We all know that our fire departments and EMS teams do essential work in our communities, but it turns out that most of them don’t know that there are grants specifically for them to help them ensure the safety of their personnel as well as serve our communities more effectively.  In a recent conversation with Michael Paddock, CEO of The Grants Office, we learned that each year there is a pool of over $300 million dollars in funding for fire departments and EMS.  While this funding is made available a significant portion of these grants go unallocated as first responders are either unaware of the opportunities, or underestimate the amount of funding for which they could apply.

One of the largest grants available to fire departments and EMS teams is FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant, which is open now through November 18th, 2016.  Funding opportunities are available in three main areas: operations and safety, vehicle acquisitions, and collaborative regional projects.  These awards, which can result in up to $2 million in funding for cross-region collaborative grants can cover a wide variety of needs.  While the vehicle acquisition grants are strictly limited as their name suggests, the operations and safety grants, along with the regional grants are more open-ended and can cover areas from course-based instruction to the purchase of body worn cameras and IT infrastructure from mobile devices to data storage.

While the use of body worn cameras has become synonymous with police departments, fire departments should be making use of this important technology in the line of duty.  While not so much associated with creating a record of interactions for prosecutorial review, firefighters can benefit from documenting in-field response for training and safety improvements.  To this end, this year’s grants will likely be highly responsive to proposals for funding for body worn camera purchases and training grants utilizing body worn camera technology.

With fire departments and EMS teams being less familiar with both the technology and the grant funding process, NetApp and The Grants Office have collated numerous resources to assist teams with their applications.   From webinars that outline both the value of body worn camera technology and explain the IT infrastructure needed to support a body worn camera initiative to advice on how to structure successful grant applications, there’s a wealth of proven insight.

Interested in registering for the upcoming webinar to learn how to maximize the value of body worn cameras?  You can do that here.