Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Comment on 2009 FEMA Communications Grant Awards

We recently received a request to bid on non-P25 compliant communications equipment by a fire department that had received an Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) award. Apparently, the department had been assisted by a representative of a local economic development agency. While we commend the efforts of such agencies, we are obligated to note that in many instances they are not properly informed on the conditions of FEMA Fire Grants.

If you have been awarded funding as a result of an application under the 2009 AFG program, you should know that no third party is responsible for your requirement to meet the applicable guidelines. Before you take the advice of any third party, you should insist that the individual providing such information (a) has the authority to give such information, (b) they can provide written documentation certifying the advice given, or (c) they guarantee assumption, in writing, of your liability if they are wrong. Better yet, contact a FEMA representative and request a written confirmation of any advice given.

In the meantime, it is important for you to know that your submission of a grant application certifies that you are in compliance with the published guidance relating to the applicable grant period. Ignorance, opinions of others, or self will don't count for anything! An excerpt from the 2009 Guidance is available at Do yourself a favor and review this information before purchasing communications equipment using 2009 AFG funds.

This guidance does not exclude applications that will lead to enhanced interoperability or one demonstrating SAFETY as an overriding consideration. Otherwise, the applicant certifies his or her knowledge of the published guidance when the application is submitted. If the application is for radios and it does not clearly indicate enhanced interoperability or safety through the use of alternate technology, the application will be assumed to be P25 compliant.

The spending of 2009 award money for non-P25 equipment could place the applicant at risk to lose or return FEMA funding, not to mention potential additional penalties. If you would like to review some of the alternatives available in P25 technology, drop us an email to or give us a call at 205.854.2611. Our job is helping you make the RIGHT decision!