Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, 13289-13296 [07-1380]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 21, 2007 / Notices Dated: March 14, 2007. Randall W. Lutter, Associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning. [FR Doc. E7–5152 Filed 3–20–07; 8:45 am] (4) Are the current NARMS international activities adequate to address the worldwide spread of antimicrobial-resistant foodborne bacteria? BILLING CODE 4160–01–S The subcommittee will discuss the NARMS Program and hear comments on the NARMS Program, including oral presentations from the public on scope, strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System Program Subcommittee of the Science Advisory Board to the Food and Drug Administration; Notice of Public Meeting AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS. ACTION: Notice of public meeting. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the following public meeting: Science Board to the FDA National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Program Subcommittee meeting. The topic to be discussed is the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Program. The subcommittee will provide advice to the Science Advisory Board to FDA regarding the NARMS program. Date and Time: The public meeting will be held on April 10, 2007, beginning at 9 a.m. Location: The DoubleTree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. Contact: Carlos Pena, Office of Science and Health Coordination, Office of the Commissioner (HF–33), Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane (for express delivery, rm. 14B–08), Rockville, MD 20857, 301–827–3340, email: Carlos.Pena@fda.hhs.gov. Agenda: The subcommittee will evaluate the NARMS program and address four questions relevant to the continued success of the program including: (1) Are there inherent biases in the sampling strategies employed in NARMS? If so, how can they be improved to ensure that the data and interpretation are scientifically sound given current resources? (2) Are there epidemiological and/or microbiological research studies that would better serve the goals of NARMS and the regulatory work of FDA? (3) Are current plans for data harmonization and reporting appropriate? If not, what are the top priorities for advancing harmonized reporting? and VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:08 Mar 20, 2007 Jkt 211001 Registration and Requests for Oral Presentations: Send registration information (including name, title, firm name, address, telephone and fax number, and e-mail address), and written material and requests to make oral presentations, to the contact person on or before March 28, 2007. Interested persons may present data, information, or views, orally or in writing, on the issues pending before this subcommittee. Written submissions may be made to the contact person on or before March 28, 2007. Oral presentations from the public will be scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on April 10, 2007. Those desiring to make formal oral presentations should notify the contact person and submit a brief statement of the general nature of the evidence or arguments they wish to present, the names and addresses of proposed participants, and an indication of the approximate time requested to make their presentation on or before March 20, 2007. Time allotted for each presentation may be limited. If the number of registrants requesting to speak is greater than can be reasonably accommodated during the scheduled open public hearing session, FDA may conduct a lottery to determine the speakers for the scheduled open pubic hearing session. The contact person will notify interested person regarding their request to speak by March 20, 2007. If you need special accommodations due to a disability, please notify the hotel (301–468–1100) at least 7 days in advance of the meeting. Transcripts: Transcripts of the public meeting may be requested in writing from the Freedom of Information Office (HFI–35), Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, rm. 6–30, Rockville, MD 20857, approximately 15 working days after the meeting at a cost of 10 cents per page. Dated: March 14, 2007. Randall W. Lutter, Associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning. [FR Doc. E7–5153 Filed 3–20–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4160–01–S PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 13289 DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Office of Grants and Training Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program AGENCY: Office of Grants and Training, DHS. ACTION: Notice of guidance. SUMMARY: This Notice is to provide guidelines that describe the application process for grants and the criteria for awarding grants in the 2007 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program year, as well as an explanation for any differences with the guidelines recommended to the Department by representatives of the Nation’s fire service leadership during the annual Criteria Development meeting held November 1–2, 2006. The program makes grants directly to fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical services organizations for the purpose of enhancing first-responders’ abilities to protect the health and safety of the public as well as that of first-responder personnel facing fire and fire-related hazards. In addition, the authorizing statute requires that a minimum of five percent of appropriated funds be expended for fire prevention and safety grants, which are also made directly to local fire departments and to local, regional, state or national entities recognized for their expertise in the field of fire prevention and firefighter safety research and development. As in prior years, this year’s grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants that best reflect the program’s criteria and funding priorities, and best address statutory award requirements. As referenced above, this Notice describes the criteria and funding priorities recommended by a panel of representatives of the Nation’s fire service leadership (criteria development panel) and accepted by the Department of Homeland Security, unless otherwise noted herein. This Notice contains details regarding the guidance and competitive process descriptions that the Department has provided to applicants and also provides information on how and why the Department deviated from recommendations of the criteria development panel. Authority: 15 U.S.C. 2229, 2229a. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Cowan, Director, Assistance to Firefighters Program Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 245 E:\FR\FM\21MRN1.SGM 21MRN1 13290 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 21, 2007 / Notices Murray Lane, Building 410, SW., Washington, DC 20528–7000. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program is to provide grants directly to fire departments and nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel, with respect to fire and fire-related hazards. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Appropriations For fiscal year 2007, Congress appropriated $547,000,000 to carry out the activities of the AFG Program. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is authorized to use up to $27,350,000 for administration of the AFG program (five percent of the appropriated amount). In addition, DHS has set aside no less than $27,350,000 of the funds (five percent of the appropriation) for the Fire Prevention and Safety Grants in order to make grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, national, state, local or community organizations or agencies, including fire departments, for the purpose of carrying out fire prevention grants and firefighter safety research and development grants. The remaining $492,300,000 will be used for competitive grants to fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations for equipment, training and first responders’ safety. Within the portion of funding available for these competitive grants, DHS must assure that no less than three and one-half percent of the appropriation, or $19,145,000, is awarded for EMS equipment and training. However, awards to nonaffiliated EMS organizations are limited to no more than two percent of the appropriation or $10,940,000. Therefore, at least the balance of the requisite awards for EMS equipment and training must go to fire departments. Background DHS awards the grants on a competitive basis to the applicants that best address the AFG program’s priorities and provide the most compelling justification. Applicants whose requests best address the program’s priorities will be reviewed by a panel composed of fire service personnel. The panel will review the narrative and evaluate the application in four different areas: (1) The clarity of the proposed project description, (2) the organization’s financial need, (3) the benefit to be derived from the proposed project relative to the cost, and (4) the extent to which the grant would VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:08 Mar 20, 2007 Jkt 211001 enhance the applicant’s daily operations and/or how the grant would positively impact the applicant’s ability to protect life and property. The AFG program for 2007 generally mirrors previous years’ programs with a few significant changes. The first significant change is the removal of the restriction regarding the number of vehicles that an applicant may request in a single application. In prior years, all applicants were limited to one vehicle per request and previous vehicle awardees were not eligible for additional vehicle awards. For the 2007 program year, organizations that protect urban or suburban communities will be allowed to apply for multiple vehicles. However, DHS will limit eligible applicants’ awards to one vehicle per station. In addition, the total amount of funds that can be awarded to any one applicant will continue to be limited by the statutory limitations detailed below. The second significant change is to allow applicants to submit as many as three separate applications: a vehicle application, an application for operations and safety; and an application for a ‘‘regional project.’’ A ‘‘regional project,’’ generally, is a project undertaken by an applicant to provide services and support to a number of other regional participants, such as training for multiple mutual-aid jurisdictions. During the 2006 program year, organizations that applied as a host of a regional project were not able to include activities unrelated to the regional project, e.g., activities to address specific needs of the host applicant versus the region. For the 2007 program year, we will allow host applicants to satisfy their own needs via separate application(s). As in previous years, regional applications will be required to reflect the general characteristics of the entire represented region. The population covered by the regional project will affect the amount of required local contribution to the project, i.e. the costshare required for the project. The 2007 program will again segregate the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant (FP&S) program from the AFG. DHS will have a separate application period devoted solely to FP&S in the Fall of 2007. The AFG Web site (http:// www.firegrantsupport.com) will provide updated information on this program. Congress has enacted statutory limits to the amount of funding that a grantee may receive from the AFG program in any fiscal year (15 U.S.C. 2229(b)(10)). These limits are based on population served. A grantee that serves a jurisdiction with 500,000 people or less may not receive grant funding in excess PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 of $1,000,000 in any fiscal year. A grantee that serves a jurisdiction with more than 500,000 but not more than 1,000,000 people may not receive grants in excess of $1,750,000 in any fiscal year. A grantee that serves a jurisdiction with more than 1,000,000 people may not receive grants in excess of $2,750,000 in any fiscal year. DHS may waive these established limits to any grantee serving a jurisdiction of 1,000,000 people or less if DHS determines that extraordinary need for assistance warrants the waiver. No grantee, under any circumstance, may receive ‘‘more than the lesser of $2,750,000 or one half of one percent of the funds appropriated under this section for a single fiscal year.’’ In fiscal year 2007, no grantee may receive more than $2,735,000 (one half of one percent of the $547,000,000 appropriated for 2007). Grantees must share in the costs of the projects funded under this grant program (15 U.S.C. 2229(b)(6). Fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations that serve populations of less than 20,000 must match the Federal grant funds with an amount of nonFederal funds equal to five percent of the total project cost. Fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations serving areas with a population between 20,000 and 50,000, inclusive, must match the Federal grant funds with an amount of non-Federal funds equal to ten percent of the total project cost. Fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations that serve populations of over 50,000 must match the Federal grant funds with an amount of nonFederal funds equal to twenty percent of the total project costs. All non-Federal funds must be in cash, i.e., in-kind contributions are not eligible. The only waiver granted for this requirement will be for applicants located in Insular Areas as provided for in 48 U.S.C. 1469a. The law imposes additional requirements on ensuring a distribution of grant funds among career, volunteer, and combination (volunteer and career personnel) fire departments, and among urban, suburban and rural communities. More specifically with respect to department types, DHS must ensure that all-volunteer or combination fire departments receive a portion of the total grant funding that is not less than the proportion of the United States population that those departments protect (15 U.S.C. 2229(b)(11)). There is no corresponding minimum for career departments. Therefore, subject to the other statutory limitations on DHS ability to award funds, DHS will ensure that, for the 2007 program year, no less E:\FR\FM\21MRN1.SGM 21MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 21, 2007 / Notices jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES than thirty-three percent (33%) of the funding available for grants will be awarded to combination departments, and no less than twenty-two percent (22%) will be awarded to all-volunteer departments. If, and only if, other statutory limitations inhibit DHS ability to ensure this distribution of funding, DHS will ensure that the aggregate combined total percent of funding provided to both combination and volunteer departments is no less than fifty-five percent. DHS generally makes funding decisions using rank order resulting from the panel evaluation. However, DHS may deviate from rank order and make funding decisions based on the type of department (career, combination, or volunteer) and/or the size and character of the community the applicant serves (urban, suburban, or rural) to the extent it is required to satisfy statutory provisions. Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program In addition to the grants available to fire departments in fiscal year 2007 through the competitive grant program, DHS will set aside no less than $27,350,000 of the funds available under the AFG program to make grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, national, State, local or community organizations or agencies, including fire departments, for the purpose of carrying out fire prevention and injury prevention projects, and for research and development grants that address firefighter safety. In accordance with the statutory requirement to fund fire prevention activities, support to Fire Prevention and Safety Grant activities concentrates on organizations that focus on the prevention of injuries to children from fire. In addition to this priority, DHS places an emphasis on funding innovative projects that focus on protecting children under fourteen, seniors over sixty-five, and firefighters. Because the victims of burns experience both short- and long-term physical and psychological effects, DHS places a priority on programs that focus on reducing the immediate and long-range effects of fire and burn injuries. DHS will issue an announcement regarding pertinent details of the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant portion of this program prior to the application period. Interested parties should monitor the grant program’s Web site at http://www.firegrantsupport.com. Application Process Prior to the start of the application period, DHS will conduct applicant VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:08 Mar 20, 2007 Jkt 211001 workshops across the country to inform potential applicants about the AFG program for 2007. In addition, DHS will provide applicants an online Web-based tutorial and other information to use in preparing a quality application. Applicants are advised to access the application electronically at https:// portal.fema.net, or through the AFG Web site at http:// www.firegrantsupport.com. In completing the application, applicants will provide relevant information on the applicant’s characteristics, call volume, and existing capacities. Applicants will answer questions regarding their assistance request that reflects the funding priorities (iterated below). In addition, each applicant will complete a narrative addressing statutory competitive factors: financial need, benefits/costs, and improvement to the organization’s daily operations. During the application period, applicants will be encouraged to contact DHS via a toll free number or online help desk with any questions. The electronic application process will permit the applicant to enter data and save the application for further use, and will not permit the submission of incomplete applications. Except for the narrative, the application uses a ‘‘point-and-click’’ selection process, or requires the entry of information (e.g., name & address, call volume numbers, etc.). The application period for the AFG grants will be announced in the full Program Guidance. During the approaching application season, the program office expects to receive between 25,000 and 30,000 applications. When available, application statistics on the type of department, type of community, and other factors reflected in the submitted requests will be posted on the AFG Web site: http://www.firegrantsupport.com. Application Review Process DHS evaluates all applications in the preliminary screening process to determine which applications best address the program’s announced funding priorities. This preliminary screening evaluates and scores the applicants’ answers to the activity specific questions. Applications containing multiple activities will be given prorated scores based on the amount of funding requested for each activity. The best applications as determined in the preliminary step are deemed to be in the ‘‘competitive range.’’ All applications in the competitive range are subject to a second level review by a technical evaluation panel made up of individuals from the fire service PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 13291 including, but not limited to, firefighters, fire marshals, and fire training instructors. The panelists will assess the application’s merits with respect to the clarity and detail provided about the project, the applicant’s financial need, the project’s purported benefit to be derived from the cost, and the effectiveness of the project to enhance the health and safety of the public and fire service personnel. Using the evaluation criteria included here, the panelists will independently score each application before them and then discuss the merits and shortcomings of the application in an effort to reconcile any major discrepancies. A consensus on the score is not required. The panelists will assign a score to each of the elements detailed above. DHS will then consider the highest scoring applications resulting from this second level of review for awards. DHS will select a sufficient number of awardees from this application period to obligate all of the available grant funding. DHS will announce the awards over several months and will notify applicants that will not receive funding as soon as feasible. DHS will not make awards in any specified order, i.e., not by State, program, nor any other characteristic. Criteria Development Process Each year, the DHS conducts a criteria development meeting to develop the program’s priorities for the coming year. DHS brings together a panel of fire service professionals representing the leadership of the nine major fire service organizations: • International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), • International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), • National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), • National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), • International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), • North American Fire Training Directors (NAFTD), • International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI), • Congressional Fire Service Institute (CFSI). The criteria development panel is charged with making recommendations to the grants program office regarding the creation and/or modification of program priorities as well as development of criteria and definitions as necessary. E:\FR\FM\21MRN1.SGM 21MRN1 jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES 13292 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 21, 2007 / Notices The governing statute requires that DHS publish each year in the Federal Register the guidelines that describe the application process and the criteria for grant awards. DHS must also include an explanation of any differences between the published guidelines and the recommendations made by the criteria development panel. The guidelines and the statement regarding the differences between the guidelines and the criteria development panel recommendations must be published in the Federal Register prior to awarding any grants under the program. 15 U.S.C. 2229(b)(14). Accordingly, DHS provides the following explanation of its decisions to modify or decline to adopt the criteria development panel’s recommendations: • The criteria development panel recommended allowing multiple vehicle requests for departments serving urban communities but did not provide a similar recommendation for departments serving suburban communities. DHS concurs with this recommendation but believes there is also sufficient benefit to be realized by extending the same consideration to departments serving suburban communities. As such, DHS will allow urban and suburban departments to apply for multiple vehicles during the 2007 program year. The applications, however, will be limited to one vehicle per station and any applicable statutory funding limits. • In recent years, DHS has prohibited previous vehicle awardees from receiving a second vehicle grant. The criteria development panel recommended that DHS allow certain vehicle grantees an opportunity to receive a second vehicle grant. Specifically, they recommended that DHS implement a five-year moratorium on applying for a second vehicle allowing vehicle grantees from 2001 and 2002 to receive vehicle funding in 2007. DHS believes that in light of the recommendation to allow certain departments to apply for multiple vehicles, placing any restriction on previous awardees would not be equitable. As such, for the 2007 program year, DHS will allow any applicant to apply for a vehicle regardless of the applicant’s previous grant history. • The criteria development panel recommended that any multiple vehicle requests be restricted to multiple vehicles of the same class. The criteria development panel’s rationale was that a department could otherwise request several high priority vehicles as well as lower priority vehicles which could result in funding of lower priority vehicles in lieu of high priorities. DHS VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:08 Mar 20, 2007 Jkt 211001 believes limiting applicants to one type of vehicle is overly restrictive and not responsive to organizations’ needs. Therefore, DHS will not implement this recommendation and will allow departments to apply for any need. • While risk is taken into consideration when determining which applications should go to panel, DHS did not believe that the criteria development group provided sufficient consideration for risks that a community faces. As such, DHS will provide higher consideration for departments that protect a higher population than departments that protect lower populations. Another measure of benefit will be the frequency in which any equipment or training would be used. As such, the number of incidents (call volume) that an organization responds to is directly relevant to the frequency at which any equipment or training would be used—i.e., the higher levels of incidents should afford higher consideration for benefit/cost to an application. In the implementation of previous years’ programs, DHS had utilized separate matrices for departments that protected urban, suburban and urban communities when determining the consideration for incidents. DHS believes that when using separate matrices, urban departments receive too little consideration relative to the incidents of an urban department. In order to remove this inequity, DHS will utilize a single, combined matrix when determining consideration for an applicant’s level of incidents for fire departments. • The criteria development group disagreed with DHS that vehicle awardees must strictly adhere to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines regarding driver/ operator training. Specifically, NFPA 1002 requires that drivers not only undergo driver and operator training, but also pass a firefighter physical (NFPA 1582) and be trained in basic firefighting (NFPA 1001). The criteria development group recommended that DHS require only the driver/operator training and a physical that did not meet NFPA standards. Finally, they recommended that DHS ignore the NFPA requirement that all drivers be sufficiently trained in basic firefighting. DHS will adhere to the standards provided by NFPA and require any vehicle awardee to administer a comprehensive driver/operator training program consistent with NFPA 1002. • There are more EMS incidents than fire incidents. The criteria development group did not take the different response levels into account when recommending the matrices to PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 determine consideration for the number of incidents. When evaluating EMS organizations’ applications, therefore, DHS will use a different matrix than that used for evaluating fire departments’ applications. DHS will also take into account existing vehicle’s mileage. • The criteria development committee did not make any recommendations to limit the items eligible for funding under the Fire Prevention and Safety Grants program. However, the purchase of certain items has been criticized as unnecessary to fire prevention efforts. Accordingly, when considering requests for fire prevention safety activities, DHS will limit the items that may be purchased to include, for example, mobile safety education trailers and model homes that are not usable for habitation or commercial purposes; curriculum materials and appropriate supplies; CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training tools; fire extinguisher training tools; and media equipment. • The criteria development committee included formal physical fitness equipment and programs as a high priority and prerequisite (along with physicals and immunizations) for any other wellness and fitness funding. DHS disagrees that federal funding of exercise equipment should be a prerequisite for other wellness and fitness activities and placing a high priority on federal funding of exercise equipment over-emphasizes