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How to Deal with Extremely Low Pop and Call Volume???

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  • How to Deal with Extremely Low Pop and Call Volume???

    I received a call for assistance today that has me stumped. This particular fire department serves a very small island (roughly 500 pop.) way out in the middle of nowhere. They are the only game in town and their pumper, although not terribly old (12 years), has a problem with the 2 stage pump that limits water flow. And here comes the kicker...I was told that they run less than 10 calls per year (sometimes only 1 call). As far as i can tell, they only go out the door when somebody is screaming that their house is on fire. Other than that, the police check everything else out.

    Given the scenario, I'm doubtful that they could get funding from AFG. However, I am curious if anybody else has had any success in even getting past the computer round with such low call volume and population served.

    This one has got me stumped and I'm open to any thoughts.

    Thanks
    -dave

  • #2
    A couple of questions.
    Are they looking to replace the truck or get funding to repair the pump?
    There are other possibilities if they are looking for options to repair the "problem pump.

    The odds of getting funding for a replacement engine would be very small numerically given the competitiveness and the lower $$ amounts for vehicles.
    Not impossible but getting by the computer will be tough.

    Island living brings different types of challenges and makes a few different sources of funding a possibility.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm curious what the problem is with the pump. Have they had it looked at and diagnosed, or do they just want to try to replace a 12 year old truck? Not trying to be skeptical, but if I was reading it that'd be a couple of my questions.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by islandfire03 View Post
        A couple of questions.
        Are they looking to replace the truck or get funding to repair the pump?
        There are other possibilities if they are looking for options to repair the "problem pump.

        The odds of getting funding for a replacement engine would be very small numerically given the competitiveness and the lower $$ amounts for vehicles.
        Not impossible but getting by the computer will be tough.

        Island living brings different types of challenges and makes a few different sources of funding a possibility.
        The first thing I told him was that replacing the truck was out of the question. Way too competitive, cost benefit way out of whack, low call volume, etc. After that discussion he said that He would be happy with funding to repair the pump. It's still not clear that a call volume of less than 10 calls per year will make it through computer scoring. Has anybody ever seen it happen?

        Comment


        • #5
          It has a lot to do with the amount of money ask for also. We are a small rural department and the first couple years of AFG we were funded for, we had call volumes right around 10 calls. Now were up to around 30 calls a year. If your asking for $10,000 or $20,000 you much more likely to get funded then if you ask for $150,000. We also received funded for a new booster tank and new cabinets to rebuild our rusting 25 yr old pumper. The pump and engine were in great shape, so the concept of rebuilding a pumper instead of asking for new is possible. It also can be a big selling point in your narrative portion because you can show that your saving AFG money by asking for a rebuild verse a new apparatus, especially since the unit is only 12 yrs old.

          Comment


          • #6
            First we need to know what the repair costs are. I suspect that the repair is considerably less than $5K. AFG may not be the right or only approach here. My first question is have they approached and publcized their plight to their residents to see if anyone will step to the plate? As Islandfire03 can attest, people who live on islands tend to think a little differently than others since they understand their isolation better than most and when it comes to emegrgency services a fire on an island without fire protection is well, usually a total loss. Is there no form of local governement to whom they can appeal for assistance? This would certainly quallify as an "exigent circumstance" which is vital to the safety of the citizens and even in these hard times, I would find it extremely difficult to believe that the citizens and or the business community could not handle this in relatively short order, if they are in fact aware that the situation even exists.
            Kurt Bradley
            Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
            " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ktb9780 View Post
              First we need to know what the repair costs are. I suspect that the repair is considerably less than $5K. AFG may not be the right or only approach here. My first question is have they approached and publcized their plight to their residents to see if anyone will step to the plate? As Islandfire03 can attest, people who live on islands tend to think a little differently than others since they understand their isolation better than most and when it comes to emegrgency services a fire on an island without fire protection is well, usually a total loss. Is there no form of local governement to whom they can appeal for assistance? This would certainly quallify as an "exigent circumstance" which is vital to the safety of the citizens and even in these hard times, I would find it extremely difficult to believe that the citizens and or the business community could not handle this in relatively short order, if they are in fact aware that the situation even exists.
              All good questions. Given that I spent 15 minutes on the phone with this department for the first time yesterday, I don't know much more about the situation than I've told all of you. However, since some of you have had success with such low call volume, I think that an AFG grant for pumper repair/upgrade in the area of $10-$20K might be worth a shot.

              Thanks all for the insights.

              -dave

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by davepa View Post
                All good questions. Given that I spent 15 minutes on the phone with this department for the first time yesterday, I don't know much more about the situation than I've told all of you. However, since some of you have had success with such low call volume, I think that an AFG grant for pumper repair/upgrade in the area of $10-$20K might be worth a shot.

