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Beginning March 6, 2006, at 8:00 a.m. eastern standard time, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin accepting applications for Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG). The deadline for receipt of the AFG "fire grant" applications is 5:00 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 7, 2006.

AFG applications are automated and accessible via the E-Grant Application link on this site. This web site contains important information on the AFG, including the FY2006 funding priorities and program guidance, a web based tutorial on the application process, a listing of frequently asked questions, and other materials. Fire departments that have questions regarding this grant opportunity should contact the Help Desk at 1-866-274-0960. During the application period, Help Desk hours will be from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additional help desk hours may be added if demand is high.

The AFG is administered by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Grants and Training (G&T) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration. The AFG program assists rural, urban and suburban fire departments throughout the United States. In addition the AFG accepts applications from nonaffiliated EMS organizations for the activities (equipment, training, vehicles, etc.) for which fire departments are also eligible to apply.

The AFG program office offers three grant opportunities in each year. AFG "fire grant" funds are used by the nation's firefighters and first responders to increase the effectiveness of firefighting and emergency response operations. The application period for SAFER grants is scheduled for June of 2006. SAFER grants provide funding for the hiring of firefighting personnel and incentives for volunteer recruitment and retention. The third grant opportunity will be in September 2006 when the AFG program office opens an application period for Fire Prevention and Safety grants. These grants support not only fire departments, but also other organizations experienced in fire prevention and in firefighter safety research. Through the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2006, Congress provided $648 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grants, with $108 million of the funding specified for SAFER grants and a minimum of $27 million for the Fire Prevention and Safety grants.

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