exercise in relation to physicals and immunizations. Therefore, DHS includes this activity as a lower priority. • The criteria development committee recommended that the eligible activities under modifications to facilities be expanded to include storm doors and storm windows. While DHS appreciates the recommendation to mitigate losses from certain natural disasters, DHS determined that the previously eligible activities were sufficient. Specifically, under modifications to facilities, DHS will only fund: (1) Installation of sprinkler systems; (2) vehicle exhaust extraction systems; (3) smoke and fire alarm notification systems; and (4) emergency facility generators. • DHS also made several minor modifications to the automated scoring matrix meant to correct unintended inconsistencies between the recommendations provided by the panel and DHS’ interpretation of the intent of the recommendations. In making these modifications, DHS looks to the broader Administration priorities established in Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8 (HSPD E:\FR\FM\21MRN1.SGM 21MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 21, 2007 / Notices 8), 39 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs. 1822 (Dec. 17, 2003). DHS is mindful of some differences between the AFG statutory mandates and HSPD–8 priorities, such as the statutory requirement that DHS make AFG grants directly to fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations, as contrasted with the HSPD–8 preference for funding through the States. However, the AFG is consistent with the National Preparedness Goal called for by HSPD– 8 by prioritizing investments based upon the assessment of an applicant’s need and capabilities to effectively prepare for and respond to all hazards, including terrorism threats, and a consideration of the characteristics of the community served (e.g. presence of critical infrastructure, population served, call volume) to the extent permitted by law. To the extent practical, AFG has attempted to harmonize the directions from the President and the Secretary with the requirements and limitations of the authorization and the structure of the fire service. Federal funding of assets devoted to basic firefighting should complement all aspects of responding to the more complex chemical/biological/ radiological/nuclear/-explosive (CBRNE) threat. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Review Considerations Fire Department Priorities Specific rating criteria for each of the eligible programs and activities are discussed below. The funding priorities described in this Notice have been recommended by a panel of representatives from the Nation’s fire service leadership and have been accepted by DHS for the purposes of implementing the AFG. These rating criteria provide an understanding of the grant program’s priorities and the expected cost-effectiveness of any proposed project(s). The activities listed below are in no particular order of priority. Within each activity, DHS will consider the number of people served by the applicant with higher populations afforded more consideration than lower populations. DHS will further explain program priorities in Program Guidance to be published separately. (1) Operations and Firefighter Safety Program. (i) Training Activities. In implementing the fire service’s recommendations, DHS has determined that the most benefit will be derived from instructor-led, hands-on training that leads to a nationally-sanctioned or State certification. Training requests that include Web-based home study or VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:08 Mar 20, 2007 Jkt 211001 distance learning or the purchase of training materials, equipment, or props are a lower priority. Therefore, applications focused on national or State certification training, including train-the-trainer initiatives, will receive a higher competitive rating. Training that (1) Involves instructors, (2) requires the students to demonstrate their grasp of knowledge of the training material via testing, and (3) is integral to a certification will receive a high competitive rating. Instructor-led training that does not lead to a certification, and any self-taught courses, are of lower benefit, and therefore will not receive a high priority. DHS will give higher priority, within the limitations imposed by the authorizing statutes, to training proposals which improve coordination capabilities across disciplines (Fire, EMS, and Police), and jurisdictions (local, State, and Federal). Training related to coordinated incident response (i.e. bomb threat or IED response), tactical emergency communications procedures, or similar types of interdisciplinary, inter-jurisdictional training will receive the highest competitive rating. Due to the inherent differences between urban, suburban, and rural firefighting characteristics, DHS has accepted the recommendations of the criteria development panel for different priorities in the training activities of departments that service these different types of communities. CBRNE awareness training has a high benefit, however, and will receive the highest consideration regardless of the type of community served and regardless of the absence of any national standard. For fire departments serving rural communities, DHS has determined that funding basic, operational-level firefighting, operational-level rescue, driver training, and first-responder EMS, EMT-B, and EMT-I training (i.e., training in basic firefighting, EMS, and rescue duties) has greater benefit than funding officer training, safety officer training, or incident-command training. In rural communities, after basic training, there is a greater cost-benefit ratio for officer training than for other specialized types of training such as mass casualty, HazMat, advance rescue and EMT-P, or inspector training. Conversely, for departments that are serving urban or suburban communities, DHS has determined that, due to the number of firefighters and the relativelyhigh population protected, any training requests will receive a high priority rating regardless of the level of training requested. As such, when considering PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 13293 applications for training from departments serving urban and suburban communities, DHS will give higher priority to training proposals which improve coordination capabilities across first-responder disciplines (fire, EMS, and law enforcement), and jurisdictions (local, State, and Federal). Training related to coordinated incident response (e.g., weapons of mass destruction (WMD) awareness and incident operations, chemical or biological operations, or bomb threats), tactical emergency communications procedures, or similar types of inter-disciplinary, interjurisdictional training will receive the highest competitive rating. (ii) Wellness and Fitness Activities. In implementing the criteria panel’s recommendations, DHS has determined that fire departments must offer periodic health screenings, entry physical examinations, and an immunization program to have an effective wellness/ fitness program. Accordingly, applicants for grants in this category must currently offer or plan to offer with grant funds all three benefits to receive funding for any other initiatives in this activity. After entry-level physicals, annual physicals, and immunizations, DHS will give priority to formal fitness and injury prevention programs. DHS will give lower priority to stress management, injury/illness rehabilitation, and employee assistance. DHS has determined the greatest relative benefit will be realized by supporting new wellness and fitness programs. Therefore, applicants for new wellness/fitness programs will receive higher competitive ratings when compared with applicants whose wellness/fitness programs lack one or more of the three top priority items cited above, and applicants that already employ the requisite three activities of a wellness/fitness program. Finally, because participation is critical to achieving any benefits from a wellness or fitness program, applications that mandate or provide incentives for participation will receive higher competitive ratings. (iii) Equipment Acquisition. As stated in the AFG authorization statute, DHS administers this grant program to protect the health and safety of firefighters and the public from fire and fire-related hazards. As such, equipment that has a direct effect on the health and safety of either firefighters or the public will receive a higher competitive rating than equipment that has no such effect. Equipment that promotes interoperability with neighboring jurisdictions (especially for communications equipment E:\FR\FM\21MRN1.SGM 21MRN1 13294 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 21, 2007 / Notices interoperable with a regional shared system) will receive additional consideration in the cost-benefit assessment if the application makes it into the competitive range. The criteria development panel concluded that this grant program will achieve the greatest benefits if the grant program provides funds to purchase firefighting equipment (including rescue, EMS, and/or CBRNE preparedness) that the applicant has not owned prior to the grant, or to replace used or obsolete equipment. For the 2007 program year, the criteria development panel has recommended that DHS make a distinction between ‘‘new missions’’ and ‘‘new risks.’’ According to the panel, a department takes on a new mission when it expands its services into areas not previously offered, such as a fire department seeking funding to provide emergency medical services for the first time. A ‘‘new risk’’ presents itself when a department must address risks that have materialized in the department’s area of responsibility, for example, the construction of a plant that uses significant levels of certain chemicals could constitute a ‘‘new risk.’’ An organization taking on ‘‘new risks’’ should be afforded higher consideration than departments taking on a ‘‘new mission.’’ New missions receive a lower priority due to the potential that an applicant will not be able to financially support and sustain the new mission beyond the period of the grant. However, applicants can mitigate the impact of ‘‘New Missions’’ on the competitiveness of their application by providing evidence that the department will be able to support and sustain the new mission beyond the period of grant. Departments responding to high call volumes will be afforded a higher competitive rating than departments responding to lower call volumes. In other words, those departments that are required to respond more frequently will receive a higher competitive rating then those that respond less frequently. The purchase of equipment that brings the department into statutory or regulatory compliance will provide the highest benefit and therefore will receive the highest consideration. The purchase of equipment that brings a department into voluntary compliance with national standards will also receive a high competitive rating, but not as high as for the purchase of equipment that brings a department into statutory compliance. The purchase of equipment that does not affect statutory compliance or voluntary compliance with a national standard will receive a lower competitive rating. (iv) Personal Protective Equipment Acquisition. To achieve the Program’s goals and maximize the benefit to the firefighting community, DHS believes that it must fund those applicants needing to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to a high percentage of their personnel. Accordingly, DHS will assign a higher competitive rating in this category to fire departments where a larger number of active firefighting staff is without compliant PPE. DHS will assign a high competitive rating to departments that will purchase the equipment for the first time as opposed to departments replacing obsolete or substandard equipment (e.g., equipment that does not meet current NFPA and OSHA standards). For those departments that are replacing obsolete or substandard equipment, DHS will factor the age and condition of the equipment to be replaced into the score with a higher priority given to replacing old, damaged, torn, and/or contaminated equipment. DHS will only consider funding applications for personal alert safety system (PASS) devices that meet current national safety standards, i.e., integrated and/or automatic or automatic-on PASS. Finally, DHS takes into account the number of fire response calls that a department makes in a year with the higher priority going to departments with higher call volumes, while applications from departments with low call volumes are afforded lower competitive ratings. (v) Modifications to Fire Stations and Facilities. DHS believes that more benefit is derived from modifying fire stations than by modifying fire-training facilities or other fire-related facilities. The frequency of use has a bearing on the benefits derived from grant funds. As such, DHS will afford facilities occupied 24-hours-per-day/seven-daysa-week the highest consideration when contrasted with facilities used on a parttime or irregular basis. Facilities open for broad usage and which have a high occupancy capacity receive a higher competitive rating than facilities that have limited use and/or low occupancy capacity. The frequency and duration of a facility’s occupancy have a direct relationship to the benefits realized from funding in this activity. (2) Firefighting Vehicle Acquisition Program. Due to the inherent differences between urban, suburban, and rural firefighting conventions, DHS has developed different priorities in the vehicle program for departments that service different types of communities. The following chart delineates the priorities in this program area for each type of community. Due to the competitive nature of this program and the imposed limits of funding available for this program, it is unlikely that DHS will fund many vehicles not listed as a Priority One during the 2007 program year. VEHICLE PROGRAM PRIORITIES Priority Urban