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A Little Perplexed in Texas

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  • A Little Perplexed in Texas

    I am a little perplexed at the lack of funding for TX departments. I know and believe, that the Fire Service is universal, so any department anywhere that gets something to do the job safer and better is great so no problem there. However, when you compare TX to say PA and it is a nearly 2/1 awarding ratio, it makes we wonder. Texas departments get almost 0 state funding and at best 20% of an operating budget of a city or town if fortunate enough to live in an area with a tax base that can support one (operating budget). As a department that can no longer accept new volunteer membership because we do not have enough bunker gear to issue and has a tender that is a refurbed garbage truck, we are despartely needing this grant (bunker gear and SCBA). I really felt we woud be a Round 1 or 2 grantee but so far nothing. I just wonder what we and other departments around us are doing wrong, if anything. When I only see 3 or 4 grants for the third largest state in the union, in the latest round, I again wonder what's the issue. Any suggestions welcome.

  • #2
    I hate to state the obvious, but you have to be “in it to win it”. I wonder if TX dept’s apply at the same rate? (Brian, do you know?)

    Is there a way to get the information out to every fire dept? Is there a state-wide publication? For example, NY has the Volunteer Firefighter (from membership with FASNY) and PA has the Pennsylvania Fireman.

    PA also has a very strong fire “lobby”, starting of course with soon-to-be-former Congressman Curt Weldon. There is also their state version of the Congressional Fire Services Institute -- PA Fire and Emergency Services Institute -- http://www.pfesi.org/.

    At one point, some TX fire officials had asked for Weldon's help in setting up a similar group in TX, I don't know how they've progressed on it.
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
    -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

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    • #3
      Thanks

      I appreciate the info. We have a very supportive congressman, who allowed me to use one of his aids to review the grant (all i's dotted and t's crossed) plus his letter of support. However, an organized PAC may be what it takes to get more support down here. I can't tell you the number of applications around the state, only in my area, and it is very high, and so far none have been funded. Again, thanks for the reply.

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      • #4
        I had this feeling someone was going to need statistics today.

        PA has 1736 apps this year to TX's 712. So for the award ratio to be only 2:1, TX is winning the awards per app race. In past years TX has usually been a lot closer to 1000 than this. In 2002 is was PA-1581 to TX-867, 2003 PA-1668, TX-844, 2004 PA-1778, TX-895, 2005 PA-1939, TX-828.

        Consistently PA has put in around 10% of the total number of applications, and has consistently received around 10% of the applications. After all, PA has the most FDs in the country at over 3000. And they also have a lot more poor ones than you would think. I know a lot that would kill for 20% of their town's budget, but get less than 1%. Some get no input from the area they serve, it's all donations. And it's not just PA, lots of FDs are in the same boat everywhere.

        TX hasn't gotten anywhere with a similar organization. State Fireman's & Fire Marshal's Organization is the volunteer FF entity for the state, TX Commission is the career entity for the state. I know both have "lobbyists" but haven't checked up on how many or what they're working towards. They both have newsletters by email and in print that go out periodically to dang near every FF in the state, but I still keep finding departments that have either never heard of AFG or never applied.

        As Diane said, if you don't ask, you won't get. And a lot of states aren't asking.

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

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        • #5
          Oh, and McDuff as nice as it is to get those Letters of Support don't count for squat in scoring just in case you thought that. But we all still need to put them in to make the Congressfolk aware of the program and the needs so they'll put more money in the program.
          Brian P. Vickers
          www.vickersconsultingservices.com
          Emergency Services Consulting
          Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
          Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by BC79er View Post
            Oh, and McDuff as nice as it is to get those Letters of Support don't count for squat in scoring just in case you thought that. But we all still need to put them in to make the Congressfolk aware of the program and the needs so they'll put more money in the program.
            THANK YOU for adding that!
            "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
            -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

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            • #7
              Brian,

              Thanks for the info. By the way you have already received a call from one of my officers about using your services. We definitely have some work to do in the Texas area.

              McDuff

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              • #8
                10-4K. Just fire the paperwork in my direction when y'all are done and we'll see about re-directing some of Uncle Sam's dough down this way.
                Brian P. Vickers
                www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                Emergency Services Consulting
                Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                Comment

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