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Grant Apathy: Harry, cut us some slack...

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  • Grant Apathy: Harry, cut us some slack...

    Do we really have an apathy problem here? I don't think so. I can't speak for anyone else, but we have been busting our tails to make sure that we get our application done right. This grant represents a chance for us to make a much needed upgrade to our PPE immediately. In the absence of grant funds, it will take years to accomplish. As such, we are taking the application extraordinarily seriously. I imagine that many departments are doing the same thing. We will be sending our app. via Express Mail tomorrow so that it is sure to get there by May 2. If the forms and rules had been available for several months prior to the application acceptance period I could see reason for concern. However, where they were only available for a short period of time before the acceptance period opened I don't think it should be any surprise that not many have been received yet.

    [This message has been edited by ffemtmjb (edited 04-19-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by ffemtmjb (edited 04-19-2001).]

  • #2
    I agree...give us a break, Harry. I think a better indication of how many applications FEMA's going to get is the over 28,000 times that the application package has been downloaded from their web site. The complete application package wasn't even available until March 30, 2001.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I work for a relatively large, fully paid fire department (483 uniformed personnel), and am currently assigned to the administrative office. We are not fortunate enough to have a "grant writer" just waiting to jump on grant opportunities to apply for. Heck...it took us a week to figure out who was going to do it once we got a look at the final rules and the complete application package.

    We're working on it...as a matter of fact, we plan to get it in the mail by close of business tomorrow (Friday, April 20, 2001.)

    In the meantime Harry....please don't make the mistake that I see so many other "educated types" make....we're not all neanderthal and lazy.


    • #3
      My city's police department, which has a larger operating budget than mine, gets grant money every year for law enforcement projects. Heck, they received a free Corvette a few years ago for DARE because a guy was selling drugs out of it!! Do I get to keep the arsonists car to use for fire prevention because he siphoned gas from the tank to start the fire?? Nope. Lets face it, the fire service in this country has never been politically active like the cops and never will be. So, were able to muster enough strength to give George W. one round of yelling and screaming when he threatened our 2002 appropriation. I bet it won't go beyond that.
      I dont expect to get any money from the Fire Act and a lot of the chiefs in my area feel the same way. $100M dollars (a whopping 10% of what law enforcement gets) sounds like a lot of money, until you divide that by 43% (full time FD share) and then again by 50 states. That leaves enough money for about 4 full time departments per state to buy one pumper. I have a completed application. There are many chiefs in the area that are sending theirs in too. Do any of them expect to receive money? Nope. I don't either.

      "There are no stupid questions, just stupid people asking questions."


      • #4
        Mr. Carter,
        Exactly how long do you think it takes a volunteer fire Chief that is already working a 40-50 hour work week to read through a 2 inch pile of paperwork that has been called "simple", figure out where his matching funds are going to come from (the spagetti supper money or the Bar-B-Que supper money), write up the grant letters by himself(since most volunteer stations definetly can't afford "grant-writers") AND still make it to all the meetings, training, and fire calls that he has in the meantime. This is if he is still single and without a family. Please tell me you are not as out of touch the the realities of the rest of the country as the DC beauracrats.

        Kevin Sink
        Fair Grove Fire Dept.
        Thomasville, NC USA
        [email protected]


