Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Dear Johns are going out! We got our's!

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Dear Johns are going out! We got our's!

    I was notified that for the third year in a row, our project was not deemed worthy in the eyes of the peer review panel.
    As soon as I regain control of my emotions, I will have some critical comments to make in regards to this "competitive" grant program.
    To those of you who are in the process of receiving this notification, you have my heartfelt compassion and support.
    To those of you fortunate enough to be funded for your project; congratulations. Now, go by a lottery ticket before your luck runs out.
    What's in store for 2004?
    Stay tuned.
    CR
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

  • #2
    Sorry to hear about the news

    I don't think it is any secret, you have been somewhat critical of the FireAct grant in quite a few postings. Maybe not the grant itself, but the process by which approval is made?

    The fact remains that the process is what it is. Until it changes, it remains a large peer review process. I for one think that's good. You may not. Nonetheless, before you bash the entire process, would you ever be willing to post what your application was to see if others could offer you some advice?

    If you think it's political, play the politics. If you think that you need some sort of flowery writing, write it that way. After all, as long as you play by the rules does it really make any difference how you arrived at the end? (That's really a rhetorical question, I think it does.)

    Just my random thoughts

    Comment


    • #3
      tmnkwd:
      I don't think it is any secret, you have been somewhat critical of the FireAct grant in quite a few postings. Maybe not the grant itself, but the process by which approval is made?
      Now, why would I want to keep my thoughts, questions, concerns and opinions a secret? FEMA has made it very clear that they want to hear from us. They heard from me. Posting here was an extension of that process. And besides, I haven't made "quite a few postings". I posted when I had something relevant to say. And what does that have to do with my department's current situation? Are you insinuating that somehow, my postings had anything to do with our project being rejected for funding? That is interesting, in light of the fact that many of you believe that the program is nonpolitical.
      Nonetheless, before you bash the entire process, would you ever be willing to post what your application was to see if others could offer you some advice?
      Are you on this year's peer review group or have you been in the past? If not, then I am not interested in posting our grant app here, simply because I discussed our grant with a former peer reviewer, he made his suggestions, offered his technical assistance, the grant was written and submitted. If I do anything, I will contact him and we will review the grant in its entirety and make the modifications that will improve our position in 2004.
      And I resent your notion that I am "bashing" the entire process. I have a difference of opinion on how the program is broken into "priority categories". I have a difference of opinion on the weight awarded to "brush trucks"; a unit that I feel is a big waste of money unless you are wildland firefighters. The use of brush trucks for suppressing agri-crop or natural vegetation fires in our neck of the nation is as wasteful as a $600 toilet seat in my opinion. Note that I said "in my opinion". But under the rules, we would stand a much better chance of getting funding for a brush truck than for what we applied for. I don't consider a brush truck a primary need, but more of a luxury item. Again; my opinion.
      Just because I have a different perspective does not give rise to "bashing".
      In my mind and in the mind of the our advisor, we "played" by the "rules". And in case you haven't been paying attention; FEMA doesn't want "flowery"; they want what fits into their definitions, rules and program guidance.
      And when you apply under the Act for equipment that will impact the response for departments in THREE counties, then I'm not sure that FEMA really understands just exactly what "interoperability" is! When you have written your needs assessment and project justification to include the populations of at least 25 cities and villages and incorporate the facts that your department is a MABAS member and is involved with multi-county responses and you can't get funding for your project, then I am not sure just exactly it is that "swings the pendulum" in your favor.
      But as I said, I will get with our grant advisor and hopefully, sort it out.
      I don't have sour grapes. I am not whining. I still have the same opinions. But I will change strategies.
      Thanks for your offer of help.
      CR
      Visit www.iacoj.com
      Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
      RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

      Comment


      • #4
        Sorry to hear that

        I take it you were going for a vehicle by the brush truck comments.


        We recieved a 23k training grant the first year, my first time attempting to do so. The second year we went for gear and SCBA and were turned down. Trying for the same again this year. I just checked my email and no letter was there, but damn it was nerve-wracking knowing they are going out. Hopefully we'll make it through the week....

        Also, no one has mentioned it but was there a reason attached to your letter that specifically said why you were turned down? Wasn't that the "reason" for them going out so late or did I imagine that?

        Comment


        • #5
          We got ours for the third year in a row tonight too.

          Thanks to their criteria for urban/suburban/rural departments, my department, which averages 250 runs per year, serves 4000 people in an area of 2 square miles that has less than 1% zoned for commercial, was classified as "urban."

          Going up against other "urban" departments such as Detroit, New York, etc. who make more runs in a day than we make all year, it's not suprising that we never even made it to peer review.

          Meanwhile, a department (who's station is less than a mile from ours but since they still have a few farms left is classified as rural)got $30,000 for a fire prevention trailer even though they don't have any schools in the district! And this is the second year in a row they've had their grant funded.

          Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for them but I don't see how their trailer is more important than replacing our 20+ year old SCBA and steel bottles!

