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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Select board/ has taken this job is to politician problems

    Normally, i would hesitate to ask a question that may have been asked many times before, but i find myself, and my department in a situation that can only be described as a political cluster***k. I am a new guy to the volunteer dept in my area of rural vt. I have been associated withthe dept in one fashion or another for the past 4 years, and decided to join in full capacity about 8 months ago. i am currently the principal truck painter, vehicle maintenance man, ****ing match mediator, and voice of reason regarding some of the most ridiculous ideas that come from some of our members. along with all of these things, i have now been tasked witht the writing of grants for our dept, which needs any and all funding to replace all of the worn out, inoperative, dangerous, or outright broken equipment we have. our current grant writer is a politician, and it is my feeling that the only reason he has taken this job is to have something that may look good to his constituents. he is, in all respects, completely ineffective. my problem is that i know absolutely nothing of grant writing, political doings, or the workings of the federal-level systems rrelated to funding. he has refiused to teach me anything, as i have made it clear to him that i fully intend on replacing him as the grant writer, and that in order to be more effective than him, i would at the very most have to fundraise the money for one set of turnout gear with a bbq chicken sale at the local county fair. any help would be appreciated, and i apologize if this is a subject answered all-too often


  2. #2
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    Good Statement.
    I knew nothing about grants last year. Our previous chief took care of all our grants. When he left the department I was thrown into writing the AFG grant applications. All I can say is attend a workshop that DHS puts on, It's free. Then try to attend one of Kurt's classes. This guy know's what he's talking about. I was unable to attend his grant writing classes, but he spent time reviewing previous applications to found out what we did wrong and what we could fix. After writing my first grant last year we we're awarded a 2009 3,000 tanker.

    Best of Luck
    http://www.crawdsnrods.com
    Elgin Fire Dept. Fundraiser
    Win a Custom Chopper!

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber WJVaughn's Avatar
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    Irons another big point here is not to ask fo everything at once. Brian, Kurt and several other of the big hitters in here will tell you that ask for things one or two at a time. if you ask for everything at once it brings your overall scores down. if you need full gear, airpacks, hose etc. Just group the same things together and do it a project at a time. Takes a while but makes it easier to get.

  4. #4
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    Well, you've started off on the right foot coming in here. There's definitely a lot to be learned just in the forums. You can learn more by attending Brian or Kurt's seminars (I've done both and have learned a considerable amount from both of them).

    The next round of AFG doesn't start for a while, so now is a good time to start planning. Figure out what you need first; brainstorm, get with other guys, get with the chief, form a committee, whatever it takes. Make sure to prioritize what you need, as well.

    Like WJVaughn said, don't ask for a bunch of things all in one application. I've managed clustering like items, like a PPE project (SCBA, RIT, and bunker gear) and a water supply project (drafting equipment, LDH, adapters, etc). However, you don't want to ask for water supply AND PPE, as it muddies the water. If you need both, identify which one you need worse and go for it.

    Also, a good starting point for AFG is to peruse through the most recent guidance document. They don't change much between years, so there's no need to wait until it's released just before the application period. It'll also tell you what you need to put in the grant, as well as what format.

    Once you have some idea of what's going on and what you want, see if some guys will help you out by giving examples of their past narratives. Most guys on here are more than willing to help out, so long as you don't plagiarize. See how they lay things out and how they describe things. It also doesn't hurt to see narratives that have been denied, as you can learn where something was missed or any other deficiencies that kept it from being awarded.

    And make sure you keep an eye on this forum. It's probably the most productive and useful on Firehouse.com.

  5. #5
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    current grant writer is a politician, and it is my feeling that the only reason he has taken this job is to have something that may look good to his constituents. he is, in all respects, completely ineffective

    So in other words, he doesn't have anything to teach you?

    Spend some time here, pull up old threads and ask questions in appropriate thread (don't be afraid to reincarnate an old line) or start a new one. And if the local/state "experts" have not actually written successful fire grants ignore them.

