1. #1
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    Default FEMA Has Met Most Requirements for Awarding Fire Grants, but...

    A GOA report (Highlights) can be found at http://firehouse.com/GAOgrantreview.pdf

    The full report can be found at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1064.pdf

    The report shows that the FEMA has done a good job of awarding AFG grants, but like any agency improvements can be made.

    3 recommendations:

    1) Establish a tracking procedure for EMS awards.

    2) Ensure grant priorites are aligned with application questions & scoring values.

    3) Provide specifc feedback to rejected applicants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle View Post
    A GOA report (Highlights) can be found at http://firehouse.com/GAOgrantreview.pdf

    The full report can be found at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1064.pdf

    The report shows that the FEMA has done a good job of awarding AFG grants, but like any agency improvements can be made.

    3 recommendations:

    1) Establish a tracking procedure for EMS awards.

    2) Ensure grant priorites are aligned with application questions & scoring values.

    3) Provide specifc feedback to rejected applicants.
    Amen to point number 3. That would help a lot.

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    I read the Firehouse.com article not the more in depth one Andy supplied. Now did I misunderstand or did the applicants getting DJ's say that FEMA's explanation for the DJ wasn't helpful enough?

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    I can't speak for everyone but mine was quite vague... I have been asking for a replacement of a 1977 tanker (water tender) for the past 3 years. Last year's letter says (to paraphrase)

    vehicle safety factor (apparently my vehicle wasn't unsafe enough because I did state we would have it permanently removed from service.)

    vehicle call volume (the bigger and / or higher volume departments come first)

    marginal value derived from an additional vehicle of a given type (since I'm rural, I have to carry the water I need for firefighting)

    My demographics at a glance: 20 square miles of fire district and protection district covering approximately 2500 residents, no industry, commercial tax base, and a $70,000.00 annual operating budget (homeowners pick up the whole shebang). We have a 2002 1250 gpm pumper with 1,000 water, a 1978 1000 gpm pumper with 1,000 water, a 1980 medium rescue (no pump or tank) and the 1977 tanker with 1,500 water. The pump on the tanker is a aircraft fuel transfer pump (not rated for fire service) We averaged 36 calls per year (last year we had a nasty ice storm that almost doubled us - 68 calls) and thankfully not many were actual fire type calls because one pumper sets up at the pond, one pumper attacks the fire and the tanker (may) just work today - effectively 1,000 gallons of water for fire suppression until the tanker runs...

    The letter was very informative on quoting the program guidance sections where they deemed me to be lacking in. Didn't really explain HOW I was lacking or how I could improve my chances... Not a lot of help in my case - I was more confused after reading it...

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    Of all of the DJ's the last type "You scored well, but not high enough to be funded; if funds become available there is a chance to be funded in supplemental rounds" as the most fustrating. This DJ I believe should provide a ranking to the applicants to make an informed decision on whether to apply for the same project again or do a new one.

    There have been too many projects reapplied for that were ultimately funded in a supplemental round....meaning the department lost a year.

    If ranked #1 you know that it's extremely likely to be funded (no guarantee)based on previous years and can submit a new project. Ranked 500 not likely to be funded revamp the current project.

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    Even more frustrating is the computer DJ. You have no idea what caused the computer to kick your app. Was it call volume or did you ask for too high a $$ amount & throw the cost benefit ratio out of whack ?
    From past experience it seem that our demographics and call volume supports asking for a certain dollar amount threshold. We have 3 AFG' ops & equipment grants that have all been in the same $$ range and been approved. The years where we asked for higher amounts were comp dj.

    Last year we were in the "scored high enough but just out of the money group in the initial Safer rounds , only to get funded this summer after almost giving up hope on a R+R app.

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    Computer DJs are easier to see, it's simply a matter of others had higher numbers during this application period. On medic's the existence of the 2002 pumper and 36 calls a year makes anyone over 40 runs a year score higher under identical statistics in all other categories.

    If they had a scantron type sheet for feedback from reviewers that might not slow down the process much and give a little hint as to their thoughts. Something like a range of 1 to 10 on each section with a "convinced/not convinced" rating at each end to indicate whether or not they bought the story in that portion of the narrative. Or a "not addressed" part. Something to indicate how well that section was bulletproofed (or not) in the argument.

    The tough part with feedback is that it depends on the reader, and also depends on the year. Since half the apps change at minimum every year the players in the game are all different. Feedback would vary by year. Hence the reason we have some that get the "excess fund" DJs one year and then kicked out first the next. It's hard to truly be consistent with humans in the middle of a semi-automated system.

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    Weren't the Grants originally supposed to be for helping Departments with their "needs"? When did it turn in to asking for a project that has the best chance of winning?
    "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?

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    Not sure I understand the question since it sounds like you don't think that's what people are doing. The idea is ask for the need that most closely matches the priorities, aka ask for the one that has the best chance of being funded out of the list of needs that are eligible to apply for. So while everyone needs PPE, SCBA, a solid pumper, pick the one with the greatest chance of being funded. Doesn't mean the ones not picked aren't needs.

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