44 CFR 152.6 - Application review and award process.
(a) As stated in § 152.5, we will evaluate each application in the preliminary screening process to determine which applications best address the program's established priorities. The best applications as determined in this preliminary step will be deemed to be in the “competitive range.” All applications in the competitive range will advance to a second level review by a technical evaluation panel. Using the evaluation criteria detailed in the Program Guidance and in the NOFA (both of which are published pursuant to this program's annual appropriation), the panelists will score each application they evaluate. The assigned score will reflect the degree to which the applicant: clearly relates their proposed project; demonstrates financial need; and, details a high benefit to cost value of the proposed activities. We will provide the panelists the complete application content for their evaluation. We will also provide them with reference materials for national standards or regulations and guidelines with respect to typical costs for proposed apparatus and equipment purchases.
(b) Our award decisions will be based on the stated priorities of the grant program first, then on the demonstrated need of the applicant and the benefits to be derived from the proposed projects. We will make awards on a competitive basis, i.e., we will fund the highest scored applications before considering lower scored applications.
(c) In a few cases, to fulfill our obligations under the law to make grants to a variety of departments, we may also make funding decisions using rank order as the preliminary basis, and then analyze the type of fire department (paid, volunteer, or combination fire departments), the size and character of the community it serves (urban, suburban, or rural), and/or the geographic location of the fire department. In these instances where we are making decisions based on geographic location, we will use States as the basic geographic unit. We may also base our funding decisions on previous grant awards funded by this program and/or grantees' performance on previous grants and a technical evaluation of reasonable costs for labor, services, materials or equipment.