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Never Forget 343
Gave It All On



Narrative Tips

Narrative Statement

Application 90% complete

The program narrative should provide all the information necessary for you to justify your needs and for the program office to make an award decision. In the program narrative, please explain what your needs are and what you will be using the grant funds for. The program narrative must also demonstrate the financial need for the assistance and how the costs expended under this program will benefit the firefighters' and/or public's safety. A panel of your peers will review the narrative you provide as the major part of their evaluation of your entire grant application.

Please ensure that your narrative clearly addresses each of the following areas to the best of your ability. Follow the sequence and specifically address each of the following topics:

  • Project description: What you are requesting funding for, including budget descriptions of the major budget items, i.e., personnel, equipment, contracts, etc.?
  • Financial need: Why can’t this project be funded solely through local funding resources?
  • Cost/Benefit: What will be the benefits your department or your community will realize if the project described is funded? What would be the consequences if the project is not funded?
  • Statement of effect: How would this award affect the daily operations of your department and how would this award affect your department’s ability to protect lives and property in your community?

Your narrative should be detailed but concise. Your narrative may not exceed five pages of text. You may either type your project narrative in the space provided below or create the text in your word processing system and then copy it into the space provided below. Images and attachments are not allowed.

Note: Fields marked with an * are required. Press the Save and Continue button to save your work, even if you have not completed the Narrative.

Project Description
* Please indicate which of these Target Capabilities your request outlined in this application will satisfy. Check all that apply:
Responder Safety and Health
Firefighting Operations/Support
Hazardous Materials Response
Search and Rescue
Emergency Medical Services
* Please provide your narrative statement in the space provided below. Include in your narrative, details regarding (1) your project’s description and budget, (2) your organization’s financial need, (3) the benefit to be derived from the cost of your project, and (4) how the activities requested in your application will help your organization’s daily operations and how this grant will protect life and property.
Our system has determined that you are a Suburban community while you have entered that you are a Rural community. In addition to your narrative statement, please explain why you feel that you are a Rural community.

MFSN Editors Note: Do your best to answer these question and use these headers in your narrative.

25 % of Your Score


Project Description and Budget: What you are requesting funding for, including budget descriptions of the major budget items, i.e., personnel, equipment, contracts, etc.?

  • Who are you?
  • Where are you located?
  • What is your identified risk/problem?
  • What is your solution/remedy?
  • Explain how the users of each piece of equipment purchased with the grant either are, or will be, sufficiently trained to use the equipment. 
  • What laws and standards will be complied with?
  • Applicants who do not ensure their active firefighters are at NFPA 1001 or equivalent may not receive funding so explain it in detail.
  • How much will it cost? (you must show your detailed budget)
  • Why it is the best choice to solve the problem?

25 % of Your Score


Financial Need: Why can’t this project be funded solely through local funding resources?

Each year we see that financial need typically receives the lowest score of the four elements. Applicants do not seem to put as much effort into this aspect of their application.

  • Providing a description of how you have attempted to fund your needs previously will demonstrate a continuing need and financial shortfall.
  • Increases in responsibility and/or population that could affect finances.
  • Justify the need for outside assistance.
  • Specifically what is the root cause of your need for Federal financial assistance?
  • List what you have been able to fund and what you have not.
  • Briefly describe your income compared to your expenses to illustrate your current funding deficiencies.
  • List any strategies you have initiated to increase or maintain funding levels.
  • What are the future prospects for revenue income?
  • What services or operations can you not fund?


25 % of Your Score


Cost/Benefit: What will be the benefits your department or your community will realize if the project described is funded? What would be the consequences if the project is not funded?

  • Very expensive and infrequently used items generally earn low cost/benefit scores but could be justified based on the benefits that could be realized when used.
  • Divide the cost of the item by the number of citizens that will benefit over the lifetime of the equipment item.  ($1.52 per citizen)
  • Real examples describing the consequences of not funding your grant would be valuable.
  • Describe what will change as a result of funding your grant.
  • How will the impact of the grant be increased or leveraged (shared with other communities, agencies etc.)
  • How was cost of the grant controlled? Bids, seeking innovative solutions?
  • How often will the new resource be put to use?
  • Interoperability
  • Describe firefighter and citizen safety benefits if awarded.


