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FY 2012 FP&S Grant: Write a better narrative with these tips

FP&S Grant logoYou can write a better narrative with these tips taken directly from the FY 2012 FP&S Grant guidance.

The FP&S Grant Application Period opens Monday, December 17, 2012.

In previous posts about the FP&S Grant, I have shared valuable information. This concentrates mainly on what you should do or should say as well as some general information. I can’t guarantee that these tips will get your application accepted. After all, I’m not and haven’t been on the peer review board, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know what may or may not increase your chances.

An example is the Aspen, CO Fire Department. They applied for a SCOTTY Fire Safety House several years in a row, but weren’t successful. They had a hunch they were denied because of Aspen’s affluent reputation. I suggested they add to the narrative that although Aspen is an affluent area, the fire department was like every other fire department with needs. Wouldn’t you know, they were awarded the funds.

FY 2012 FP&S grant: Write a better narrative with these tips

I’ve read and re-read the annoucement. Because my products are eligible for the Fire Prevention and Safety Activity, that is from where I draw my information. I didn’t notice any major changes, but I did see some things that caught my attention.

Risk Assessment: You must conduct one.

The FP&S Grant Announcement (pg. 19) specifically states “Applicants may request assistance to conduct formal or informal Risk Assessments of their target audience vulnerabilities with respect to fire. Note: Applications that request a Risk Assessment are precluded from applying for additional projects.”

Additionally, page 26 states ” The assessment of fire risk is essential in the development of an effective project goal, as well as meeting FEMA’s goal of the conduct of risk analysis as a basis for action.”

As a side note, the hand-held student response devices in our InterPlay HQ can be used for pre/post testing of participants. These results afford you continued risk assessment as well as proof of an “Evaluation Plan.” How well your safety messages are being understood and retained is valuable information.

Priority Status: Does your project meet them?

The priority in the General Education/Awareness categories has shifted more to the smoke alarm installation and home safety inspections while providing education.

Note from FP&S grant announcement (page 18)- “FEMA, through its FP&S Grants, promotes the use of long-life alarms/batteries. Dual sensor (photoelectric/ionization) smoke alarms are also recommended.”

We’ve added Door-to-door installation/inspection trailers to our line of fire prevention trailers. You should consider the points below when choosing a product for the grant in the general education/awareness category. If your comprehensive fire safety campaign doesn’t hit these points, it is probably safe to say you won’t be considered.

If you are planning to apply for one of our Fire Safety Houses or Sprinkler Demonstation Trailers, it should be incorporated into a comprehensive public education project. It functions as mobile classrooms for a variety of topics that meet the priorities.

Vulnerability Statement: When and how to write one.

I’ve had some experience in generating problem statements, or vulnerability statements, and have found it easier to complete the statement after I’ve already done the narrative. I suggest reviewing instructions and tips on how to do it. I’ve worked with Sarah Wilson at firegrantshelp.com in the past and know her work to be reliable. She has a great article published on creating a problem statement.

Additional considerations: Who should you target?

If you also pay special attention to deaf/hard-of-hearing alarm installations you’ll be given additional consideration.

Quotes for our fire prevention trailers will include 5 cases of long life smoke alarm/battery dual sensor (photoelectric/inonization) smoke alarms AND 2 cases of deaf/hard-of-hearing alarms.

Red flags: Watch out for immediate disqualifiers.

If you include a request for an item that is specifically outlined as non-eligible, you won’t make it past the initial review. In relation to fire safety house trailers, you can’t request funds for a fire safety house trailer that includes a command room. Nor can you ask for funds for a tow vehicle valued more than $6,000.00 in FY2012.

Additionally, you must complete the entire online application process before the time deadline. You cannot start your online application by that time and finish at a later time. The entire application must be finished and submitted by the close time.

Assistance: What we CAN do.

If you are planning to purchase a fire safety house, contact us for a list of customers in your state whom have had success with the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant. We cannot write or review your application or narrative. You may want to to hire a professional grant writer. Those fees can be included in the amount of assistance you are requesting. However, read page11-No.8 in the FP&S Grant Announcement for instructions.

Good luck with your application. If you have any questions about one of our fire prevention trailers, please email us or call 1-800-783-0213.

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