        • #5
          Apathy?? I don't think so. It took the lucky few given the opportunity to comment around 4 months to decide on the rules, but if we could not get the applications filled out in a few days we are apathetic?? Come on, Mr. Carter. I saw several times that comments on the rules were wanted from all sizes and types of departments, but could not find who to contact. I tried contacting my Congressmen, and they couldn't find out who to comment to. I saw one estimate that 1,500 grant applications were expected to be approved. Have you done the math on that figure? That is an average of $60,000 per approved grant. Have you priced a new truck lately? You can buy a single Brush truck with that. A thermal imaging camera can run over $20,000. We are doing our homework out here, and it does take time. But have you done your homework, Mr. Carter? Or were you too busy lobbying for the grant to lose sight of the facts. Many of us that belong to volunteer departments work 40-50 hours a week or more, and still protect our communities. Yet if we do not have our grant proposals received in a time frame to make you happy, you visciously attack us as apathetic. And what of the departments who contacted "professional" grant writers and were told not to bother applying as no money would reach Iowa, or Idaho, or whatever state they happen to be in? We will have our grant application in well before the deadline, however we need a couple of more days. We want to be sure everything is correct before we mail it out, as the window is so tight no second chances will be allowed. I do like your commentaries most of the time, but I don't think you hit the mark this time. I share your passion for this subject, but step back and look at the total timeline. The 590 applications received by Thursday afternoon illustrates that the panic over low application numbers was hasty. The applications are being finalized and mailed in even as I reply to you. There will be many more applications in the next 2 weeks.

          Rob Farnum
          Eddyville Volunteer Fire and Rescue
          Eddyville, IA
          "always ready, always willing"


          • #6
            Apathy? I wish I could get a dollar each time I hear a fire service "leader" from the '70s or '80s complain about the fire service now. I wouldn't need a grant. These are the same people who were sitting around the firehouse then with the foresight to say "EMS, we don't need no stinking EMS. There will always be fires, and lots of 'em!!!" There is a reason that the cops have been getting tons of money every year and this is our first. The fire service leaders finally did in the year 2000 what the police service leaders did in 1980.


            • #7
              Who is this guy, Carter?
              Sounds to me like he is just another DISCONNECTED POLITCIAN. Claiming to be trying to help the little guy and when they can't jump through the hoops in the time frame set up, what 32 days, what planet is he from? Cry about all the time he spent on it BOOHOO. Wait till the money doesn't get spent because YOU didn't fill out one form right!! But you will probably never know why your application was denied so the next time you can use a different strategy. Wait till ya don't pat him on the back. But it sounds like he can pat himself on the back pretty well maybe he won't need you to. Just like a liberal to immediately start to blame others and start the name calling.
              "asinine? laziness? the federal tavern?"
              Something about being scared that you will get turned down?

              I wonder if this will be like other federal programs. If it don't work throw more money at it!

              I have filled out grant applications before but not any federal applications. Most of them will at least give you a 6 mo. time frame to fill them out. How about those of you that have never seen a grant application. They are ALL so simple HAHAHAHA! Now I know most of you don't have anything else to do, right?
              This guy is an idiot.

              These are my opinions and not those of any organization I am connected with.


              • #8
                I certainly hope that the reason for the low #s at Emmitsburg is due to the companies making sure the application is absolutely correct. I do agree with Mr. Carter as I know first hand that everyone talks at the monthly meeting about how they want the money and how we could use it, ESPECIALLY the CHIEF, but you cant find them when you need assistance with the application! Godspeed to all of you out there who have taken the initiative to handle this endeavor for your company and I hope you get the recognition you deserve.


                • #9
                  Give us a break. A 32 day window is tough to meet when you have never done a federal grant before. We didn't have the narrative written and waiting for the final forms because you can't answer the questions until you know what they are.

                  Our department and several other local VFDs will have applications sent this week. I expect there will be a flood arriving at Emmitsberg over the next few days.

                  The reviewers will have their work cut out for them.

                  At least we know what to expect for next year.


                  • #10
                    I just had to add another post. I see the number of applications now stands at almost 2000. I think this goes to show that people were being diligent in properly filling out the forms, and not just throwing something together. I, for one, would like for Mr. Carter to issue an apology for jumping to conclusions and not being impartial in seeing the situation. If not, fine, we know what we have done. Kudos to all of you who have put in the time and effort to producing a quality app. rather than just sending in large numbers to satisfy Mr. Carter.


