Congressman Brian Higgins announced the application window for grants provided through the Department of Homeland Security Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Services (SAFER) program is now open. SAFER grants are aimed at helping fire departments increase or maintain the number of trained firefighters available in their communities and enhancing a department’s ability to comply with federal standards that ensure that communities have adequate protection from fire and hazards. This year Congress appropriated approximately $321 million for the SAFER program.  The applications and program guidance document for FY2013 SAFER grants is available on the Department of Homeland Security website for the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) program at: www.fema.gov/firegrants. Also, the “Get ready Guides” and additional tools are available at www.fema.gov/staffing-adequate-fire-emergency-response-grants. The application period will close on Friday, August 30, 2013 at 5:00pm EST. Applicants with questions should contact the AFG Program Help Desk at 866-274-0960. The Help Desk is staffed between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday; and until 5:00 p.m. EST on August 30, 2013.  Questions may also be faxed to 866-274-0942 or e-mailed to FireGrants@dhs.gov. In July Congressman Higgins hosted a Fire Grant Workshop to provide local departments with information on federal fire grant programs.  For more information or assistance feel free to contact Congressman Higgins’ office at 716-852-3501.