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  • Time to whine...

    From the story linked off of Firehouse.com's homepage:

    Cowan and Goodman asks for patience. It is possible the awards will continue into June of 2004 (they are hoping to be done sooner). Somewhere around 7000 applications (5316 in the 2002 program) will be successful receiving their requested chunk of about $681 million total. That leaves about 8000 that made it through peer review but the money will run out before it gets to them. They will be notified as it becomes clearer that the funds will not extend to them, later in the process.
    With all that extra money, they are only awarding less than 1700 more applications???

    I'm willing to guess that they are going to be handing out more big awards this year then last year.
    IACOJ Agitator
    Fightin' Da Man Since '78!

  • #2
    It sounds like there will definately be more big awards. If I remember right, the poll showed that there were a lot of big applications. I'd almost rather see them give out less to more depts. but I'm not them.
    Adze, most of it will go to Illinois, anyway.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

    Comment


    • #3
      I wasn't going to post my main thought on this but since I've already answered the same question offline over a dozen times so far, I'll stick it here anyway.

      I have to agree with Jack, there are going to be some big $$ awards going out. The average damn near doubled over last year using FEMA's numbers. I don't mean to crush hopes because I've reviewed some great narratives from rural departments, but one of the main goals of the program is to help as many citizens as possible, and with some of the high dollar, well written applications that I've seen from suburban and urban departments, I think the low call volume, low population rural applications are going to get squeezed out for the most part. Is it right? I don't know, since there really is no wrong. There has to be a method of measuring overall national benefit, and call volume and population served is the best indicator of that. It doesn't lessen the need, but let's face it, if Osama's bag of terrorist nuts try and strike again, it's not going to be in an unpopulated area.

      Does that mean spend your matching on something else? Hell no, it ain't over until the last award is given. Or you get a Dear John email. But as long as you don't get one of those, you're still in the game. Albeit, a waiting game.

      But let me again stress my point of paying it forward. I saw in my $$ Amount poll that there are some people with some high $$ PPE, SCBA and other equipment requests. If you get it, share the wealth and pass on your old equipment to someone that can use it. If you think your 15-20 year old stuff is bad, someone, somewhere has it worse. We're all in the same business of making it home after every call, so pass on the good fortune and donate what can be donated. I've been hesitating about creating a web page for requests for donations because I don't want to get caught in the middle and being accused of playing favorites with who gets what. If there becomes enough of a need for it, and I get time, I'll make one. But everyone should be able to find a close department that needs something. County, State, region, whatever, start close and work out until you find someone to give it to. If everyone does that then the whole country should get covered pretty decently.

      Anyway, sorry for the grim outlook for some, but even though we fit in the high-risk, high call volume, dense population, I'm not counting the money yet either. There were so many great narratives that I've read at this point it's anybody's game. And that's the way I think it should be.

      Good luck, and stay safe.

      Brian
      Brian P. Vickers
      www.vickersconsultingservices.com
      Emergency Services Consulting
      Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
      Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree that theres more then likely going to be more larger grants awarded. And i dont have a problem with that if the departments that get the award actually needed it. Every department has some type of NEED. Some more then others. The thing that i've found myself whining about is the fact that FEMA has at least 5600 applications that were rejected prior to the peer review. Given this,WHY are they waiting until July or August to send out the Dear John leeters. My department as well as many more are waiting to hear if we got rejected or if we are still in the running. Other funding options are being held up waiting for some type of news. For an agency so big and handling such a large sum of money, i think they'd have a better system to inform departments of their applications status. At least the rejection part of it. OK i'm done whining now. GOOD LUCK AND STAY SAFE.

        Comment


        • #5
          BC79er,

          Unfortunately, I have to disagree with you. Shanksville Pennsylvania is not a thriving metropolis and it was very much impacted on September 11th.
          I do not have a problem with trying year after year unsuccessfully. I am one of those departments that takes the hand me downs whenever we can get them.
          I do have problems with departments that just bought all new bunker gear 5 years ago getting a grant for buying everyone new again. I do have a problem with a paid department in a very affluent suburb, that has everything they need once and twice over, getting grants 2 years in a row. If you don't need the money, don't apply for it and let others have a chance. I know in this day and age of more, more, more, that is the most insane statement ever written.
          I will keep at it though, and I will continue to pull up my donated bunker pants and put on my 12 year old coat an average of 4 times a week. I will keep figuring out ways to purchase equipment and raise money. I guess that is why they say we are "nuts".