25 % of Your Score


Statement of Effect: How would this award affect the daily operations of your department and how would this award affect your department’s ability to protect lives and property in your community?

  • How will tactical operations improve?
  • What basic services will improve (firefighting, EMS, extrication etc.)?
  • How will firefighters safety be effected and to what extent?
  • Asking for equipment that will be used on every alarm is good.  Equipment that will be used rarely is bad. 

For example, “Funding this training program will facilitate our ability to provide basic EMS care to the thirteen thousand citizens of our community by December 31, 2010.”


100 Points 


(perfect score)

If you get past the computer screening, Technical Evaluation Panels (TEPs) are provided guidelines to use when evaluating the following four elements of each application narrative: clarity of the proposed project, including budget detail; financial need; the cost benefits; and the specific out comes that would result if the grant were awarded. The TEPs consider all expenses budgeted, including administrative and/or indirect, as part of their cost benefit review.

Each application is reviewed in its entirety and compared against established evaluation criteria, not against other applications.

At least three members of the TEPs independently score the four elements of each narrative, consider answers to the general and activity-specific application questions, and discuss the merits/shortcomings of the application in order to reconcile any major discrepancies; however, a consensus on the score is not required.

The total overall scores of the three TEPs are added together, and then divided by the number of members evaluating (3) the application to arrive at the final score from 0 - 100 points.

Applications are ranked, starting with the highest numeric score (100). The highest scoring applications are then reviewed by USFA to resolve any questions or outstanding issues the TEPs might have raised.


  1. I would highly recommend that your narrative not be longer then two and half pages if possible!!!!!!

  2. I would highly recommend you  include in the Finical Need Section a snapshot of your FD budget and your city budget.

Example:   Include the major headings of your budget

XYZ Fire Department Budget

$???.??   Salaries Wages and Benefits
$???.??   Heat, Light, and Water
$???.??   Training
$???.??   Fire Prevention
$???.??   Minor Firefighting Equipment
$???.??   Other Materials Supplies and Services
$???.??   Equipment Outlay Capitol Improvements
$???.??   Total Fire Department                    

City Budget
$???.??    General Government 
$???.??    Police Services
$???.??    Fire Protection Services         
$???.??    Streets/Highways 
$???.??    Sanitation
$???.??    Health
$???.??    Libraries
$???.??    Park/Recreation
$???.??    HRA/Econ Dev
$???.??    Airports
$???.??    Miscellaneous
$???.??    Interest
$???.??    Capital Expenditures
$????.?? Total Budget

The reason you should include these items is that helps show your financial need.  If the city has a big budget but the fire department gets little of it, that is a financial need.

If the city has little money and the fire department gets little money that also shows financial need.

With out this information the panelist may not be able to determine your financial need.

*** Important ***  Make sure your FD operating budget figures are some what close to what you entered in the application screen number 5
* What was your organization's estimated average annual operating budget over the last three years?  If not explain why there is a big difference.

A few of the buzz words and phrases that should be in the narratives are as follows;

  • risk assessment
  • gap
  • is consistent with program priorities
  • promote interoperability with neighboring communities
  • basic response needs
  • critical infrastructure
  • safety of the public 14 and younger and 65 and older
  • safety of our firefighting personnel
  • fit in with a regional approach
  • ability to respond to all hazards
  • OSHA compliance
  • NFPA compliance
  • compliance with state and federal laws
  • PPE to equip 100 percent of our active firefighting staff
  • new money
  • our steps taken to seek alternate funding were
  • this condition or problem negatively affects our ability to provide mission critical services
  • we are commitment to continue the project and/or benefits of the project beyond the grant year
NOTE: Identify your match dollars if more than the required 05%, 10% or 20% match

CAUTION - Do not use brand names, model numbers or part numbers in your application!

