Grant Application Tips to Fund Your Fire Alarm Monitoring Upgrade

By Andrew Erickson

May 27, 2024

Upgrading your fire alarm monitoring system is essential to the safety and ultimate success of your organization.

Imagine you're running a fire department (in a region where fire alarms come directly to you) and you're relying on outdated or inadequate fire alarm monitoring systems.

Poor alarm monitoring can significantly hamper your team's ability to respond to fires effectively. Without a good system, you might face delays in receiving alarm notifications. The information you receive might be too vague to discern the severity or specific location of an incident, creating even more delays.

This lack of precision often leads to unnecessary risks for your team and longer response times. In time-sensitive situations, this could result in greater damage or loss. Without a solid system in place:

  • Your efforts are slowed
  • Your stress is increased
  • You add risk that could be reduced with clearer, quicker information at your fingertips

Preventing fires and enhancing safety is not just a necessity for your sites. It's also a core value of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA offers grants which fund upgrades to fire safety technologies. While upgrading, it is worthwhile to determine if you qualify for any of these FEMA grants.

AFG Logo
AFGs help fund necessary resources for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire-related hazards

Understanding AFG and SAFER Grants

Financial constraints are always a factor when upgrading critical equipment. Centralized fire alarm monitoring systems are no exception.

Two valuable resources for funding these upgrades are:

  • The Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG)
  • The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants

Let's now take a look at:

  • The requirements and qualifications for these grants
  • The grant application process
  • How to strengthen your application

Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG)

AFG grants are designed to help:

  • Fire departments
  • Non-affiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations
  • State fire training academies

This grant helps them obtain:

  • Critically-needed equipment
  • Protective gear
  • Emergency vehicles
  • Training
  • Other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire-related hazards

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants

SAFER grants primarily focus on enhancing the ability of fire departments across the country to maintain 24-hour staffing. The objective is to ensure that fire departments have enough responders to safely and effectively respond to fire emergencies and meet community needs.

While SAFER grants are aimed at helping firefighters and EMS workers specifically, they can also help fund fire alarm monitoring gear. SAFER grants aim to equip fire departments and EMS staff with the most up-to-date tools, training, and research. Included within these tools are reliable communication networks and smoke alarms with alert/notification capabilities in the event of an emergency.

SAFER grants also provide vehicles, protective gear, and more, so it can be helpful to consider which tools and technologies you need most. This consideration will help you focus operations, strengthen your application, and prioritize funding. In the event that you may need multiple types of tools, SAFER dollars could be used to offset budget consumption to then allow purchasing fire alarm monitoring equipment.

Qualifications for AFG and SAFER Grants

The key to accessing these grants lies in understanding their specific requirements. It is equally important to demonstrate how your organization meets these needs.

1. Eligibility Requirements:

  • AFG: Eligible applicants include fire departments, non-affiliated EMS organizations, and state fire training academies.
  • SAFER: Eligible applicants are fire departments and national, state, local, or tribal organizations that represent the interests and values of firefighters.
  • Indirect AFG/SAFER: If this doesn't sound like your business or organization, don't be discouraged. You may still benefit indirectly through partnerships or programs that involve these eligible organizations.

2. Application Strategy:

  • Justify your need for funding by detailing how the funding will help your organization meet service demands more effectively.
  • Highlight the expected impact on the community's safety and the effectiveness of fire services. Prove that your fire alarm monitoring system is effective in preventing fires at your sites. This will demonstrate that you also value fire safety, a requirement for these grants.
  • Highlight the implementation of effective monitoring technologies. The right monitoring devices can effectively demonstrate your commitment to maintaining fire safety. This benefits your properties and employees as well as the general public.

List Specific Products to Increase Your Chance of Grant Approval

Listing very specific solutions will enhance your grant application. Rather than a vague "money grab," you've planned a specific project with specific goals that is more worthy of federal funding.

To strengthen your application, it’s crucial to propose upgrades that enhance public safety and operational efficiency. Digitize offers proven fire alarm monitoring products like the System 3505 Prism LX and the Remote Annunciator.

System 3505 Prism LX:

The System 3505 Prism LX
The System 3505 Prism LX continuously monitors and displays the status of all connected alarms

This advanced fire alarm monitoring system is a hub for integrating various alarms and monitoring devices. It supports extensive customization to meet the specific needs of any fire department.

The technology enhances real-time monitoring and response capabilities, supports over 25 protocols, and allows for detailed, customizable reports. These reports improve decision-making during emergencies.

Remote Annunciator:

The Digitize Remote Annunciator
Multiple Remote Annunciators can be networked to System 3505 Prism LXs to provide specialized alarm monitoring by department or alarm priority

This monitoring accessory works with the System 3505 Prism LX to provide multiple operator interfaces. This can be essential during widespread emergencies and at larger fire departments.

The device offers programmable color and sound schemes to alert operators immediately to different types of emergencies, enhancing response times and situational awareness.

Why Write Digitize Equipment Into Your Grant Application?

Digitize equipment is useful to you for two reasons. First, it will help you bring all of your fire alarms together onto one screen. Second, as noted above, it can help you get funding approved so your residents can start benefitting from this added protection.

Compliance and Reliability:

The System 3505 Prism LX and the Remote Annunciator meet industry standards for safety and reliability. This makes them excellent choices for grant applications focused on upgrading essential emergency response equipment.

Enhanced Operational Efficiency:

These systems allow for better resource management and quicker response times. This directly contributes to improved public safety, which is a key criterion for both AFG and SAFER grants.

The prevention of fires not only keeps the public safe but also increases the number of readily available responders at any given time. These measures reduce fire-related issues that would require immediate action from them.


By integrating with existing systems, Digitize’s solutions reduce the need for complete overhauls. This allows you to make the most of your grant funds while achieving significant upgrades.

Call to Action

Ready to enhance your fire department’s capabilities and ensure community safety with the help of AFG or SAFER grants? Consider upgrading to Digitize’s high-compatibility fire alarm monitoring solutions.

Remember, upgrading your emergency response capabilities not only strengthens your community's safety - but also supports your team’s effectiveness in critical situations.

Digitize experts can provide more information on products to support your grant application and help you craft a winning proposal. Visit our website or contact us directly by calling 1-800-523-7232 or emailing us at

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson is an Application Engineer at DPS Telecom, a manufacturer of semi-custom remote alarm monitoring systems based in Fresno, California. Andrew brings more than 17 years of experience building site monitoring solutions, developing intuitive user interfaces and documentation, and...Read More