          And yep, before anybody says it, I'll admit that I'm whining and this is sour grapes, but there's something goofy with their classification system!
          Last edited by WTFD10; 10-01-2003, 12:08 AM.
          FTM-PTB-DTRT

          Comment


          • #6
            For the record, Tyler (tmnkwd) was a peer reviewer this year.

            As far as needing brush trucks: if you have more than 50 contiguous acres of unkept fields/crops/whatever, in the area of houses, you need a brush truck to go off road and go get the fire. Bad things happen when you wait for it to come to you or if you try and pull 2000' of handline. Just an opinion after having to do just that on a field fire while our brush truck was in the shop. Wind shifted, burned the handlines, almost lost crews.

            they want what fits into their definitions, rules and program guidance.
            I couldn't have said it any better myself. Do I agree with their rules, definitions and guidance? No, not all of it. But that's not the point. The point is, they are what they are and since they were written into law for this year you had to follow them and if you didn't, or you didn't fit someone's definition properly, you got the Dear John. If you got one already, you didn't even make it to peer review, so something in the statistics of your request lowered your score to the point of not being eligible for review. So all of that mutual aid benefits that may have been in the narrative, probably didn't help since something else was the culprit. There aren't too many things left, call volume, budget, population covered, membership. I don't know what it could be, haven't seen your application and anything I guessed at would be like most everything I've said here, it would be speculation, but a pretty educated guess based on my knowledge of the program.

            Another point before I go stare at my eyelids: share your opinions of the program with FEMA. If no one gives you any feedback, you think things are perfect, right? This program is not perfect, but it is the only one we've got. If you think it needs to be altered because the focus is off, then say so. If you think it's working fine the way it is, then say that too. I've met lots of FEMA people that are involved in this program, and every one of them asked me what I thought of it because they don't get any constructive criticism on the program. Just "it's great" because someone got money, or "it sucks" because someone else didn't. They get very few comments about what changes should be made to the program's intended focus group.
            Brian P. Vickers
            www.vickersconsultingservices.com
            Emergency Services Consulting
            Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
            Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

            Comment


            • #7
              We got our "Dear John" today as well. Did'nt even make it through peer review. As can be expected, I'm a little dejected but I will try again next year. As for the process, I don't see much that can be done to change it. So, I'm gonna keep smilen the best I can and try again next year.

              Good luck to everyone else.

              Comment


              • #8
                Just read our "Dear John Letter" this morning.

                Oh well...There's always next year. (Getting real tired of saying that...lol)

                My major gripe about the whole grant process is this: I think that once you receive a grant, you shouldn't be able to reapply for a period of time, say 2 - 3 years. (Heck, DCNR won't let you reapply for another forestry grant for 10 years after being awarded one...oops, make that 8. They just lowered it I believe.) It isn't real fair for the companies that really need to replace equipment to get denied, while other companies receive grants each year. Again, just my opinion.

                Comment


                • #9
                  For those that got the Dear Johns....what is the "personalized" reason for being turned down? After all, that is why the Dear Johns were so delayed this time....at least according to FEMA. What was anyones reasons for being turned down?
                  "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We got our Dear John

                    We got our Dear John, I won't complain because we have been lucky enough to have been funded 2 years in a row (2001: EMS gear, 2002: 5 inch hose, cascade system and exercise equipment). This year against my better judgment we requested a vehicle, a pumper ($$$). The customization in the letter basically said over 1 billion requested for vehicles (5600 vehicle requests) and 187 million available, not good odds.

                    My advice to those who have gotten turned down this year and in the past is to create a grant request that fits exactly within the priorities that FEMA describes in the grant documentation, that’s what drives a large part of the scoring of your grant request. Stick to the priorities, state you reasons for requesting the funds, be concise, keep your funding request reasonable, getting 40K is a lot better than getting nothing, and getting political endorsement is not a bad idea.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Correct

                      There were about 4 or 5 thousand that didn't make it to the peer review process. Those are the first letters to go out.
                      Firefighters are Crazy!! But God bless each one of you all!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        According to the letter that webteam posted and a few others that have received them have said, this first batch is those that did not make it to peer review for one reason or another. For those that wrote kick *** narratives, great job, but they weren't read. There was something in the statistics of the application that made your score lower.

                        And I'd ignore the part about reading the guidance and staying within the guidelines of the program. It's a form letter. Unless or course you applied to build a training center or something like that, which wasn't in the eligible programs list.
                        Brian P. Vickers
                        www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                        Emergency Services Consulting
                        Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                        Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          second paragraph..