Remember as you view these winning narratives they are from 2003, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08 and 2009.

  • Narrative - 2008 - Four-door Custom Pumper, Automatic transmission, 350 Diesel, Top-mount 1250
          • gpm pump, 1000-gallon water tank, Foam capabilities
  • Narrative - 2008 - 1500 GPM Pumper, 370 HP Diesel, Automatic transmission, 1000 gallon on board
          • water,  Foam Pro1600 system, 5000 watt generator
  • Narrative - 2008 - 2,000 GALLON TANKER/ PUMPER (750 GALLONS PER MINUTE)
          • Conventional Chassis,
  • Narrative - 2008 - Tender - 300 HP diesel engine 2000 gallon automatic transmission
  • Narrative - 2008 - Pumper / tanker with 1250 GPM pump, 2000 gallon water tank, diesel engine,
          • and automatic transmission, EVOC Training, Builder Visits
  • Narrative - 2008 - 3500 gallon water tender with a 500 gallon per minute pump
  • Narrative - 2008 - $404,706.00 for a regional interoperable radio project 6 departments 6 base radios,
          • 34 single head mobile radios, 10 dual mobile radios, 64 handheld portables, 155 Motorola Minitor V Pager, 12 Accessories Headset, Dual Ear Muff, Behind Head, with PTT,Training


  • Narrative - 2007 - Regional Radios: 190 Portable (Handheld) Radios, 87 Mobile Radios, 
          • 12 Base Units, Installation/Accessory Fees, Training, Total $1,011,595 

  • Narrative - 2006 -  Vehicle -  Ambulance, Type III Ambulance
  • Narrative - 2006 -  Vehicle -  Engine - 1250 GPM, 1000 Tank, On Board Foam
  • Narrative - 2006 -  Vehicle -  Engine - 1250 GPM, 1500 Tank, On Board Class A Foam
  • Narrative - 2006 - Ops and Safety - Equipment - SCBA and Cascade Filling Station.
  • Narrative - 2006 - Ops and Safety - Equipment - SCBA and Hydraulic Extri Equip
  • Narrative - 2006 - Ops and Safety - Equipment - SCBA's, Extrication Pump, Spreader,
          •  Cutter, Ram, Hoses, Cribbing, Strut kit, Air bags and Training.
  • Narrative - 2006 - Regional Training Project FF1, FF2, NIMS Incident Command System

  • Narrative - 2004 - Vehicle -  Pumper    
  • Narrative - 2004 - Vehicle -  Tanker/Pumper
  • Narrative - 2004 -  SCBA and Turnout Gear
  • Narrative - 2004 -  Vehicle -  Quint
  • Narrative - 2004 - Turnout Gear Complete Sets, SCBA--30 minutes with face piece With
          •  extra bottle (replace obsolete), Face Pieces, SCBA--30 minutes with face piece With extra bottle (buy for first time)
  • Narrative - 2004 - Base Radio Unit, Mobile Radio Units,
          • Pagers and Charging Units,
          •  Handheld Radio Units
  • Narrative - 2004 - Structural Fire Gear, Coats and Boots, Powered/Mechanical Extrication
          •  Tools/Equipment, Pagers, Mobile Radios
  • Narrative - 2004 - Structural Fire Gear, SCBA and Cylinders, Cascade Cylinders,
          •  Compressors/Cascade/Fill Station (Fixed)
  • Narrative - 2004 - Regional Radio Project, 800 MHz Radios, Portables, Base
          • stations, Accessories

  • Narrative - 2003 - Structural Fire Gear, Wildland Fire Gear, Individual SCBA’s and
          •  Integrated PASS Devices, Jaws of Life, Two-Way Radios,  IRIS, and a Automatic Electronic Defibrillator
  • Narrative - 2003 - Confined space rescue equipment
  • Narrative - 2003 - Rescue/Pumper     
  • Narrative - 2003 - Personal Protective Equipment 

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