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SAFER Narrative Tips


Sarah Wilson Grants 101
by Sarah Wilson

By Sarah Wilson

We've broken down the narrative requirements for both the hiring of firefighters as well as recruiting and retention activities based on the 2009 SAFER Guidance to help you prepare the written portion of your application. You will want to address each of these areas in your narrative section. Remember, your narrative is probably in front of each peer reviewer for no more than 15 minutes. If you are going to be successful, your narrative needs to be clear, complete and concise in addressing the guidance document's outlined elements.

Competing for grant dollars in the current economic climate is both an opportunity and a challenge. The narrative is the most important component that can make or break a successful grant application.

Elements of the Narrative Statement for Hiring of Firefighters Activity

1. Project Description 
     a.   Introduce your department
     b.   Who you are (name, state, type of department)
     c.    Describe what your department applicant needs the grant funds for (i.e., how newly hired firefighters will be used within the department, and a description of the specific benefit these firefighters will provide for the fire department and community)
     d.    If you are rehiring laid-off firefighters, the narrative should explain when they were laid off and how the layoffs have affected the service to the community

2. Daily Operations 
     a.    How would receiving the grant affect your organization's daily operations?
     b.    How would it improve your organization's ability to protect lives and property?
     c.    What basic services will improve if this request is funded?
     d.    How will your department's tactical operations improve if you are funded?
     e.    How will your firefighters' safety be improved by this award and to what extent?
     f.     Explain how the community and current firefighters are at risk without the requested firefighters, and to what extent that risk will be reduced if the applicant is awarded

3. Financial Need
     a.    Demographics of the community
     b.    Budget details (income, sources, total expenses, detail, total balance)
     c.    Explain your department's inability to address the need without federal assistance

4. Minority Recruitment
     a.    Describe your department's efforts to ensure, to the extent possible, that you will seek, recruit and hire members of racial and ethnic minority groups and women to increase their ranks within the department

5. Financial Obligation
     a.    Include plans to retain the new firefighter positions

6. Volunteer Discrimination
     a.    Explain how the applicant plans to meet the requirement ensuring firefighters in positions filled under SAFER Grants are neither prohibited from nor discriminated against for engaging in volunteer activities in another jurisdiction during off-duty hours

Elements of the Narrative Statement for Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters Activity

1. Project Description:
     a.    Introduce your department
     b.    Who you are (name, state, type of department)
     c.    How the recruitment of new volunteer firefighters and/or retention of current volunteer firefighters will impact your department's or organization's identified operational needs or capabilities
     d.    Describe the specific benefit these firefighters will provide for the fire department(s) or community
     e.    Describe the recruitment and/or retention problems or issues the department has identified
     f.     How the activities being requested will address those identified needs
     g.    Provide specifics about the recruitment and/or retention plan
     h.    What specific benefit the efforts would provide the surrounding community or communities
     i.     Specify which of the activities are for the regional request and which activities are exclusive to the host applicant, if applicable

2. Impact on Daily Operations
     a.    How would receiving the grant affect your organization's daily operations 
     b.    How would it improve your organization's ability to protect lives and property
     c.    What basic services will improve if this request is funded?
     d.    How will your department's tactical operations improve if you are funded?
     e.    How will your firefighters' safety be improved by this award and to what extent?
     f.     Explain how the community and current firefighters (or geographic area of concern for an eligible organization) are at risk without the requested firefighters, and to what extent that risk will be reduced if the applicant is awarded

3. Financial Need
     a.    Demographics of the community
     b.    Budget details (income, sources, total expenses, detail, total balance)
     c.    Explain your department's inability to address the need without federal assistance

4. Minority Recruitment
     a.    Describe your department's efforts to ensure, to the extent possible, that you will seek, recruit and hire members of racial and ethnic minority groups and women to increase their ranks within the department

If you need additional help with grant writing or grant review, fill out this form and our team of experts will be happy to help.



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