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Fire-Adapted Communities: The Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire Program (CPAW)

Along with their devastating physical and psychological toll, the price tag for fighting wildfires keeps increasing. According to Headwater Economics, since 2002, the cost of federal wildfire protection and suppression has tripled to more than $3 billion per year. A separate federal report found that 44 million U.S. homes are in the "wildland-urban interface" or the vulnerable place where development intersects with fire-prone wilderness areas. As growth continues to expand past the edge of town in so many places, there is a strong proactive push to safeguard lives and property. The Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) Program is one resource to help municipal officials reduce the risk of wildfire hazards from the start through improved land use planning.

Service Grants in Memory of 9/11

To commemorate the sixteenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, we bring you two programs inspired by this national tragedy that encourage service to others as a way to remember the occasion.

Fire Department  Grants for Equipment and More: The Leary Foundation

On December 3, 1999, six firefighters from the Worcester Massachusetts fire department, known as the Worcester 6, lost their lives in an intense warehouse blaze.  Actor/comedian Denis Leary lost his first cousin Jeremiah Lucey and childhood friend Lt. Thomas Spencer in that fire. Moved by this tragedy, he created the The Leary Firefighters Foundation in the spring of 2000 to make sure fire personnel had the best training and equipment possible. Since then, with the help of other foundations and corporate partners, it has provided over $10 million for the brethren of the Worcester 6. While the Jeremiah Lucey Grant Program initially served paid departments in New York, Massachusetts, and Detroit, it has recently extended its scope of funding to both paid and volunteer departments in other areas of the country.

Fire Prevention and Safety Application Assistance from FEMA

Two children escaped their burning bedroom because they learned exactly what to do in a fire safety program at school. A first responder reversed the course of heart disease after health screenings revealed severe hypertension. A homeowner put new batteries in her smoke detector following a fire risk assessment, increasing the chances her home will survive a blaze. Unfortunately, prevention efforts rarely get major headlines. While tragedy after tragedy has grabbed our attention, there have been an untold number of happy endings because of the interventions made possible by FEMA's Fire Prevention and Safety Grants.

Foundation Funding for First Responders

Even though first responders do some of the most important and dangerous work in the country, funding is often insufficient to meet their needs. Budget shortfalls can be a constant challenge and departments must become creative in finding the resources they need simply to do their jobs. Here are four private foundations that assist public safety agencies with equipment, training and other support, listed in alphabetical order.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant FY 2016

The application period for the SAFER grant FY 2016 will open on January 9th and end on the 10th of February 2017. One of three major grants that FEMA makes available to fire departments, the SAFER grant helps both professional and volunteer organizations with staffing so they have enough trained personnel to meet their communities’ needs as established by the National Fire Protection Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This year, a total of $345 million in federal funding for SAFER will be available.

Overcoming Interoperability - The NIST Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program

Interoperability!. Chances are, it is a term we don’t think about too much.  It is defined as the ability of a system to work smoothly and reciprocally with the equipment in another system.  In  times of crisis, interoperability between  first responders is critical.  Unfortunately, in many areas of the country, emergency personnel do not have  access to the broadband and cutting edge technology that consumers do.  Congressman Donald Payne Jr., who serves as Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications, has asserted that enabling police, fire and medical services to use the same bandwidth in emergencies is among our biggest challenges.  Fortunately, there is a branch of The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the  Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR) whose purpose is to conduct research into overcoming obstacles to  interoperability among emergency systems.  They are currently offering the NIST Public Safety Innovation Acceleration Program to enhance the ability of public safety operations to protect the public through more sophisticated communication setups.


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