communities Suburban communities Rural communities Pumper Aerial Quint (Aerial < 76’) Quint (Aerial 76’ or >) Rescue Pumper Aerial Quint (Aerial < 76’) Quint (Aerial 76’ or >) Brush/Attack Pumper Brush/Attack Tanker/Tender Quint (Aerial < 76’) Priority Two .................................... jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Priority One .................................... Command HazMat Light/Air Rehab Command HazMat Rescue Tanker/Tender HazMat Rescue Light/Air Aerial Quint (Aerial 76’ or >) Priority Three ................................. Foam Truck ARFFV Brush/Attack Tanker/Tender Ambulance Foam Truck ARFFV Rehab Light/Air Ambulance Foam Truck ARFFV Rehab Command Ambulance VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:08 Mar 20, 2007 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\21MRN1.SGM 21MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 21, 2007 / Notices 13295 VEHICLE PROGRAM PRIORITIES—Continued Priority Urban communities Suburban communities jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Fire Boat DHS will evaluate the marginal value derived from an additional vehicle of any given type on the basis of call volume. As a result, departments with fewer vehicles of a given type than other departments who service comparable call volumes are more likely to score competitively than departments with more vehicles of that type and comparable call volume unless the need for an additional vehicle of such type is made apparent in the application. In 2007, applicants may submit requests for more than one vehicle. Applicants must supply sufficient justification for each vehicle contained in the request. For those applications with multiple vehicles, the panelists will be instructed to evaluate the marginal benefit to be derived from funding the additional vehicle(s) given the potential use and the population protected. DHS anticipates that the panels will only recommend an award for a multiple-vehicles application when the cost-benefit justification is adequately compelling. DHS believes that a greater benefit will be derived from funding an additional vehicle(s) to departments that own fewer or no vehicles of the type requested. As such, DHS assigns a higher competitive rating in the apparatus category to fire departments that own fewer firefighting vehicles relative to other departments serving similar types of communities (i.e., urban, suburban and rural). DHS assesses all vehicles with similar functions when assessing the number of vehicles a department possesses within a particular type. For example, the ‘‘pumper’’ category includes: pumpers, engines, pumper/tankers (apparatus that carries a minimum of 300 gallons of water and has a pump with a capacity to pump a minimum of 750 gallons per minute), rescue-pumpers, quints (with aerials less than 76 feet in length), and urban interface vehicles (Type I). Apparatus that has water capacity in excess of 1,000 gallons and a pump with pumping capacity of less than 750 gallons per minute are considered to be a tanker/tender. DHS assigns a higher competitive rating to departments possessing an aged fleet of firefighting vehicles. DHS will also assign a higher competitive rating to departments that respond to a high volume of incidents. VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:08 Mar 20, 2007 Jkt 211001 Fire Boat Fire Boat DHS will give lower priority to funding departments seeking apparatus with the goal to expand into new mission areas unless the applicant demonstrates that they will be able to support and sustain the new mission or service area beyond the grant program. DHS will assign no competitive advantage to the purchase of standard model commercial vehicles relative to custom vehicles, or the purchase of used vehicles relative to new vehicles in the preliminary evaluation of applications. DHS has noted that, depending on the type and size of department, the peer review panelists often prefer low-cost vehicles when evaluating the costbenefit section of the project narratives. DHS also reserves the right to consider current vehicle costs within the fire service vehicle manufacturing industry when determining the level of funding that will be offered to the potential grantee, particularly if those current costs indicate that the applicant’s proposed purchase costs are excessive. DHS will allow departments serving urban or suburban communities to apply for more than one vehicle. DHS, however, will allow departments serving rural communities to apply for only one vehicle. DHS will limit applications from suburban or urban departments to one vehicle per station as well as by the statutory funding limits. DHS will not limit applications because of a vehicle award from previous AFG program years, i.e., previous vehicle awardees are eligible for funding for additional vehicles in 2007. (3) Administrative Costs. Panelists will assess the reasonability of the administrative costs requested in any application and determine if the request is reasonable and in the best interest of the program. Nonaffiliated EMS Organization Priorities DHS may make grants for the purpose of enhancing the provision of emergency medical services by nonaffiliated EMS organizations. The authorizing statute limits funding for these organizations to no more than two percent of the appropriated amount. DHS has determined that it is more costeffective to enhance or expand an existing emergency medical service organization by providing training and/ or equipment than to create a new PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Rural communities service. Communities that do not currently offer emergency medical services but are turning to this grant program to initiate such a service received the lowest competitive rating. DHS does not believe creating a nonaffiliated EMS program is a substantial and sufficient benefit under the program. Specific rating criteria and priorities for each of the grant categories are provided below following the descriptions of this year’s eligible programs. The rating criteria, in conjunction with the program description, provide an understanding of the evaluation standards. In each activity, the amount of the population served by the applicant will be taken into consideration with higher populations afforded more consideration than low populations served. DHS will further explain program priorities in the Program Guidance upon publication thereof. (1) EMS Operations and Safety Program. Five different activities may be funded under this program area: EMS training, EMS equipment, EMS personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and modifications to facilities. Requests for equipment and training to prepare for response to incidents involving CBRNE were available under the applicable equipment and training activities. (i) Training Activities. DHS believes that upgrading a service that currently meets a basic life support capacity to a higher level of life support creates the most benefit. Therefore, DHS will give a higher competitive rating to nonaffiliated EMS organizations that seek to upgrade from first responder to EMT-B level. Because training is a prerequisite to the effective use of EMS equipment, organizations with requests more focused on training activities received a higher competitive rating than organizations whose request is more focused on equipment. The second priority is to elevate emergency responders’ capabilities from EMT-B to EMT-I or higher. (ii) EMS Equipment Acquisition. As noted above, training received a higher competitive rating than equipment. Applications seeking assistance to purchase equipment to support the EMT-B level of service received a higher priority than requests seeking assistance E:\FR\FM\21MRN1.SGM 21MRN1 13296 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 21, 2007 / Notices to purchase equipment to support advance level EMS services. Items that are eligible but a lower priority include tents, shelters, generators, lights, and heating and cooling units. Firefighting equipment is not eligible under this activity. As discussed previously, organizations taking on ‘‘new risks’’ will be afforded much higher consideration than an organization taking on a ‘‘new mission.’’ (iii) EMS Personal Protective Equipment. DHS gave the same priorities for EMS PPE as it did for fire department PPE discussed above. Acquisition of PASS devices or any firefighting PPE is not eligible, however, for funding for EMS organizations. (iv) Wellness and Fitness Activities. DHS believes that to have an effective wellness/fitness program, nonaffiliated EMS organizations must offer periodic health screenings, entry physical examinations, and an immunization program similar to the programs for fire departments discussed previously. Accordingly, applicants for grants in this category must currently offer or plan to offer with grant funds all three benefits (periodic health screenings, entry physical examinations, and an immunization program) to receive funding for any other initiatives in this activity. The priorities for EMS wellness/fitness programs are the same as for fire departments as discussed above. (v) Modification to EMS Stations and Facilities. DHS believes that the competitive rankings and priorities applied to modification of fire stations and facilities, discussed above, apply equally to EMS stations and facilities. (2) EMS Vehicle Acquisition Program. DHS gave the highest funding priority to acquisition of ambulances and transport vehicles due to the inherent benefits to the community and EMS service provider. Due to the costs associated with obtaining and outfitting non-transport rescue vehicles relative to the benefits derived from such vehicles, DHS will give non-transport rescue vehicles a lower competitive rating than transport vehicles. Vehicles that have a very narrow function, such as aircraft, boats, and all-terrain vehicles, received the lowest competitive rating. DHS anticipates that the EMS vehicle awards will be very competitive due to very limited available funding. Accordingly, DHS will likely only fund vehicles that are listed as a ‘‘Priority One’’ in the 2007 program year. The following chart delineates the priorities in this program area for EMS vehicle program. The priorities are the same regardless of the type of community served. EMS VEHICLE PRIORITIES Priority one Priority two jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES • Ambulance or transport unit to support EMT-B needs and functions Along with the priorities illustrated above, DHS has accepted the fire service recommendation that emerged from the criteria development process that funding applicants that own few or no vehicles of the type sought will be more beneficial than funding applicants that own numerous vehicles of that same type. DHS assesses the number of vehicles an applicant owns by including all vehicles of the same type. For example, transport vehicles will be considered the same as ambulances. DHS will give a higher competitive rating to applicants that have an aged fleet of emergency vehicles, and to applicants with old, high-mileage vehicles. DHS will give a higher competitive rating to applicants that respond to a significant number of incidents relative to applicants responding less often. Finally, DHS will afford applicants with transport vehicles with high mileage more consideration than applicants with vehicles that driven extensively. (3) Administrative Costs. Panelists assess the reasonableness of the administrative costs requested in each application and determined whether the VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:08 Mar 20, 2007 Jkt 211001 Priority three • First responder nontransport vehicles • Special operations vehicles • Helicopters/planes. • Command vehicles. • Rescue boats (over 13 feet in length). • Hovercraft. • Other special access vehicles. request will be reasonable and in the best interest of the program. Dated: March 16, 2007. George W. Foresman, Under Secretary for Preparedness. [FR Doc. 07–1380 Filed 3–16–07; 12:58 pm] BILLING CODE 4410–10–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Bureau of Customs and Border Protection [CBP Dec. 07–06] Re-Accreditation and Re-Approval of Camin Cargo Control Inc., as a Commercial Gauger and Laboratory Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security. ACTION: Notice of re-approval of Camin Cargo Control Inc., of Chelsea, Massachusetts, as a commercial gauger and laboratory. AGENCY: SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to 19 CFR 151.12 and 151.13, Camin Cargo Control Inc., 471 Eastern PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Avenue, Chelsea, Massachusetts 02150, has been re-approved to gauge petroleum and petroleum products, organic chemicals and vegetable oils, and to test petroleum and petroleum products for customs purposes, in accordance with the provisions of 19 CFR 151.12 and 151.13. Anyone wishing to employ this entity to conduct laboratory analysis or gauger services should request and receive written assurances from the entity that it is accredited or approved by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to conduct the specific test or gauger service requested. Alternatively, inquiries regarding the specific tests or gauger services this entity is accredited or approved to perform may be directed to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection by calling (202) 344–1060. The inquiry may also be sent to http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/import/ operations_support/labs_scientific_ svcs/org_and_operations.xml. The re-approval of Camin Cargo Control Inc., as a commercial gauger and laboratory became effective on August 22, 2006. The next triennial inspection date will be scheduled for August 2009. DATES: E:\FR\FM\21MRN1.SGM 21MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 54 (Wednesday, March 21, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13289-13296]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 07-1380]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Office of Grants and Training


Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program

AGENCY: Office of Grants and Training, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of guidance.

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SUMMARY: This Notice is to provide guidelines that describe the 
application process for grants and the criteria for awarding grants in 
the 2007 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program year, as well as an 
explanation for any differences with the guidelines recommended to the 
Department by representatives of the Nation's fire service leadership 
during the annual Criteria Development meeting held November 1-2, 2006. 
The program makes grants directly to fire departments and nonaffiliated 
emergency medical services organizations for the purpose of enhancing 
first-responders' abilities to protect the health and safety of the 
public as well as that of first-responder personnel facing fire and 
fire-related hazards. In addition, the authorizing statute requires 
that a minimum of five percent of appropriated funds be expended for 
fire prevention and safety grants, which are also made directly to 
local fire departments and to local, regional, state or national 
entities recognized for their expertise in the field of fire prevention 
and firefighter safety research and development.
    As in prior years, this year's grants will be awarded on a 
competitive basis to the applicants that best reflect the program's 
criteria and funding priorities, and best address statutory award 
requirements. As referenced above, this Notice describes the criteria 
and funding priorities recommended by a panel of representatives of the 
Nation's fire service leadership (criteria development panel) and 
accepted by the Department of Homeland Security, unless otherwise noted 
herein. This Notice contains details regarding the guidance and 
competitive process descriptions that the Department has provided to 
applicants and also provides information on how and why the Department 
deviated from recommendations of the criteria development panel.

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 2229, 2229a.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Cowan, Director, Assistance to 
Firefighters Program Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 245

[[Page 13290]]

Murray Lane, Building 410, SW., Washington, DC 20528-7000.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the Assistance to 
Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program is to provide grants directly to fire 
departments and nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) 
organizations to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety 
of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel, with 
respect to fire and fire-related hazards.

Appropriations

    For fiscal year 2007, Congress appropriated $547,000,000 to carry 
out the activities of the AFG Program. The Department of Homeland 
Security (DHS) is authorized to use up to $27,350,000 for 
administration of the AFG program (five percent of the appropriated 
amount). In addition, DHS has set aside no less than $27,350,000 of the 
funds (five percent of the appropriation) for the Fire Prevention and 
Safety Grants in order to make grants to, or enter into contracts or 
cooperative agreements with, national, state, local or community 
organizations or agencies, including fire departments, for the purpose 
of carrying out fire prevention grants and firefighter safety research 
and development grants. The remaining $492,300,000 will be used for 
competitive grants to fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS 
organizations for equipment, training and first responders' safety. 
Within the portion of funding available for these competitive grants, 
DHS must assure that no less than three and one-half percent of the 
appropriation, or $19,145,000, is awarded for EMS equipment and 
training. However, awards to nonaffiliated EMS organizations are 
limited to no more than two percent of the appropriation or 
$10,940,000. Therefore, at least the balance of the requisite awards 
for EMS equipment and training must go to fire departments.

Background

    DHS awards the grants on a competitive basis to the applicants that 
best address the AFG program's priorities and provide the most 
compelling justification. Applicants whose requests best address the 
program's priorities will be reviewed by a panel composed of fire 
service personnel. The panel will review the narrative and evaluate the 
application in four different areas: (1) The clarity of the proposed 
project description, (2) the organization's financial need, (3) the 
benefit to be derived from the proposed project relative to the cost, 
and (4) the extent to which the grant would enhance the applicant's 
daily operations and/or how the grant would positively impact the 
applicant's ability to protect life and property.
    The AFG program for 2007 generally mirrors previous years' programs 
with a few significant changes. The first significant change is the 
removal of the restriction regarding the number of vehicles that an 
applicant may request in a single application. In prior years, all 
applicants were limited to one vehicle per request and previous vehicle 
awardees were not eligible for additional vehicle awards. For the 2007 
program year, organizations that protect urban or suburban communities 
will be allowed to apply for multiple vehicles. However, DHS will limit 
eligible applicants' awards to one vehicle per station. In addition, 
the total amount of funds that can be awarded to any one applicant will 
continue to be limited by the statutory limitations detailed below.
    The second significant change is to allow applicants to submit as 
many as three separate applications: a vehicle application, an 
application for operations and safety; and an application for a 
``regional project.'' A ``regional project,'' generally, is a project 
undertaken by an applicant to provide services and support to a number 
of other regional participants, such as training for multiple mutual-
aid jurisdictions. During the 2006 program year, organizations that 
applied as a host of a regional project were not able to include 
activities unrelated to the regional project, e.g., activities to 
address specific needs of the host applicant versus the region. For the 
2007 program year, we will allow host applicants to satisfy their own 
needs via separate application(s).
    As in previous years, regional applications will be required to 
reflect the general characteristics of the entire represented region. 
The population covered by the regional project will affect the amount 
of required local contribution to the project, i.e. the cost-share 
required for the project.
    The 2007 program will again segregate the Fire Prevention and 
Safety Grant (FP&S) program from the AFG. DHS will have a separate 
application period devoted solely to FP&S in the Fall of 2007. The AFG 
Web site (http://www.firegrantsupport.com) will provide updated 
information on this program.
    Congress has enacted statutory limits to the amount of funding that 
a grantee may receive from the AFG program in any fiscal year (15 
U.S.C. 2229(b)(10)). These limits are based on population served. A 
grantee that serves a jurisdiction with 500,000 people or less may not 
receive grant funding in excess of $1,000,000 in any fiscal year. A 
grantee that serves a jurisdiction with more than 500,000 but not more 
than 1,000,000 people may not receive grants in excess of $1,750,000 in 
any fiscal year. A grantee that serves a jurisdiction with more than 
1,000,000 people may not receive grants in excess of $2,750,000 in any 
fiscal year. DHS may waive these established limits to any grantee 
serving a jurisdiction of 1,000,000 people or less if DHS determines 
that extraordinary need for assistance warrants the waiver. No grantee, 
under any circumstance, may receive ``more than the lesser of 
$2,750,000 or one half of one percent of the funds appropriated under 
this section for a single fiscal year.'' In fiscal year 2007, no 
grantee may receive more than $2,735,000 (one half of one percent of 
the $547,000,000 appropriated for 2007).
    Grantees must share in the costs of the projects funded under this 
grant program (15 U.S.C. 2229(b)(6). Fire departments and nonaffiliated 
EMS organizations that serve populations of less than 20,000 must match 
the Federal grant funds with an amount of non-Federal funds equal to 
five percent of the total project cost. Fire departments and 
nonaffiliated EMS organizations serving areas with a population between 
20,000 and 50,000, inclusive, must match the Federal grant funds with 
an amount of non-Federal funds equal to ten percent of the total 
project cost. Fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations that 
serve populations of over 50,000 must match the Federal grant funds 
with an amount of non-Federal funds equal to twenty percent of the 
total project costs. All non-Federal funds must be in cash, i.e., in-
kind contributions are not eligible. The only waiver granted for this 
requirement will be for applicants located in Insular Areas as provided 
for in 48 U.S.C. 1469a.
    The law imposes additional requirements on ensuring a distribution 
of grant funds among career, volunteer, and combination (volunteer and 
career personnel) fire departments, and among urban, suburban and rural 
communities. More specifically with respect to department types, DHS 
must ensure that all-volunteer or combination fire departments receive 
a portion of the total grant funding that is not less than the 
proportion of the United States population that those departments 
protect (15 U.S.C. 2229(b)(11)). There is no corresponding minimum for 
career departments. Therefore, subject to the other statutory 
limitations on DHS ability to award funds, DHS will ensure that, for 
the 2007 program year, no less

[[Page 13291]]

than thirty-three percent (33%) of the funding available for grants 
will be awarded to combination departments, and no less than twenty-two 
percent (22%) will be awarded to all-volunteer departments. If, and 
only if, other statutory limitations inhibit DHS ability to ensure this 
distribution of funding, DHS will ensure that the aggregate combined 
total percent of funding provided to both combination and volunteer 
departments is no less than fifty-five percent.
    DHS generally makes funding decisions using rank order resulting 
from the panel evaluation. However, DHS may deviate from rank order and 
make funding decisions based on the type of department (career, 
combination, or volunteer) and/or the size and character of the 
community the applicant serves (urban, suburban, or rural) to the 
extent it is required to satisfy statutory provisions.

Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program

    In addition to the grants available to fire departments in fiscal 
year 2007 through the competitive grant program, DHS will set aside no 
less than $27,350,000 of the funds available under the AFG program to 
make grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, 
national, State, local or community organizations or agencies, 
including fire departments, for the purpose of carrying out fire 
prevention and injury prevention projects, and for research and 
development grants that address firefighter safety.
    In accordance with the statutory requirement to fund fire 
prevention activities, support to Fire Prevention and Safety Grant 
activities concentrates on organizations that focus on the prevention 
of injuries to children from fire. In addition to this priority, DHS 
places an emphasis on funding innovative projects that focus on 
protecting children under fourteen, seniors over sixty-five, and 
firefighters. Because the victims of burns experience both short- and 
long-term physical and psychological effects, DHS places a priority on 
programs that focus on reducing the immediate and long-range effects of 
fire and burn injuries.
    DHS will issue an announcement regarding pertinent details of the 
Fire Prevention and Safety Grant portion of this program prior to the 
application period. Interested parties should monitor the grant 
program's Web site at http://www.firegrantsupport.com.

