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  • SAFER Question

    I need some input from some of the guru's on this forum. I have a friend that recently was awarded a SAFER grant for REHIRING Laid off FF/Paramedics.
    The question I am having is now the Union is getting involved and saying that the town should not accept it due to the fact that the laid off FF/Paramedics are not actually sworn in ff they are paramedics. I do not see in the guidance of the SAFER area where the wording says they have to be sworn in ff/paramedics. if this is the case it was written in the narrative that they laid off ff/paramedics would be rehired under the SAFER guidelines and the peer review and technical accepted the wording in the grant narrative. How in the world can the UNION get involved and tell the city to not accept it due to they cannot get there people hired instead of the one's who got laid off?


    I need some input.
    Thanks,
    MFD
    Last edited by mfd100; 03-30-2011, 03:56 PM. Reason: wrong wording sorry!

  • #2
    Because that's what Unions do!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Very good sly, i agree
      If God be for us, who can be against us. Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the light.

      Comment


      • #4
        Do the laid off Paramedics work for the fire department?

        Was the grant specifically written to bring them back to improve manning ?

        Whose running the ambulances now?

        Do they have to pay dues to work for the fire department?

        Are there straight hose draggers that have also been laid off?


        Pulls up a recliner and grabs the bucket of popcorn and a cold drink to watch the show now

        Comment


        • #5
          This can only get good. QUIT hogging the popcorn!

          Comment


          • #6
            Is the fire department broken into two divisions (fire and EMS)? Did the city decide to use the money for firefighters and spend it on bringing back EMS workers instead? Exactly how was the grant written. Did they say which division they wanted to fund? If it was the EMS division, I don't think that they would be given the award.
            This could get interesting. Keep us informed.

            Comment


            • #7
              The grant was for rehiring Firefighters, regardless of their EMS certification, so not sure how they were planning on rehiring Paramedics with no Firefighting certs. Doesn't matter if they were only going to ride the box, in order to be compliant with SAFER any personnel hired from any application have to FF certified to NFPA FF1 at a minimum per DHS, higher if that's what the department requires in order to be hired in the first place.

              Now if they are FF certified and the union is saying that they shouldn't hire them because they aren't going to join the union, then there's no issue with SAFER as far as that goes. Rehired or new position hires don't have to join the union if they don't want to, as long as it's open. Some areas are union shops so they have to join, but either way it's a local issue, not one for SAFER. The SAFER guidelines only require all hired personnel to have certs, nothing further.
              Brian P. Vickers
              CEO - Vickers Consulting Services, Inc
              FH.com/Firehouse Mag Contributor
              www.helpmewithgrants.com
              www.facebook.com/vcsinc

              Comment


              • #8
                Turn down

                If they dont want the money I am sure someone else will take it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am going to pose what I believe is a simple question. I have the question submitted to the help desk via email, due to my grant contact being on a leave of absence.......


                  We have not had any issues as of yet with our SAFER grant, but I wanted to pose what I feel is an obvious question, so I have the footing when/if the following instance occurs. I suspect the Director of our department is going to attempt not to maintain four firefighters per shift when someone utilizes benefit time, thus dropping the engine company to three firefighters. This grant provided us with the necessary staffing to increase our engine company from three to four firefighters. The entire argument for obtaining this staffing grant was to provide this increased staffing to meet the necessary and stated requirements. My simple question is, is maintaining the four firefighters on the engine company 24/7 365 a requirement to maintain funding? I can’t believe that a grant to increase staffing can be used in a way to decrease normal overtime operating expenses, allowing shifts to fall to three firefighters and not incurring an overtime expense. Again, this has not occurred, but I want to be able to handle it before it does.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    NFPA doesn't require 4 per truck, it requires 4 on an initial attack. Depending on how many stations/apparatus are staffed it can be argued (and has been) that having 3 per truck will be enough to get 4 on scene within the proper time requirement. After all, people get sick in mid-shift, right before, or go on another detail (CPR in the bus, etc) that temporarily reduce staffing and NFPA can still be met on the next run.

                    Used the argument lots myself in SAFER apps to say that going from 3 to 4 will help and avoid OT costs from sick/leave because the then-current situation of 3 becoming 2 when sick/leave happens definitely wasn't meeting 4 on the attack. But having 4 gave the flexibility to either have it on arrival or shortly afterwards if it was 3.

                    Hate to give you no leg to stand on, but not replacing someone on a shift to save on OT doesn't violate anything from the grant perspective. Now under my be responsible but not frivolous heading as if I were in charge there: if it's been budgeted for, might as well use the OT since with 4 scheduled it shouldn't happen that often that someone is out on leave or sick, so there shouldn't be a huge need for OT. Now if you only have 2-5 stations and run a lot, with only 1 crew of 4 in each station, then I'd say you'd probably have some basis for needing the OT every time to make sure there will be 4 on the attack. 6+ stations, depending on call volume you might not need 4 per truck to make it every run if 1 truck only has 3 on it. If all are short then yeah, definitely need someone brought back on OT to fix it.
                    Brian P. Vickers
                    CEO - Vickers Consulting Services, Inc
                    FH.com/Firehouse Mag Contributor
                    www.helpmewithgrants.com
                    www.facebook.com/vcsinc