                Thanks all for the insights.

                -dave
                davepa, I would be more concerned with the 10-12 months that will transpire prior to a "possible" 2011 AFG award and be looking for a more timely solution. Hence the suggestion to try other alternative funding methods. That's a long time to go without a pumper! It would also occur to me that some trucks that are being replaced this year may have pumps that are still operating well and although the truck itself could not be returned to fire service duty, it might be salvaged for the pump or parts probably without cost to the department if they asked.
                Kurt Bradley
                Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
                " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Kurt,

                  Point well taken. I agree that depending upon the extent of the issues with the pump, they might pursue alternative and more expedient remedies for the pump itself. However, i gather from others comments that AFG might fund other things (e.g., turnouts, SCBA, etc.) despite the call volume and population constraints.

                  -dave

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ktb9780 View Post
                    davepa, I would be more concerned with the 10-12 months that will transpire prior to a "possible" 2011 AFG award and be looking for a more timely solution. Hence the suggestion to try other alternative funding methods. That's a long time to go without a pumper! It would also occur to me that some trucks that are being replaced this year may have pumps that are still operating well and although the truck itself could not be returned to fire service duty, it might be salvaged for the pump or parts probably without cost to the department if they asked.
                    I have to agree with the "timely" approach. Go to the nearest Wal-Mart or other big box stores (My department has received well over 2-3 Thousand dollars and we are 50 miles from the nearest store) , I would expect some where near $1000 maybe more if the project is well defined). Then talk to the banks and utilities that provide for the residents. These establishments realize that the patrons need coverage and are usually very willing to give as long as the project is well defined. Other areas to look would be Government Surplus Property. You can usually get decent equipment from there if you are careful. While not impossible the AFG is a crap shoot at best.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      That's a nice thought about Walmart etc...but this island is probably 700 miles from the nearest city big enough for a walmart.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by davepa View Post
                        Kurt,

                        Point well taken. I agree that depending upon the extent of the issues with the pump, they might pursue alternative and more expedient remedies for the pump itself. However, i gather from others comments that AFG might fund other things (e.g., turnouts, SCBA, etc.) despite the call volume and population constraints.

                        -dave
                        Nothing gambled, nothing lost! Always apply but, pick the project carefully. The suggesttion about approaching the utility companies, risk management insurer etc. for help are all excellent. I would also suggest that if they have any "hotel/toruist" oriented businesses that they also be approached as that is curcial to their survivial as well.
                        Kurt Bradley
                        Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
                        " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Back in the early days of thermal imaging cameras, our chief was enough of a visionary to see the potential of this tool. We sent out letters to businesses throughout the community, made a big thermometer sign with our funding goal, and tore into it. Soon we had $12,500 and we had our camera.

                          Now I realize they don't have that many people or businesses to draw from, but they probably don't need $12,500 either.

                          I would suggest getting a reputable mechanic to come and have a heart-to-heart with the rig and get a detailed, reliable estimate of the repair cost. Then they need to go public with it, using not just their island media (if any) but also TV, radio, Facebook, and so on. You catch just enough philanthropic people and you can gather the bucks pretty quick.
                          “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
                          ― Hunter S. Thompson

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by davepa View Post
                            That's a nice thought about Walmart etc...but this island is probably 700 miles from the nearest city big enough for a walmart.
                            Seriously no sarcasm , 700 miles from a city that would have a wal-mart is a place where I would love to live. In North Dakota I cannot think of a place where you would be more then 100 miles from one.

                            Government Surplus property or State Forestry (Who sometimes has first dibs on returned Surplus) would be able to help out in finding a Truck. Most of these vehicles are in good shape. 2 years ago we received a maintenance vehicle and turned it into a rescue. The truck had less then 13,000 miles and is in excellent shape.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by davepa View Post
                              I received a call for assistance today that has me stumped. This particular fire department serves a very small island (roughly 500 pop.) way out in the middle of nowhere. They are the only game in town and their pumper, although not terribly old (12 years), has a problem with the 2 stage pump that limits water flow. And here comes the kicker...I was told that they run less than 10 calls per year (sometimes only 1 call). As far as i can tell, they only go out the door when somebody is screaming that their house is on fire. Other than that, the police check everything else out.

                              Given the scenario, I'm doubtful that they could get funding from AFG. However, I am curious if anybody else has had any success in even getting past the computer round with such low call volume and population served.

                              This one has got me stumped and I'm open to any thoughts.

                              Thanks
                              -dave
                              Have someone look at the pump. WAY cheaper. Could even be something as easy as sucking in a plastic bottle into the impeller and lodged there. It's not going to pump it out.

                              Let me know if you want to get rid of that old broken down 12 year old truck....

                              Comment

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