Application Process

    Prior to the start of the application period, DHS will conduct 
applicant workshops across the country to inform potential applicants 
about the AFG program for 2007. In addition, DHS will provide 
applicants an online Web-based tutorial and other information to use in 
preparing a quality application. Applicants are advised to access the 
application electronically at https://portal.fema.net, or through the 
AFG Web site at http://www.firegrantsupport.com. In completing the 
application, applicants will provide relevant information on the 
applicant's characteristics, call volume, and existing capacities. 
Applicants will answer questions regarding their assistance request 
that reflects the funding priorities (iterated below). In addition, 
each applicant will complete a narrative addressing statutory 
competitive factors: financial need, benefits/costs, and improvement to 
the organization's daily operations. During the application period, 
applicants will be encouraged to contact DHS via a toll free number or 
online help desk with any questions. The electronic application process 
will permit the applicant to enter data and save the application for 
further use, and will not permit the submission of incomplete 
applications. Except for the narrative, the application uses a ``point-
and-click'' selection process, or requires the entry of information 
(e.g., name & address, call volume numbers, etc.).
    The application period for the AFG grants will be announced in the 
full Program Guidance. During the approaching application season, the 
program office expects to receive between 25,000 and 30,000 
applications. When available, application statistics on the type of 
department, type of community, and other factors reflected in the 
submitted requests will be posted on the AFG Web site: http://
www.firegrantsupport.com.

Application Review Process

    DHS evaluates all applications in the preliminary screening process 
to determine which applications best address the program's announced 
funding priorities. This preliminary screening evaluates and scores the 
applicants' answers to the activity specific questions. Applications 
containing multiple activities will be given prorated scores based on 
the amount of funding requested for each activity.
    The best applications as determined in the preliminary step are 
deemed to be in the ``competitive range.'' All applications in the 
competitive range are subject to a second level review by a technical 
evaluation panel made up of individuals from the fire service 
including, but not limited to, firefighters, fire marshals, and fire 
training instructors. The panelists will assess the application's 
merits with respect to the clarity and detail provided about the 
project, the applicant's financial need, the project's purported 
benefit to be derived from the cost, and the effectiveness of the 
project to enhance the health and safety of the public and fire service 
personnel.
    Using the evaluation criteria included here, the panelists will 
independently score each application before them and then discuss the 
merits and shortcomings of the application in an effort to reconcile 
any major discrepancies. A consensus on the score is not required. The 
panelists will assign a score to each of the elements detailed above. 
DHS will then consider the highest scoring applications resulting from 
this second level of review for awards.
    DHS will select a sufficient number of awardees from this 
application period to obligate all of the available grant funding. DHS 
will announce the awards over several months and will notify applicants 
that will not receive funding as soon as feasible. DHS will not make 
awards in any specified order, i.e., not by State, program, nor any 
other characteristic.

Criteria Development Process

    Each year, the DHS conducts a criteria development meeting to 
develop the program's priorities for the coming year. DHS brings 
together a panel of fire service professionals representing the 
leadership of the nine major fire service organizations:
     International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC),
     International Association of Firefighters (IAFF),
     National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC),
     National Fire Protection Association (NFPA),
     National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM),
     International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI),
     North American Fire Training Directors (NAFTD),
     International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI),
     Congressional Fire Service Institute (CFSI).
    The criteria development panel is charged with making 
recommendations to the grants program office regarding the creation 
and/or modification of program priorities as well as development of 
criteria and definitions as necessary.

[[Page 13292]]

    The governing statute requires that DHS publish each year in the 
Federal Register the guidelines that describe the application process 
and the criteria for grant awards. DHS must also include an explanation 
of any differences between the published guidelines and the 
recommendations made by the criteria development panel. The guidelines 
and the statement regarding the differences between the guidelines and 
the criteria development panel recommendations must be published in the 
Federal Register prior to awarding any grants under the program. 15 
U.S.C. 2229(b)(14).
    Accordingly, DHS provides the following explanation of its 
decisions to modify or decline to adopt the criteria development 
panel's recommendations:
     The criteria development panel recommended allowing 
multiple vehicle requests for departments serving urban communities but 
did not provide a similar recommendation for departments serving 
suburban communities. DHS concurs with this recommendation but believes 
there is also sufficient benefit to be realized by extending the same 
consideration to departments serving suburban communities. As such, DHS 
will allow urban and suburban departments to apply for multiple 
vehicles during the 2007 program year. The applications, however, will 
be limited to one vehicle per station and any applicable statutory 
funding limits.
     In recent years, DHS has prohibited previous vehicle 
awardees from receiving a second vehicle grant. The criteria 
development panel recommended that DHS allow certain vehicle grantees 
an opportunity to receive a second vehicle grant. Specifically, they 
recommended that DHS implement a five-year moratorium on applying for a 
second vehicle allowing vehicle grantees from 2001 and 2002 to receive 
vehicle funding in 2007. DHS believes that in light of the 
recommendation to allow certain departments to apply for multiple 
vehicles, placing any restriction on previous awardees would not be 
equitable. As such, for the 2007 program year, DHS will allow any 
applicant to apply for a vehicle regardless of the applicant's previous 
grant history.
     The criteria development panel recommended that any 
multiple vehicle requests be restricted to multiple vehicles of the 
same class. The criteria development panel's rationale was that a 
department could otherwise request several high priority vehicles as 
well as lower priority vehicles which could result in funding of lower 
priority vehicles in lieu of high priorities. DHS believes limiting 
applicants to one type of vehicle is overly restrictive and not 
responsive to organizations' needs. Therefore, DHS will not implement 
this recommendation and will allow departments to apply for any need.
     While risk is taken into consideration when determining 
which applications should go to panel, DHS did not believe that the 
criteria development group provided sufficient consideration for risks 
that a community faces. As such, DHS will provide higher consideration 
for departments that protect a higher population than departments that 
protect lower populations. Another measure of benefit will be the 
frequency in which any equipment or training would be used. As such, 
the number of incidents (call volume) that an organization responds to 
is directly relevant to the frequency at which any equipment or 
training would be used--i.e., the higher levels of incidents should 
afford higher consideration for benefit/cost to an application. In the 
implementation of previous years' programs, DHS had utilized separate 
matrices for departments that protected urban, suburban and urban 
communities when determining the consideration for incidents. DHS 
believes that when using separate matrices, urban departments receive 
too little consideration relative to the incidents of an urban 
department. In order to remove this inequity, DHS will utilize a 
single, combined matrix when determining consideration for an 
applicant's level of incidents for fire departments.
     The criteria development group disagreed with DHS that 
vehicle awardees must strictly adhere to National Fire Protection 
Association (NFPA) guidelines regarding driver/operator training. 
Specifically, NFPA 1002 requires that drivers not only undergo driver 
and operator training, but also pass a firefighter physical (NFPA 1582) 
and be trained in basic firefighting (NFPA 1001). The criteria 
development group recommended that DHS require only the driver/operator 
training and a physical that did not meet NFPA standards. Finally, they 
recommended that DHS ignore the NFPA requirement that all drivers be 
sufficiently trained in basic firefighting. DHS will adhere to the 
standards provided by NFPA and require any vehicle awardee to 
administer a comprehensive driver/operator training program consistent 
with NFPA 1002.
     There are more EMS incidents than fire incidents. The 
criteria development group did not take the different response levels 
into account when recommending the matrices to determine consideration 
for the number of incidents. When evaluating EMS organizations' 
applications, therefore, DHS will use a different matrix than that used 
for evaluating fire departments' applications. DHS will also take into 
account existing vehicle's mileage.
     The criteria development committee did not make any 
recommendations to limit the items eligible for funding under the Fire 
Prevention and Safety Grants program. However, the purchase of certain 
items has been criticized as unnecessary to fire prevention efforts. 
Accordingly, when considering requests for fire prevention safety 
activities, DHS will limit the items that may be purchased to include, 
for example, mobile safety education trailers and model homes that are 
not usable for habitation or commercial purposes; curriculum materials 
and appropriate supplies; CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training 
tools; fire extinguisher training tools; and media equipment.
     The criteria development committee included formal 
physical fitness equipment and programs as a high priority and 
prerequisite (along with physicals and immunizations) for any other 
wellness and fitness funding. DHS disagrees that federal funding of 
exercise equipment should be a prerequisite for other wellness and 
fitness activities and placing a high priority on federal funding of 
exercise equipment over-emphasizes exercise in relation to physicals 
and immunizations. Therefore, DHS includes this activity as a lower 
priority.
     The criteria development committee recommended that the 
eligible activities under modifications to facilities be expanded to 
include storm doors and storm windows. While DHS appreciates the 
recommendation to mitigate losses from certain natural disasters, DHS 
determined that the previously eligible activities were sufficient. 
Specifically, under modifications to facilities, DHS will only fund: 
(1) Installation of sprinkler systems; (2) vehicle exhaust extraction 
systems; (3) smoke and fire alarm notification systems; and (4) 
emergency facility generators.
     DHS also made several minor modifications to the automated 
scoring matrix meant to correct unintended inconsistencies between the 
recommendations provided by the panel and DHS' interpretation of the 
intent of the recommendations.
    In making these modifications, DHS looks to the broader 
Administration priorities established in Homeland Security Presidential 
Directive 8 (HSPD

[[Page 13293]]

8), 39 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs. 1822 (Dec. 17, 2003). DHS is mindful of 
some differences between the AFG statutory mandates and HSPD-8 
priorities, such as the statutory requirement that DHS make AFG grants 
directly to fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations, as 
contrasted with the HSPD-8 preference for funding through the States. 
However, the AFG is consistent with the National Preparedness Goal 
called for by HSPD-8 by prioritizing investments based upon the 
assessment of an applicant's need and capabilities to effectively 
prepare for and respond to all hazards, including terrorism threats, 
and a consideration of the characteristics of the community served 
(e.g. presence of critical infrastructure, population served, call 
volume) to the extent permitted by law. To the extent practical, AFG 
has attempted to harmonize the directions from the President and the 
Secretary with the requirements and limitations of the authorization 
and the structure of the fire service. Federal funding of assets 
devoted to basic firefighting should complement all aspects of 
responding to the more complex chemical/biological/radiological/
nuclear/-explosive (CBRNE) threat.