                    • #11
                      OUT OF TOUCH!?!?! Mr. Cater seems to be way beyond that. He harps about deadlines and the review process, why wasn't the process and timeline followed to get this information to us quicker. Those of us reading this are fortunate, we have the internet to bring this information to us quicker. Many of our brothers and sisters out there in this day and age are still not as fortunate. Yeah my grant application is going to get there near the end of the application process. Was I being lazy, apathetic, arrogant or any of the fine descriptive words Mr. Carter bestowed on us? NO! I was making sure I followed the process, presenting it to my city council for review and approval of the matching funds, finalizing the paper work, making sure I had all the copies made they wanted, checking and double checking my information, following suggestions for improving my chances and anything else I could think of to make our application successful. Why? Because I DO want some of that money. Do I think I'll get it? I'm not sure. But I bet the more requests we have the better our chances of keeping this funding in the future. If I don't get it will I try next year? DAMN SKIPPY!! Maybe Mr. Carter can work with all of his Washington buddies to get their sh*t together and give us more time to prepare out here in the REAL WORLD next year!

                      [This message has been edited by Chiefkeo (edited 04-26-2001).]


                      • #12
                        Everybody who has posted here has been on Harry's case about his editorial about "Fire Grant Apathy".

                        I have a different view....

                        1. We all knew that the first year of the act was funded. Yes the timeframe for submitting the grant applications was real "short notice" , as firefighters we should be used to that by now! That's what happens when bureaucrats handle the decisions that firefighters should be making. If firefighters were in charge of puttng together the application package, it would have followed the KISS protocol.
                        We had a few months to fine tune our requests before the paperwork came out!

                        2. Every fire chief has a "wish list" for their Department. Some of these wish lists are attainable, others are "pie in the sky".
                        We have had plenty of time to determine what we need to have, what's nice to have, and what we could do if we had that! Prioritize, ladies and gentlemen!

                        3. In reference to "professional grant writers"...there are lots of resources for getting information on how to write nartratives for and apply for grants. Ever think of contacting the School Administration and the Police Departments for your community? They write and receive grants all the time. It's not "rocket science"...it's putting your ideas and visions into clear and concise context to obtain funding from grant programs.

                        I have written grant request narratives for our public fire education program in the schools and the State's firefighter equipment grants. I am not a professional grant writer...just a firefighting professional who can write grant requests!

                        Firefighters: rising to accept the challenge!
                        Captain Gonzo

                        [This message has been edited by Captain Gonzo (edited 04-26-2001).]


                        • #13
                          Does Mr Carter think it was his editorial that spurred us to now have almost 4000 grant applications? I would be surprised if it doesn't reach 10,000. Mr Carter says he has several writing styles. Well in my opinion
                          he didn't use any in that commentary.


                          • #14
                            Take a breath Mr Carter, we are typing as fast as we can.

                            It appears that you are as interested in patting yourself on the back as slamming the already overworked fire service. Please don't think for a minute that your article leading us out to the whipping post motivated anyone. I was already typing.

                            you were involved in the "actual" fire service at one time right? Did things happen in a week? Nope.

                            We sent our grant application in this very day. After many long nights by a few committed new grant writers.

                            Thank you for your help. We need it. But relax we ARE doing our part.

                            I and thousands of my hard working brothers and sisters will gladly accept your apology when the number of grant applications reach 15,000 at:

                            [email protected]



                            • #15
                              Well Harry, don't break your arm patting yourself on the back for motivating the fire service to submit grant applications. I doubt your ranting had much to do with it but here is a challenge to "prove" yourself.

                              Using your own example, tell me what percentage of tax returns the IRS gets in the last two weeks before the mid-April deadline. Don't include all returns - JUST THOSE WHO ARE GETTING REFUNDS.

                              This is not a trick question and I don't know the answer. I'm willing to make a bet on human nature. If more than 25% of the returns are filed before April 1st, I will buy you lunch at this year's Fire Expo in Baltimore. If less than 25% are filed before April 1st, you owe the fire service an apology.


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