    For local grants turn over every rock you can find/think of. Much potential our there.

    And go get some DOD surplus FFP or FEPP equipment and put it to work.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Res343cue's Avatar
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    Brother, where in Vermont are you?

    I can help you out. I'm local to Southern VT, but I work all over the state.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

    I A C O J
    FTM-PTB


    Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only. I do not use Firehouse.Com for promotional purposes.

  7. #7
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    Default Read the AFG Guidance Documents

    My number one piece of advice would be to read the entire AFG guidance documents from the past few years from cover to cover. That will give you a very good understanding of how the program works and what they're looking for. You can find the guidance documents here:

    http://www.firegrantsupport.com/afg/guidance/

    Next step would be to do some kind of risk assessment and figure out the top five items you need, and see how those compare to the priorities listed in the guidance documents. Find the top match, and start with that. PPE is always going to be the highest priority and has the highest probability of success, but if you have brand new PPE then that's not a smart thing to apply for. Here's a tool I put together to help with risk assessment:

    http://radioetcetera.googlepages.com/riskassessment

    From there, you'll need to start gathering all of the data needed for the application. If you want an example of an application just let me know and I can send you ours from last year so you have an idea of what kind of information they'll be looking for. Finally you'll have to put together a narrative, and for that there's always lots of people on here willing to share successful narratives and offer advice. Avoid the temptation to copy and paste someone else's narrative. It has to be tailored to your department...why do you need this equipment? Why can't you pay for it on your own? etc. etc.

    Andy

  8. #8
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    since your starting from scratch anyways change the password.
    This way he'll have to come to you and If not sounds like you're on your own ( besides us on the forums). Good luck and ask any question you have were here to help.

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber ktb9780's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needbiggerirons View Post
    my problem is that i know absolutely nothing of grant writing, political doings, or the workings of the federal-level systems rrelated to funding.
    Not sure where oyu are at guy but, I have smeinars all over the country going on now and all the way till March of 2010. Give me a shout or check my seminar training scheudle at http://www.homelanddefensejournal.co...t-training.asp
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

  10. #10
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    First thing, realize that you sound exactly like a lot of newly appointed grant writers that have been in this exact same position. Maybe not replacing the politician, but being dropped into the position of grant writing without any experience. However you started off right by appearing on this forum. A lot of guidance here and you have already received some invaluable advice so I will elaborate one of them. Get to a grant writing class and emphasis to your department that they must fund that trip. Your previous politician grant writer is probably used to a different breed of grants that are apart from the competitive ones. We too have experienced those that have written grants who end up discovering what they had done before did not translate well to the AFG style grants. It is good that you have some years of fire service as it is better to have your grant writing done by one in the department as they know your department better than one from the outside.
    We will look forward to your progress.

  11. #11
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    Default update

    you guys are effing awesome. i proposed to the chief to educate me in writing grants, he brought it up to our current grant writer and informed me that this would not be an option; he would not be replaced. looks like im on my own on this one, i have the backing of all of my dept with the exception of our politician and one of our liuetenants. the ppe we are running is junk, that will be the first priority, and some of the old scott packs leak so badlly that you get 17 min of breathing after filling it on-scene off the cascade system. im not here really to complain and bother others with dept issues, more on the help with the grant writing. thanks you guys very much, i will be bugging you in the future

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber ktb9780's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needbiggerirons View Post
    you guys are effing awesome. i proposed to the chief to educate me in writing grants, he brought it up to our current grant writer and informed me that this would not be an option; he would not be replaced. looks like im on my own on this one, i have the backing of all of my dept with the exception of our politician and one of our liuetenants. the ppe we are running is junk, that will be the first priority, and some of the old scott packs leak so badlly that you get 17 min of breathing after filling it on-scene off the cascade system. im not here really to complain and bother others with dept issues, more on the help with the grant writing. thanks you guys very much, i will be bugging you in the future

