NVFC gives stance and recommendations on the complexity of federal grant applications

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An overview of the National Volunteer Fire Council’s concerns on federal grant applications

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), representing volunteer fire, emergency medical services and rescue services across the nation, has voiced concerns about the mounting complexity and length of federal grant applications, including those for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs.

This was announced in a recent position statement issued by the NVFC Board of Directors, aiming to highlight the challenges encountered in achieving federal grant application compliance.

Pinpointing the obstacles in federal grant applications

In particular, the statement identifies three challenges that are especially taxing for volunteer fire departments.

These include the intricacies of applying for AFG and SAFER grants, the SAM.gov system, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Civil Rights Evaluation Tool (CRET).

Recommendations and requests from NVFC to alleviate the complexities of federal grant applications

The NVFC’s position statement outlines several recommendations and requests, aimed at easing these challenges. These include:

  1. “Recommends that the General Services Administration (GSA) reorganize SAM.gov to make it more user friendly and urges GSA to come up with a more streamlined process of resolving conflicts that may arise within the system.”
  2. “Recommends that DHS provide more assistance, including more accessible sample language and templates to facilitate compliance with certain grant criteria like CRET.”
  3. “Requests that the federal government recognize the unique circumstances volunteer fire departments face and provide timely assistance and resolutions to issues encountered while a department works to comply with grant criteria.”
  4. “Requests that DHS work with the NVFC and other stakeholders on potential ways to simplify and shorten the AFG and SAFER applications.”

Tracking the implementation of NVFC’s requests

NVFC has committed to follow-up with the relevant federal agencies on the implementation of these suggestions, underscoring the need to prevent volunteer fire departments from being discouraged by the complex grant application process.

About the National Volunteer Fire Council

The NVFC is the national organisation representing the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services across the United States. Comprising 65% of the nation’s fire and emergency medical services, volunteer fire departments play an invaluable role in protecting communities, especially in smaller areas where resources are stretched.

IFSJ Comment

This is an important development for all parties involved in federal grant applications, particularly for volunteer fire departments who are already operating under strained resources.

Simplifying the application process could significantly increase their access to much-needed funds, thus improving community safety nationwide.

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