitor particulate matter
  • Exploring the use of physiological status monitoring in a fire department

To learn more from the SMARTER project researchers about work done on each of the targeted areas, download our Firehouse Supplement.

SMARTER Project partners include Skidmore College; National Fallen Firefighters Foundation; Fire Protection Research Foundation; Globe by MSA; Hanover Park, IL, Fire Department; Houston Fire Department; International Association of Fire Fighters; New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control; UCLA−The Ozcan Research Group; University of Illinois Fire Service Institute; U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine; and Zephyr Performance Systems.

Free Online Course | Overview and Causes of Cancer in the Fire Service

Many firefighters face hazards that are easily visible such as structural collapse, hazardous materials, and high heat environments, but it is the unseen hazards that are most dangerous to firefighters today.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) concluded after recent studies that firefighters are experiencing a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths.

In this course, we will explore the changing landscape of firefighting, the toxic substances firefighters are exposed to in the line of duty, and the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE).

This FireRescue1 Academy course is sponsored by Globe. Log in today and get started.

NC and PA Volunteer Fire Departments Receive New Turnouts from 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

Globe, DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have been working together since 2012 to provide new, state-of-the-art turnout gear to volunteer fire departments in need through the Globe Gear Giveaway program. In 2018, 52 sets of gear will be awarded to 13 departments to help better protect their responders. Providence (NC) Fire & Rescue and the Strong Volunteer Fire Company (Mount Carmel Township, PA) are the latest gear recipients.

Providence (NC) Fire & Rescue

Providence Fire & Rescue is located in the northern Piedmont region of NC, approximately 50 miles northwest of Chapel Hill on the NC/VA state line. The department’s 29 volunteers run an average of 330 calls each year and provide mutual aid to surrounding departments and across state lines. However, almost half of the department’s responders use personal protective equipment (PPE) that is more than 10 years old, which is considered non-compliant according to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) standards.

Budget restrictions have left the department unable to purchase new gear and have also eliminated the department’s allowance for travel, decreasing their members’ opportunity to receive training unless classes are hosted locally. With a per capita income of only $16,470 and 14.4 percent of their small 3,400 population living under the poverty line, local fundraisers have not yielded enough funds to offset budget cuts.

“In addition to training, this gear will enable our members and the members of our auto-aid departments the reassurance that they are using NFPA compliant PPE on any fire or fire-related hazard,” said Chief Kenneth R. Everett. “This will enable us to continue providing the members of our department safe, compliant PPE for years to come.”

Strong Volunteer Fire Company (Mount Carmel Township, PA)

The Strong Volunteer Fire Company (VFC) is located near three heavily traveled highways and five state routes. The company has 25 volunteers who protect 3,300 residents over 22 square miles. They are first on-scene for all motor-vehicle accidents, structure fires, vehicle fires, wildland fires, and rescues and respond to two large industrial parks, an explosive plant, three mining operations, multiple schools and nursing homes, and dozens of smaller businesses. The company is also very active in the community and hosts multiple fire prevention activities and fundraisers throughout the year to strengthen community support.

Over half of the department’s responders do not have gear that meet recommended safety standards. Severe budget constraints have forced the department to buy used gear for its volunteers, and many members have purchased their own hoods and gloves. Additionally, the Strong VFC is expecting additional members soon because one neighboring company is closing and a second may have to close as well due to financial and membership issues.

“These four sets of gear will greatly improve our firefighting capabilities and provide a higher level of firefighter safety for our dedicated volunteers,” said Captain Kevin Mains. “We are trying to plan for additional new members and proper gear is a priority.”

Additional Globe Gear Giveaway awards will be made monthly throughout 2018.