Sen. Carper Encourages Assistance to Firefighters Grant Applicants to Prepare Bid Specifications Early

GEORGETOWN, Del. – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, encouraged Delaware applicants to the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program to prepare their bid specifications now in anticipation of upcoming grant award distribution. Recipients of the grants will be announced throughout the month of September and continue through the fall until all available funds have been appropriated. While the application period has ended, potential recipients should prepare their bid specifications as soon as possible to ensure projects are completed within the necessary time period. The grant, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides funding for projects designed to enhance the safety of firefighters and the public. The primary goal is to target high-risk populations and reduce injury and prevent death.

“Our nation’s firefighters and emergency services operators routinely risk their lives to protect the American people,” said Sen. Carper. “For this reason, it is paramount that we provide them with the necessary tools and resources to effectively and safely fulfill their duties. FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program will ensure that necessary funding is provided to the fire departments and personnel that need it most.”

All specifications must comply with the following procedures:

1.Start to draft a bid solicitation that encourages competition by not using proprietary vendor specifications. By avoiding the use of proprietary vendor specifications, you encourage competition, which may decrease your overall costs. For example, you can request bids for a new pumper and specify that it have an “independent front suspension.” But specifying that the pumper have a particular name-brand independent front suspension would be a proprietary specification that would limit competition to those vendors that build trucks containing those particular items.

2.Avoid any real or apparent conflicts of interest in your procurements. Remember that no employee, officer, or agent of your organization, who has a real or even apparent conflict of interest (potential for personal gain), may participate in the selection of the contractor or vendor that will supply the grant-funded items or services. They cannot accept gifts, favors, or anything of monetary value from potential contractors.

3.Maintain written procurement procedures. Become familiar with and keep on file the written procurement procedures and standards for your organization. If you are unsure, check with your local or state government for procedures. All grantees must have procurement procedures that follow local or state procurement procedures AND meet Federal procurement law as outlined in 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 13.36.

4.Have a record system set up for the grant. Make sure that you have system established that will maintain your grant records accurately and securely while still being accessible. All Federal awards are subject to a possible audit or desk review.

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