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      BC79er,

                      Thanks for your reply. I still believe our situation is a little different. We have one station, we are busy, have a 22 square mile response area, and one staffed engine. We rely on mutual aid heavily. I specifically wrote the grant around meeting NFPA 1710 w/ aerial which requires assembly staffing of 15 FF's with a response time of 8 minutes 90 percent of the time. When you add up our assembly staffing including mutual aid we were one FF short (the mutual aid apparatus is also career) of meeting this standard. Providing us with one additional FF per shift allowed us to met the assembly staffing requirements and the four firefighter standard (we have one piece of apparatus staffed). If that one firefighter spot is left unfilled during a sick out, we cannot meet the stated requirements that we said would be met with the hiring.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        With 1 staffed apparatus that falls under one of my statements that yeah, you are definitely not going to hit 4 on the initial attack in that setting since it's all mutual aid coming to make up the 15. Now the thing is, with staffing it's about what's likely to happen. Without a history of a significant amount of shifts left with only 2 out of the 3 pre-SAFER FFs on board you don't have much of an argument that having 3 out of 4 post-SAFER FFs on board will make you miss NFPA 1710.

                        For instance, if the pre-SAFER scheduled 3 was 2 because of whatever reason for 10 shifts a month, that's almost 30% of the time you were short. In all likelihood in post-SAFER with 4 scheduled you'll only have 3 for 30% of the time if the track record stays the same. Which doesn't mean you CAN'T meet the requirement it just means you're less likely to meet the requirement. The only way you can prove you didn't is after the call and analyzing the response. And if you're numbers are that high from the past in having only 2 per shift then yeah you're going to have a lot of evidence that they need to keep the OT and bring that FF back on.

                        Now if it happens once every other week, you'd have to be running 1-2 working fires a day to make it very likely that you won't have the staffing if a fire happens when the truck only has 3 instead of 4. NFPA is all about likely, not hard and fast, which is nice when making arguments for getting extra bodies, but not so nice when convincing short-sighted people to keep 4 on the truck like they should. Don't get me wrong, I'm with you in keeping 4 on the truck at all times, but to keep it real on your question there's nothing in the grant that can force them to cover every sickout with OT until AFTER a call happens that proves missing that 1 FF left you short of compliance. And then you have to hope that they don't read the NFPA matrix since it's only 90% of the time that you have to meet the 15 anyway. If that's your 10th run and you hit the other 9, technically you were still compliant since that makes 90%.
                        Brian P. Vickers
                        CEO - Vickers Consulting Services, Inc
                        FH.com/Firehouse Mag Contributor
                        www.helpmewithgrants.com
                        www.facebook.com/vcsinc

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I undertand your points, especially about the 90% of the time portion of the requirement. Before the grant award our staffing did not drop below three firefighters per shift. Our minimum manning was three, and if someone called out it was filled with OT. Again I understand your points, but to me if they drop to three from four they are abusing the grant. If a firefighter who was here prior to the grant took off before, their position would of been covered with OT to maintain the minimum of three. Now, with the grant, if the same firefighter takes off, they drop to three and won't fill anything with OT, saving them the cost they would of incured prior to the grant award. To me, the way I see it, the grant is being used now to minimize OT and not its real intent, to provide proper staffing. Not trying to beat this thing to death, but I can't believe it is FEMA's intent to allow our staffing to drop to three on numerous occasions because our department doesn't want to spend money on OT that they would of incurred regardless, before the grant.

                          Anyway I thank you for your insight. It's ashame I have to ask these questions in the first place.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Not FEMA's intent at all, all they can do is enforce NFPA which allows flexibility for sick/vacation. Again if the OT is budgeted, why not use it? After all SAFER funds can't be used to supplant budgeted funding, so they can't take anything away from the department because of the award like equipment, etc. Could be an angle of attack on them, after all if the budget law in town says use it or lose it then they might as well use it because they have to budget that same amount.

                            Now for longevity, I'd look at how often you had someone filling in on OT. If it wasn't often, pick your fight and instead of grappling over this use it as ammo to have them park the OT money that isn't spend in an account (if legal by local laws) so that you have a reserve built up to make sure the hired bodies stay in Year 3 and beyond. One of our clients up north was trying to figure out how they could pull it off in 2008 by the old rules and figured out that if they got 1 more per shift they could still meet NFPA and bankroll the OT saved into an account and draw on that to help sustain the additional matching all 5 years and beyond to avoid future layoffs.

                            If you were using OT every 3rd shift to keep 3 on then it's probably going to continue that trend so you probably do want to fight to keep 4 since the application was written around the fact that you weren't meeting the standard with only 3. If you didn't drop below 3 before and didn't meet the standard, then being at 3 now doesn't meet the standard "you" said the extra body would help meet. That doesn't cross NFPA, that crosses "your" statements that you will meet the standard if and only if you have 4. Sounds about like lying in the application if you don't keep 4, which means whoever is keeping you from putting the 4 on approves of the lying. And lying means fraud so you could probably hang that over their head if you wanted to since they'd be the ones facilitating it and therefore committing the crime that would land them in jail.
                            Brian P. Vickers
                            CEO - Vickers Consulting Services, Inc
                            FH.com/Firehouse Mag Contributor
                            www.helpmewithgrants.com
                            www.facebook.com/vcsinc

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ok, well we will see how this goes. Hopefully it is a battle I can get resolved without too much conflict. You've been a big help. I appreciate it.

                              Comment

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