    Wow, I wonder what the exisiting grant writers "win rate" is. Sounds as though he is a bit job scared! Wonder how many AFG awards he has won, since the program has been aorund for 10 years I would guess his efficiency rating is about "0" in that field. It sounds as though you have a tough "row to harrow" with your administration. Before you go to work trying this on for size, I would be asking if the guy is going to let you have access to the application and if the Chief will even be allowed to sign off on a grant that you have done vs their "annointed one" that is dismally failing.Oh well, we are here to help when and where we can guy, good luck.
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by needbiggerirons View Post
    you guys are effing awesome. i proposed to the chief to educate me in writing grants, he brought it up to our current grant writer and informed me that this would not be an option; he would not be replaced. looks like im on my own on this one, i have the backing of all of my dept with the exception of our politician and one of our liuetenants. the ppe we are running is junk, that will be the first priority, and some of the old scott packs leak so badlly that you get 17 min of breathing after filling it on-scene off the cascade system. im not here really to complain and bother others with dept issues, more on the help with the grant writing. thanks you guys very much, i will be bugging you in the future
    Sounds like your grantwriter is threatened by someone actually wanting to be successful! Good for you! How does the chief, or whoever may be the final authority, feel about it? If nothing else, perhaps you should just write a grant and present it to the chief and show him what you can do compared to the guy doing it. If he's as bad as he sounds, it shouldn't take much.

    As far as your SCBA, I've got to ask, have you tried repairing them? A lot of time leaks on a Scott 2.2 or newer are simply o-rings. It may be something you guys can fix in-house for just a couple bucks each pack. Not to say you don't have antiquated equipment that you could potentially replace (depends on the age of the packs), but there's no sense having a pack that doesn't work if it's something simple to fix.

  14. #14
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    One thing to watch out for... make sure you BOTH don't apply for grants. If the system sees two applications from the same department (with the exception of one vehicle grant and one equipment grant) then both will be rejected, and you're no better off. It's politics, and it isn't right, but someone is going to have to make the decision as to "who" is applying, and if the chief is saying the politician is the one to write it, then you need to either change his mind or get the department to vote to change it. Ideally, of course, working together would be the way to go. Maybe you can suggest you apply for the grant and the politician "proofreads" the application. That way, you have a better chance of getting the award, the politican gets to puff out his chest and says "I was instrumental in procuring a grant..." and you get new stuff. It's not important who gets the credit- as long as you get safer gear!

    At least that's what I think... I know real life it more complicated

  15. #15
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    Angry okay.....here we go

    talked to some of the guys yesterday, looks as if as political coup is brewing in the lower ranks. most of the guys are fed up with the lack of ppe, etc(3 of our interior guys dont have nomex hoods, so we have to swap with them in order to have fresh men inside), and are planning to go to the select board. we've been doing our research, and have come to the conclusion that our leadership(the financing and purchasing element) is no longer effective and must be replaced in order to keep people from getting killed and our neighbors losing houses. so i had a "friendly chat" with our politician, reminded him in my best p.c. tone that the one group of people you dont f*** with is the good ole boys, and informed him that his services would no longer be needed. i have a private meeting with the select board on thurs, and will be bringing with me the folder full of UNSUBMITTED WRITTEN GRANTS that were recovered from his office by his secretary(who happens tho be a fellow ff's wife). no wonder the success rate is nonexistent. apparently, all the credit for grant writing has been falsely earned. ii have the backing of the chief, and about 80 percent of the depatment members(the ones that matter anyways), so let the ffun begin. i'll do my best to keep you guys updated, and like i said before, i will be back to pick brains. thank you all so much

  16. #16
    Forum Member Res343cue's Avatar
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    Brother - send me a private message on here, and I'll visit to give you a hand with some grant information.

    I'm in Springfield, so I can't imagine you are too far. I quite often head over towards Bennington, so I could make a "working" trip out of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

    I A C O J
    FTM-PTB


    Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only. I do not use Firehouse.Com for promotional purposes.

  17. #17
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    Default re-up

    cant send pms says the profile page. email is needbiggerirons @yahoo.com try me there, itll be easier. many thanks

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