          Comment


          • #6
            I certainly mean no disrespect to Shanksville or any other department that responded to that scene. But, that was not the intended target and were it not for the actions of the brave passengers on that aircraft, the true target would have been hit and only us former PAers would have ever known where Shanksville was. Off on a tangent, the terrorists now know they're in for an ***-whoopin if they ever try anything again. But they will, and they're going to kill as many of us red-blooded Americans as they can, and the attempts are going to be made in highly populated areas. Really off on a tangent, within the risk zone, there still is a higher risk of major fires and other incidents in more densely populated areas. Not that they don't happen everywhere, statistically it's just more likely in suburban and urban areas.

            I agree completely with the bunker gear comment. 5 year old gear is fine as long as you take care of it. My first set of gear when I joined up north was older than me. Still worked fine. Too many egos have to keep their gear dirty as proof that they did something. Wash it, repair it, and it lasts. A little truth in grants apps here folks. BSing to get the grant by saying all of your gear is "old and worn" when it's only a few years old isn't playing the game right. I remember a story from Vincent Dunn about a department in a rural area. They had one of their few fires while he was there and they were putting on layers of sweatclothes on the ride over. Then they went interior wearing that. They didn't have any PPE. Dunn worked some phones and got them some after that.

            I can't remember when that came out but this is probably reality for some still. Greed kills, and if you really didn't need something and worded your narrative and application to reflect a need that wasn't there, how are you going to sleep at night knowing that we may lose a brother or sister because you wanted new shiny gear, that you're going to get dirty and leave that way as a badge of courage. I certainly hope that isn't the case with anyone. I will say that none of the applications I've read even hinted of doing something like this, so congrats for telling the truth.

            I've said it before and I'll say it again: we need an aerial, but I won't lose any sleep if we don't get it and plenty of others get properly fitted for gear and PPE, and pass on what they don't need anymore.

            Stay safe, and let's do what we can to keep this program from falling by the wayside. The more bureaucracy involved, the less money actually gets to where it need to go.

            Brian
            Brian P. Vickers
            www.vickersconsultingservices.com
            Emergency Services Consulting
            Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
            Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

            Comment


            • #7
              They're not doing it on the really outside chance that everyone already on the list can't meet the requirements. With so many expensive projects I guess they're waiting to get through a few rounds to see if all of those departments have their matching so definitively eliminate the bottom of the list. They don't want to send out a Dear John, then have the department come up for an award, and they spent their matching on something else. It stinks to have to wait what seems like forever, but leave it to FEMA to err on the side of safety.
              Brian P. Vickers
              www.vickersconsultingservices.com
              Emergency Services Consulting
              Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
              Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

              Comment


              • #8
                The FIRE Act Grants were never about preparing fire departments for terrorism. That was never its intent. If big cities need special preparation or equipment for "terrorist" attacks, then that should be addressed separately, in my opinion. These grants are to help all departments do their everyday jobs.
                Member IACOJ

                Comment


                • #9
                  Last year everyone that got rejected cried that they wanted to know why. This year FEMA wants to try to let those that messed up the app know what they did wrong so they can learn and have a better app next year. That's why the delay in the initial notification.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yeah, I think it is great that they are doing that...as long as they don't tell the winners how to get better as well! LOL

                    But seriously, I think next year the FIRE grant will be different. Either it will not exist as we know it today or it will list terrorism as a high priority.
                    IACOJ Agitator
                    Fightin' Da Man Since '78!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Terrorism should NOT be a high priority for the FIRE Act Grant Program; funds to help prevent the everyday problems we face in the fire service should be the priority. Funds to support fire prevention and training that will help to reduce the thousands of firefighters and civilians who die in fires every year. Being properly prepared to do our basic jobs is the best way that we, as firefighters, can assist in any event, including terrorist attacks.
                      Member IACOJ