Review Considerations

Fire Department Priorities

    Specific rating criteria for each of the eligible programs and 
activities are discussed below. The funding priorities described in 
this Notice have been recommended by a panel of representatives from 
the Nation's fire service leadership and have been accepted by DHS for 
the purposes of implementing the AFG. These rating criteria provide an 
understanding of the grant program's priorities and the expected cost-
effectiveness of any proposed project(s). The activities listed below 
are in no particular order of priority. Within each activity, DHS will 
consider the number of people served by the applicant with higher 
populations afforded more consideration than lower populations. DHS 
will further explain program priorities in Program Guidance to be 
published separately.
    (1) Operations and Firefighter Safety Program.
    (i) Training Activities. In implementing the fire service's 
recommendations, DHS has determined that the most benefit will be 
derived from instructor-led, hands-on training that leads to a 
nationally-sanctioned or State certification. Training requests that 
include Web-based home study or distance learning or the purchase of 
training materials, equipment, or props are a lower priority. 
Therefore, applications focused on national or State certification 
training, including train-the-trainer initiatives, will receive a 
higher competitive rating. Training that (1) Involves instructors, (2) 
requires the students to demonstrate their grasp of knowledge of the 
training material via testing, and (3) is integral to a certification 
will receive a high competitive rating. Instructor-led training that 
does not lead to a certification, and any self-taught courses, are of 
lower benefit, and therefore will not receive a high priority.
    DHS will give higher priority, within the limitations imposed by 
the authorizing statutes, to training proposals which improve 
coordination capabilities across disciplines (Fire, EMS, and Police), 
and jurisdictions (local, State, and Federal). Training related to 
coordinated incident response (i.e. bomb threat or IED response), 
tactical emergency communications procedures, or similar types of 
inter-disciplinary, inter-jurisdictional training will receive the 
highest competitive rating.
    Due to the inherent differences between urban, suburban, and rural 
firefighting characteristics, DHS has accepted the recommendations of 
the criteria development panel for different priorities in the training 
activities of departments that service these different types of 
communities. CBRNE awareness training has a high benefit, however, and 
will receive the highest consideration regardless of the type of 
community served and regardless of the absence of any national 
standard.
    For fire departments serving rural communities, DHS has determined 
that funding basic, operational-level firefighting, operational-level 
rescue, driver training, and first-responder EMS, EMT-B, and EMT-I 
training (i.e., training in basic firefighting, EMS, and rescue duties) 
has greater benefit than funding officer training, safety officer 
training, or incident-command training. In rural communities, after 
basic training, there is a greater cost-benefit ratio for officer 
training than for other specialized types of training such as mass 
casualty, HazMat, advance rescue and EMT-P, or inspector training.
    Conversely, for departments that are serving urban or suburban 
communities, DHS has determined that, due to the number of firefighters 
and the relatively-high population protected, any training requests 
will receive a high priority rating regardless of the level of training 
requested. As such, when considering applications for training from 
departments serving urban and suburban communities, DHS will give 
higher priority to training proposals which improve coordination 
capabilities across first-responder disciplines (fire, EMS, and law 
enforcement), and jurisdictions (local, State, and Federal). Training 
related to coordinated incident response (e.g., weapons of mass 
destruction (WMD) awareness and incident operations, chemical or 
biological operations, or bomb threats), tactical emergency 
communications procedures, or similar types of inter-disciplinary, 
inter-jurisdictional training will receive the highest competitive 
rating.
    (ii) Wellness and Fitness Activities. In implementing the criteria 
panel's recommendations, DHS has determined that fire departments must 
offer periodic health screenings, entry physical examinations, and an 
immunization program to have an effective wellness/fitness program. 
Accordingly, applicants for grants in this category must currently 
offer or plan to offer with grant funds all three benefits to receive 
funding for any other initiatives in this activity. After entry-level 
physicals, annual physicals, and immunizations, DHS will give priority 
to formal fitness and injury prevention programs. DHS will give lower 
priority to stress management, injury/illness rehabilitation, and 
employee assistance.
    DHS has determined the greatest relative benefit will be realized 
by supporting new wellness and fitness programs. Therefore, applicants 
for new wellness/fitness programs will receive higher competitive 
ratings when compared with applicants whose wellness/fitness programs 
lack one or more of the three top priority items cited above, and 
applicants that already employ the requisite three activities of a 
wellness/fitness program. Finally, because participation is critical to 
achieving any benefits from a wellness or fitness program, applications 
that mandate or provide incentives for participation will receive 
higher competitive ratings.
    (iii) Equipment Acquisition. As stated in the AFG authorization 
statute, DHS administers this grant program to protect the health and 
safety of firefighters and the public from fire and fire-related 
hazards. As such, equipment that has a direct effect on the health and 
safety of either firefighters or the public will receive a higher 
competitive rating than equipment that has no such effect. Equipment 
that promotes interoperability with neighboring jurisdictions 
(especially for communications equipment

[[Page 13294]]

interoperable with a regional shared system) will receive additional 
consideration in the cost-benefit assessment if the application makes 
it into the competitive range.
    The criteria development panel concluded that this grant program 
will achieve the greatest benefits if the grant program provides funds 
to purchase firefighting equipment (including rescue, EMS, and/or CBRNE 
preparedness) that the applicant has not owned prior to the grant, or 
to replace used or obsolete equipment.
    For the 2007 program year, the criteria development panel has 
recommended that DHS make a distinction between ``new missions'' and 
``new risks.'' According to the panel, a department takes on a new 
mission when it expands its services into areas not previously offered, 
such as a fire department seeking funding to provide emergency medical 
services for the first time. A ``new risk'' presents itself when a 
department must address risks that have materialized in the 
department's area of responsibility, for example, the construction of a 
plant that uses significant levels of certain chemicals could 
constitute a ``new risk.'' An organization taking on ``new risks'' 
should be afforded higher consideration than departments taking on a 
``new mission.'' New missions receive a lower priority due to the 
potential that an applicant will not be able to financially support and 
sustain the new mission beyond the period of the grant. However, 
applicants can mitigate the impact of ``New Missions'' on the 
competitiveness of their application by providing evidence that the 
department will be able to support and sustain the new mission beyond 
the period of grant.
    Departments responding to high call volumes will be afforded a 
higher competitive rating than departments responding to lower call 
volumes. In other words, those departments that are required to respond 
more frequently will receive a higher competitive rating then those 
that respond less frequently.
    The purchase of equipment that brings the department into statutory 
or regulatory compliance will provide the highest benefit and therefore 
will receive the highest consideration. The purchase of equipment that 
brings a department into voluntary compliance with national standards 
will also receive a high competitive rating, but not as high as for the 
purchase of equipment that brings a department into statutory 
compliance. The purchase of equipment that does not affect statutory 
compliance or voluntary compliance with a national standard will 
receive a lower competitive rating.
    (iv) Personal Protective Equipment Acquisition. To achieve the 
Program's goals and maximize the benefit to the firefighting community, 
DHS believes that it must fund those applicants needing to provide 
personal protective equipment (PPE) to a high percentage of their 
personnel. Accordingly, DHS will assign a higher competitive rating in 
this category to fire departments where a larger number of active 
firefighting staff is without compliant PPE. DHS will assign a high 
competitive rating to departments that will purchase the equipment for 
the first time as opposed to departments replacing obsolete or 
substandard equipment (e.g., equipment that does not meet current NFPA 
and OSHA standards). For those departments that are replacing obsolete 
or substandard equipment, DHS will factor the age and condition of the 
equipment to be replaced into the score with a higher priority given to 
replacing old, damaged, torn, and/or contaminated equipment.
    DHS will only consider funding applications for personal alert 
safety system (PASS) devices that meet current national safety 
standards, i.e., integrated and/or automatic or automatic-on PASS. 
Finally, DHS takes into account the number of fire response calls that 
a department makes in a year with the higher priority going to 
departments with higher call volumes, while applications from 
departments with low call volumes are afforded lower competitive 
ratings.
    (v) Modifications to Fire Stations and Facilities. DHS believes 
that more benefit is derived from modifying fire stations than by 
modifying fire-training facilities or other fire-related facilities. 
The frequency of use has a bearing on the benefits derived from grant 
funds. As such, DHS will afford facilities occupied 24-hours-per-day/
seven-days-a-week the highest consideration when contrasted with 
facilities used on a part-time or irregular basis. Facilities open for 
broad usage and which have a high occupancy capacity receive a higher 
competitive rating than facilities that have limited use and/or low 
occupancy capacity. The frequency and duration of a facility's 
occupancy have a direct relationship to the benefits realized from 
funding in this activity.
    (2) Firefighting Vehicle Acquisition Program. Due to the inherent 
differences between urban, suburban, and rural firefighting 
conventions, DHS has developed different priorities in the vehicle 
program for departments that service different types of communities. 
The following chart delineates the priorities in this program area for 
each type of community. Due to the competitive nature of this program 
and the imposed limits of funding available for this program, it is 
unlikely that DHS will fund many vehicles not listed as a Priority One 
during the 2007 program year.

