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DOES YOUR DEPARTMENT QUALIFY FOR THE
FIREFIGHTERS GRANT PROGRAM?

Each year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides hundreds of millions in grants to help fire departments better protect their firefighters and the greater public. Hundreds of fire departments each year receive funding for new laundry equipment – essential for decontaminating protective gear. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program assists rural, urban and suburban fire departments throughout the United States. Funds are used by the nation's firefighters to increase the effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs, new fire apparatus, emergency medical service programs and fire prevention and safety programs. To find out more about the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program visit https://www.fema.gov/assistance-firefighters-grant#.

WHY DO WASHER-EXTRACTORS QUALIFY FOR GRANT DOLLARS?

  • NFPA recommends fire departments clean dirty gear after exposure to fire, body fluids or hazardous materials.
  • NFPA prohibits against cleaning gear in home or public laundries.
  • Soiled gear can expose firefighters and those they serve to carcinogens, flammables, poisons and biohazards.
  • According to NFPA, soiled gear reflects less radiant heat and is more likely to ignite and conduct electricity.

WHY DO GEAR DRYERS QUALIFY FOR GRANT DOLLARS?

  • Wet gear is dangerous because it can cause steam burns
  • NFPA recommends fire departments dry gear using forced ambient air
  • NFPA recommends to avoid using a mechanical style tumble dryer
  • According to NFPA, storage of wet or moist ensembles promotes growth of mildew and bacteria, which can lead to health concerns and weaken gear.
  • Proper drying of gear will help extend the life of the gear

THE BOTTOM LINE....

  • Proper decontamination and drying of protective gear improves firefighter health and safety and is key to reducing risk to firefighters.
  • Proper decontamination and drying of protective gear increases the effectiveness of firefighting and emergency response operations.

SHOULD I WRITE MY OWN GRANT OR HIRE AN OUTSIDE SOURCE?

Writing a winning grant application can be done in house, however it does take time and commitment to get it done right. You might consider using an outside source if:

  • You simply do not have the time needed to devote to the proper writing of a grant application.
  • You have not had success with previous submissions. A writer may be able to identify and correct the reasons your application was rejected by reviewing and making suggestions. This review needs to be done before you submit.


When choosing a grant writer for AFG make sure they are versed in the fire service and the current program guidance. Your application should be “firefighter to firefighter,” since that is who is doing your final review. Also note that typically when you are awarded an AFG grant, all or a portion of the grant writer fees can be reimbursed as part of the grant.

For assistance in writing your grant, contact Equipment Marketers. 

DON’TS – MISTAKES FIRE DEPARTMENTS MAKE WHEN SPECIFYING LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT

  • Do not mention a particular manufacturer or brand in your grant application or narrative. Instead the grant application should be for “a commercial washer-extractor that meets NFPA recommendations.”
  • Do not ask for less than you need because you don’t want to be “greedy.” In the past AFG has paid for not only your washer extractor but also for some minor station modifications associated with your project: water supplies, waste plumbing, electrical, etc.

DO’S – THINGS TO INCLUDE WHEN SPECIFYING LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT

  • Do specify laundry equipment in your grant if you are also specifying new gear – this will demonstrate that you intend to properly care for your investment. If you have received a gear award in the past, mention the fact you are thankful and want to protect AFG’s investment.
  • Include the following laundry equipment specifications:
  1. Unit shall be equipped with a microprocessor control allowing adjustment of wash/rinse temperatures, water levels, variable rotation options, and programmable extract speeds which may be customized to adapt to specific turnout gear cleaning/decontamination requirements recommended by the NFPA.
  2. Unit shall be programmable to fill without tumble action to protect reflective tape on turnout gear allowing for optimum longevity of garments.
  3. Unit shall provide chemical injection connections for automatic dispensing of liquid chemicals. Automatic injection eliminates operator error by controlling the amount of detergents used – creating consistency in every wash.
  4. Unit shall be equipped with cycle lockout capability to ensure that only the proper cycles programmed for fire department gear and linen are used.