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The caveat is that pretty much any equipment can be used in both a terrorism attack and everyday incidents. Apparatus, PPE, SCBA, chemical meters, collapse equipment, etc, etc. So mentioning the need for the equipment for both everyday and potential terrorism incidents, is just another benefit that you really can't argue with. In reality, terrorism incidents could be part of everyday responses. The fire service is charged with having to be prepared for everything, so if being able to handle an attack is a benefit, it should be mentioned. It shows foresight. Hazmat equipment is mainly going to be used to mitigate spills, leaks, and other "routine" methyl ethyl bad stuff calls, but it will also help prepare for an attack. That's the reality. Unfortunately, being equipped for attacks is becoming part of the basic readiness level that the fire service should be at. Some are farther ahead than others, which is the same with any other aspect. This argument could be expanded to say that CAFS isn't a basic need, PPE is, so they shouldn't award anyone that's looking to get CAFS over someone needing PPE. Then someone could say PPE isn't basic, fire trucks are because if you don't have one, shiny new gear won't help get you to the fire and put it out, it will just keep you from burning up quicker. That's probably the whole reason that if you went for plain basic apparatus with no progressive thinking (CAFS, aerial, etc), you didn't get one. Fulfilling basic needs is a priority, but exceeding those needs at the same time is a bigger one. An example: two departments both apply for an engine. Dept A doesn't want to run the cost up because they think it will decrease their chances so they leave off CAFS and a spec a plain Class A truck. Dept B has the same apparatus as A currently, but they figure that over the life of the truck, CAFS will play a big role, and since they have no aerial device, they put a 50' light duty ladder on, which keeps the chassis smaller. It costs $100K more than A's, but B's has the better chance because they put foresight into the application and showed that they truly analyzed their needs. Going by last year's results and the number of quints that were awarded, I'd have to say that the reviewers agreed.

                        That's why I tried to advise people to truly analyze their situation before applying. Several that I reviewed were going the route of Dept A, same as in past years when they were unsuccessful. Those that said they could afford the extra matching I advised to put on foam/CAFS and a couple of other things. If they couldn't afford it, I told them to mention that they wanted to put on some of that stuff, but the additional matching costs could not be me. Without mentioning that, the inference is that the applicant didn't think of adding something. Some posted comments from the FEMA sponsored classes that age of apparatus didn't matter if you're trying to replace it with the same plain truck with no improvements, and that's been pretty accurate so far.

                        Of course I could throw in the statement that rural departments should be the ones with the WMD equipment and training because if something really big happens in a populated area, we'll all be either contaminated or worse (i.e. dead). But either way we won't be able to mitigate the situation. But that's just a minor detail.
                        Brian P. Vickers
                        www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                        Emergency Services Consulting
                        Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                        Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I like the idea of a (shure-enough) Quint or Pumper/tanker but as some of the rural VFDs have found out they couldn't buy one if it only cost $.10 on the dollar. What would FEMA say if we said we would take out a 5 year loan to pay our share? To tell FEMA we would pay our share by giveing our total budget to them for a couple of years might not sound feasible.

                          Good Luck on the grants
                          Stay Safe ~ The Dragon Still Bites!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            BC79er, We're on the same page....

                            ...in as far as planning for the future when proposing a project for a FIRE Act grant. Our proposal this year does just that.

                            We're a rural vfd, and are facing increasing numbers of medical calls. Our projections for the next ten years are that the number of EMS/First Resonder runs will triple. This, along with a new section of interstate to be built within 5-7 years in our northwest area will significantly increase our need for rescue/ems response capabilities.

                            This year we applied for a "Swiss-Army Knife" rescue pumper. Our narrative included the EMS/Rescue stuff, but also included the WMD aspect as well. Being rural, we are probably not a direct target, but may be affected from attacks on either of two large population centers to northwest and southeast. Also, we would be available to assist either if needed.

                            Like your thinking BC79er. We seem to think alike on many issues here.
                            Grant me the strength to change things I can, accept what I can't, and to know the difference.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              5pts - All they ask is that you have the matching funds available. If you have the loan all set up and have it conditional on the awarding of the grant, then once you have the notification sign the papers. As far as vehicles go, it will take a bit of time to get the truck in anyway. Portions have to be paid prior to certain milestones, but not all of it has to be spent up front. Discounts are available from manufacturers for prepayment of chassis' or the whole thing. (The discount cannot make the FEMA share count as more than 90%, so if you do that you'll have to add things to the truck to make up for the savings.) So technically, since you can request up to 50% of the fed portion at order time, you could take the loan and sit on it until such time that it needs to be paid. Or I guess it would have to be in the bank at notification time, but anyway, you can sit on the loan money until delivery time and pay the rest. That way in the meantime, you could rally the locals andpat yourself on the back and raise funds to offset the loan payment.

                              For those that think I'm trying to skirt the rules, maybe I am and maybe I'm not, but since we have the money for ours, it doesn't really affect me. As someone still in the game, I don't want to win for someone else losing, especially over not having the 10%. I want to win because it was judged to be that way, not as a consolation prize. And all it asks is if you have the money available. Doesn't say how.

                              farmun - thanks. I think. I hope you don't think that much like me. I've yet to be accused of being right in the head. Something about wanting to run into burning buildings for fun makes people look at me funny. Or maybe because I'm funny looking. Could be either one.
                              Brian P. Vickers
                              www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                              Emergency Services Consulting
                              Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                              Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                              Comment

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