                          While it is not possible for us to give a detailed account of how each individual application was rated in the the competitive process, we can tell you that your application was not amont those that went into the second phase of our comnpetitive review, the peer reviews. Those applications that most closely matched up with the higher funding priorities for each eligible activity are the ones that did go to peer review. The goal of peer reviewing applications that most directly match up with established program priorities was published in the Federal Register on our Notice of Funds Availability for this year's grant program and in the Program Guidance which was posted on our website.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            BC;
                            You may disagree if you'd like, but what I am seeing this year is that departments didn't apply for equipment that they needed. They applied for funding in a category that they were told they stood a better chance in getting. So the program is not meeting their stated objective, which is to provide for needed equipment. No matter what I do, under the current rules, we will NEVER get funding for the rescue vehicle that we have requested funding for in each of the last three years. Might be our call volume, but most likely it is because the rules makers believe that a rural fire department doesn't need a rescue vehicle in their fleet. And I vehemently disagree with that rule for a multitude of reasons. I strongly believe in firefighter safety first. FEMA believes that that is suiting them in turnout gear, SCBAs, training, etc. But I believe that getting them to the scene safely each and every time in a vehicle designed for safety is a top priority. Relying on your firefighters to show up in their personal vehicles can do you a world of hurt, among them; not having an accurate head count at the time of the alarm, snarling the scene with unnecessary vehicles that might cause more accidents at an MVA scene. On the other side, but most importantly, your firefighters are being driven to the scene in a vehicle designed to catch the attention of the motoring public and reduces the risk of a POV being involved in an accident.
                            But because our request doesn't fit into the rules, it never made it to peer review. We knew it was a long shot, but hell, three years ago, a rescue vehicle wasn't even included in the first rules, so we are making headway. I will say without hesitation that a rescue van is just as important as the front line pumper. One carries your personnel; the other carries your water source. The big city boys have to realize that it is not good practice for Goober to drive himself to the fire.
                            In another thread, tmnkwd was making what I would say are inappropriate comments regarding our inadequacies and shifting blame, it's always something or someone else's fault, as if he were being attacked and defensive as a result, but I have NEVER said that the peer reviewers weren't doing a good job. I have ALWAYS had problems with some of the rules.
                            I appreciate the civil tone and your comments. But I am STILL entitled to feel crappy for not being awarded.
                            And to tmnkwd, let me say that I am going to the next fire department meeting, will take the blame squarely on my shoulders, assure the men that we will try again and hopefully be successful. I will take full responsibility; I will not shift it.
                            But I also believe that the rules should be reviewed and revised. And since vehicle requests have far exceeded the money allotted by law, then I suggest that they change the law to 50% of the total grant program.
                            CR
                            Last edited by ChiefReason; 10-01-2003, 02:33 PM.
                            Visit www.iacoj.com
                            Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
                            RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'll only disagree on a minor (ok maybe major) issue:

                              So the program is not meeting their stated objective, which is to provide for needed equipment.
                              FEMA is maybe using their definition of needed equipment based on input from the fire service analysis documents that are available in the USFA Publications web site, or other such surveys that have been conducted over the years. So they are using stereotypical needs, needs based on feedback, which are their definition, not yours, so of course there are going to be disparities between the two. But I don't think they just pulled some random priorities out from between their cheeks. On the whole, the vehicle rankings are right in line with my personal opinion on what they should be.

                              If you went for a strict rescue truck, you're in Priority 2 land for vehicles, whether you're Suburban or Rural. I could have said your chances were slim a long time ago. The only reason we got ours was high (3600/year) call volume and the fact we're parked on the edge of the 4th largest city in the country. If we were 50 miles west of where we are, I would have said we'd have no shot otherwise. Rescue-pumper on the other hand is a Priority 1 in all categories. 1000gpm pump and 500gallon tank make the pumper part, and everyone can always use another good pump. Didn't want something that big? A quick attack truck with a rescue body fits brush/light rescue of which brush is a Priority 1. Crew cab Ford or whoever's chassis and you got your people mover. Even a commerical chassis could pull off all 3 without costs going through the roof. There's more than one way to satisfy a need, and that's been my biggest point in any post all along. Think outside the box. Have someone else outside of the department analyze your operations and make recommendations for projects. That's my plan for those that have asked me for help. I don't know anything about their operations, so I'll have the best view of making a list of things that they may need. I don't disagree that everyone needs a rescue, but a rescue is just the truck that carries the jaws and other such equipment. There's more than one configuration that can do that, and most of the time more. That's the innovation and cost-benefit that they're looking for.

                              You may have very well done what I said above and still gotten canned. But maybe it would have at least gotten through to peer review so the narrative could have been read. The basic goal of any application is to make sure it at least gets to peer review.

                              And I don't think that anyone applied for something that they don't need at all. I think many applied for stuff that may not have been their number one need because they stood a better chance. I can't think of a single department that only has one need, so it's all about making the list and figuring out which one is your best chance at getting funded. And they are not always the same project.
                              Brian P. Vickers
                              www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                              Emergency Services Consulting
                              Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                              Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                              Comment

                              300x600 Ad Unit (In-View)

                              Collapse

                              Upper 300x250

                              Collapse

                              Taboola

                              Collapse

                              Leader

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X