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Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program: Assessing Performance

In its fourth year of operation, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant program (AFG) sought to strengthen the response of fire and emergency medical services in communities across the nation.

This program awards grants directly to local fire departments to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public as well as firefighting personnel.

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Key Findings

The National Academy identified potential strategic new directions for the program and recommended ways to effectively plan and manage changes and measure accomplishments. The Academy Panel identified several new directions to improve AFG’s impact on public health and safety, including national preparedness for catastrophic events; prevention in addition to response; social equity to address needs of underserved communities; expanded regional cooperation; and a reevaluation of emergency medical services.


The recommendations should be viewed as the beginning rather than the end point of strategic planning. The report describes how the program can use a continuous planning, self-assessment, and evaluation process to constantly improve and multiply its effectiveness.