                                           Vehicle Program Priorities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Priority                    Urban communities       Suburban communities      Rural communities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Priority One........................  Pumper                    Pumper                   Pumper
                                      Aerial                    Aerial                   Brush/Attack
                                      Quint (Aerial < 76')      Quint (Aerial < 76')     Tanker/Tender
                                      Quint (Aerial 76' or >)   Quint (Aerial 76' or >)  Quint (Aerial < 76')
                                      Rescue                    Brush/Attack
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Priority Two........................  Command                   Command                  HazMat
                                      HazMat                    HazMat                   Rescue
                                      Light/Air                 Rescue                   Light/Air
                                      Rehab                     Tanker/Tender            Aerial
                                      ........................  .......................  Quint (Aerial 76' or >)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Priority Three......................  Foam Truck                Foam Truck               Foam Truck
                                      ARFFV                     ARFFV                    ARFFV
                                      Brush/Attack              Rehab                    Rehab
                                      Tanker/Tender             Light/Air                Command
                                      Ambulance                 Ambulance                Ambulance

[[Page 13295]]

 
                                      Fire Boat                 Fire Boat                Fire Boat
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DHS will evaluate the marginal value derived from an additional 
vehicle of any given type on the basis of call volume. As a result, 
departments with fewer vehicles of a given type than other departments 
who service comparable call volumes are more likely to score 
competitively than departments with more vehicles of that type and 
comparable call volume unless the need for an additional vehicle of 
such type is made apparent in the application.
    In 2007, applicants may submit requests for more than one vehicle. 
Applicants must supply sufficient justification for each vehicle 
contained in the request. For those applications with multiple 
vehicles, the panelists will be instructed to evaluate the marginal 
benefit to be derived from funding the additional vehicle(s) given the 
potential use and the population protected. DHS anticipates that the 
panels will only recommend an award for a multiple-vehicles application 
when the cost-benefit justification is adequately compelling.
    DHS believes that a greater benefit will be derived from funding an 
additional vehicle(s) to departments that own fewer or no vehicles of 
the type requested. As such, DHS assigns a higher competitive rating in 
the apparatus category to fire departments that own fewer firefighting 
vehicles relative to other departments serving similar types of 
communities (i.e., urban, suburban and rural). DHS assesses all 
vehicles with similar functions when assessing the number of vehicles a 
department possesses within a particular type. For example, the 
``pumper'' category includes: pumpers, engines, pumper/tankers 
(apparatus that carries a minimum of 300 gallons of water and has a 
pump with a capacity to pump a minimum of 750 gallons per minute), 
rescue-pumpers, quints (with aerials less than 76 feet in length), and 
urban interface vehicles (Type I). Apparatus that has water capacity in 
excess of 1,000 gallons and a pump with pumping capacity of less than 
750 gallons per minute are considered to be a tanker/tender.
    DHS assigns a higher competitive rating to departments possessing 
an aged fleet of firefighting vehicles. DHS will also assign a higher 
competitive rating to departments that respond to a high volume of 
incidents.
    DHS will give lower priority to funding departments seeking 
apparatus with the goal to expand into new mission areas unless the 
applicant demonstrates that they will be able to support and sustain 
the new mission or service area beyond the grant program.
    DHS will assign no competitive advantage to the purchase of 
standard model commercial vehicles relative to custom vehicles, or the 
purchase of used vehicles relative to new vehicles in the preliminary 
evaluation of applications. DHS has noted that, depending on the type 
and size of department, the peer review panelists often prefer low-cost 
vehicles when evaluating the cost-benefit section of the project 
narratives. DHS also reserves the right to consider current vehicle 
costs within the fire service vehicle manufacturing industry when 
determining the level of funding that will be offered to the potential 
grantee, particularly if those current costs indicate that the 
applicant's proposed purchase costs are excessive.
    DHS will allow departments serving urban or suburban communities to 
apply for more than one vehicle. DHS, however, will allow departments 
serving rural communities to apply for only one vehicle. DHS will limit 
applications from suburban or urban departments to one vehicle per 
station as well as by the statutory funding limits. DHS will not limit 
applications because of a vehicle award from previous AFG program 
years, i.e., previous vehicle awardees are eligible for funding for 
additional vehicles in 2007.
    (3) Administrative Costs. Panelists will assess the reasonability 
of the administrative costs requested in any application and determine 
if the request is reasonable and in the best interest of the program.

Nonaffiliated EMS Organization Priorities

    DHS may make grants for the purpose of enhancing the provision of 
emergency medical services by nonaffiliated EMS organizations. The 
authorizing statute limits funding for these organizations to no more 
than two percent of the appropriated amount. DHS has determined that it 
is more cost-effective to enhance or expand an existing emergency 
medical service organization by providing training and/or equipment 
than to create a new service. Communities that do not currently offer 
emergency medical services but are turning to this grant program to 
initiate such a service received the lowest competitive rating. DHS 
does not believe creating a nonaffiliated EMS program is a substantial 
and sufficient benefit under the program.
    Specific rating criteria and priorities for each of the grant 
categories are provided below following the descriptions of this year's 
eligible programs. The rating criteria, in conjunction with the program 
description, provide an understanding of the evaluation standards. In 
each activity, the amount of the population served by the applicant 
will be taken into consideration with higher populations afforded more 
consideration than low populations served. DHS will further explain 
program priorities in the Program Guidance upon publication thereof.
    (1) EMS Operations and Safety Program.
    Five different activities may be funded under this program area: 
EMS training, EMS equipment, EMS personal protective equipment, 
wellness and fitness, and modifications to facilities. Requests for 
equipment and training to prepare for response to incidents involving 
CBRNE were available under the applicable equipment and training 
activities.
    (i) Training Activities. DHS believes that upgrading a service that 
currently meets a basic life support capacity to a higher level of life 
support creates the most benefit. Therefore, DHS will give a higher 
competitive rating to nonaffiliated EMS organizations that seek to 
upgrade from first responder to EMT-B level. Because training is a pre-
requisite to the effective use of EMS equipment, organizations with 
requests more focused on training activities received a higher 
competitive rating than organizations whose request is more focused on 
equipment. The second priority is to elevate emergency responders' 
capabilities from EMT-B to EMT-I or higher.
    (ii) EMS Equipment Acquisition. As noted above, training received a 
higher competitive rating than equipment. Applications seeking 
assistance to purchase equipment to support the EMT-B level of service 
received a higher priority than requests seeking assistance

[[Page 13296]]

to purchase equipment to support advance level EMS services. Items that 
are eligible but a lower priority include tents, shelters, generators, 
lights, and heating and cooling units. Firefighting equipment is not 
eligible under this activity.
    As discussed previously, organizations taking on ``new risks'' will 
be afforded much higher consideration than an organization taking on a 
``new mission.''
    (iii) EMS Personal Protective Equipment. DHS gave the same 
priorities for EMS PPE as it did for fire department PPE discussed 
above. Acquisition of PASS devices or any firefighting PPE is not 
eligible, however, for funding for EMS organizations.
    (iv) Wellness and Fitness Activities. DHS believes that to have an 
effective wellness/fitness program, nonaffiliated EMS organizations 
must offer periodic health screenings, entry physical examinations, and 
an immunization program similar to the programs for fire departments 
discussed previously. Accordingly, applicants for grants in this 
category must currently offer or plan to offer with grant funds all 
three benefits (periodic health screenings, entry physical 
examinations, and an immunization program) to receive funding for any 
other initiatives in this activity. The priorities for EMS wellness/
fitness programs are the same as for fire departments as discussed 
above.
    (v) Modification to EMS Stations and Facilities. DHS believes that 
the competitive rankings and priorities applied to modification of fire 
stations and facilities, discussed above, apply equally to EMS stations 
and facilities.
    (2) EMS Vehicle Acquisition Program.
    DHS gave the highest funding priority to acquisition of ambulances 
and transport vehicles due to the inherent benefits to the community 
and EMS service provider. Due to the costs associated with obtaining 
and outfitting non-transport rescue vehicles relative to the benefits 
derived from such vehicles, DHS will give non-transport rescue vehicles 
a lower competitive rating than transport vehicles. Vehicles that have 
a very narrow function, such as aircraft, boats, and all-terrain 
vehicles, received the lowest competitive rating. DHS anticipates that 
the EMS vehicle awards will be very competitive due to very limited 
available funding. Accordingly, DHS will likely only fund vehicles that 
are listed as a ``Priority One'' in the 2007 program year.
    The following chart delineates the priorities in this program area 
for EMS vehicle program. The priorities are the same regardless of the 
type of community served.

                                             EMS Vehicle Priorities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Priority one                          Priority two                         Priority three
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Ambulance or transport unit   First responder non-          Helicopters/planes.
 to support EMT-B needs and            transport vehicles                    Command vehicles.
 functions                             Special operations vehicles   Rescue boats (over 13 feet
                                                                             in length).
                                                                             Hovercraft.
                                                                             Other special access
                                                                             vehicles.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Along with the priorities illustrated above, DHS has accepted the 
fire service recommendation that emerged from the criteria development 
process that funding applicants that own few or no vehicles of the type 
sought will be more beneficial than funding applicants that own 
numerous vehicles of that same type. DHS assesses the number of 
vehicles an applicant owns by including all vehicles of the same type. 
For example, transport vehicles will be considered the same as 
ambulances. DHS will give a higher competitive rating to applicants 
that have an aged fleet of emergency vehicles, and to applicants with 
old, high-mileage vehicles. DHS will give a higher competitive rating 
to applicants that respond to a significant number of incidents 
relative to applicants responding less often. Finally, DHS will afford 
applicants with transport vehicles with high mileage more consideration 
than applicants with vehicles that driven extensively.
    (3) Administrative Costs. Panelists assess the reasonableness of 
the administrative costs requested in each application and determined 
whether the request will be reasonable and in the best interest of the 
program.

    Dated: March 16, 2007.
George W. Foresman,
Under Secretary for Preparedness.
[FR Doc. 07-1380 Filed 3-16-07; 12:58 pm]
BILLING CODE 4410-10-P