1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott554 View Post
    has anyone heard of doing a performance bid on radio equipment? It's supposedly where you tell the vendors how it has to perform. example, the radio has to recieve and transmit from location X. then the vendor bids what ever system they think or knows will perform that function. I personnel don't see how this is a good thing as you don't get the best price cause your not compairing apples to apples. And would AFG allow this kind of bid?
    Any communications system bid should have a performance clause as a final acceptance requirement. If it doesn't work as advertised , "We " don't pay! Thats why we required a performance bond from the successful vendor.
    Too many salesmen have promised the world and then not been able to to deliver a working functional comm system when it was tested out prior to final acceptance by the customer.

    Thats the kind of information you need to develop before you go out to bid. In our case we had known dead zones and weak spots that portables couldn't make the repeater open so they required a relay to a more powerful mobile in the apparatus. We mapped out these poor reception zones and did an RF study to determine where we needed voted receivers, & where to place the main repeater to get the best coverage improvements.

    Our RFP stated the required coverage and it was up to the vendor to determine how to make it work. We spent several years doing these studies and driving around and accurately mapping all the "dead" spots so we had a very precise map in order to determine what improvements needed to be made to the system.

    Think in the scale of a complete solution to your communication problems , not just putting new portables in the hands of firefighters or apparatus. Don't forget the requirements to be narrowband by 2013 , and the need to replace all of your older pagers also. They will work but will have a weaker received signal and reduced volume.

    You also need to meet the requirements of your states communications interoperability plan. Somewhere in your state govt. is someone that will have to approve your grant request before it's funded by AFG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    You also need to meet the requirements of your states communications interoperability plan. Somewhere in your state govt. is someone that will have to approve your grant request before it's funded by AFG.
    You just need to make sure whoever is in charge at your state will allow the grant to go through. There are so many awards funded each year to agencies to purchase radios that are not compliant to our state's interoperability plan it's ridiculous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle View Post
    Jim,

    Did someone at the Fed level prohibit you from using the state contract pricing? State contract/bid pricing is acceptable as all of the ground work has been completed. Sometimes sending the project out to bid vs. state pricing may provide better pricing though.

    We use state bid pricing for everything except apparatus. I tend to get better pricing vs. state bid price as I'll request quotes from multiple vendors on that list.

    The same with the HRT that had a reduction. All said and done the final pricing came in below state bid prices; instead of making up the shortage due to the reduction ended up with excess funds.
    This was discussed about a month ago.

    I got a phone call from my regional GMS. (I later found out from a vendor the next day that the regional rep had contacted some other awardees about this same topic.) the GMS wanted to relay to the awardees FEMAs 'strong' preference to secure bids on equipment awards. Including regional communications awards. I asked him why and he said, because FEMA had become aware that some of these state pricing contracts were as old as three years or older and that bigger discounts may be available and prices may have dropped. (Go Figure?!?!) That I could still be compliant within the guidelines if I went with state contract pricing if I chose, but FEMA still preferred a bidding process. I said why doesn't FEMA just come straight out and say that they want the lowest pricing available then?
    I was under the impression that if state contract pricing was available, and you were allowed to purchase equipment that way, you would be compliant to AFG. Because I was told, the state governments, FEMA, manufacturers and others went to a lot of time, effort and expense to get these discounted prices set so a bidding process would not have to be done every time a purchase was made. My regional rep said FEMA looked at state contract pricing for when they purchase items like toilet paper or items they consume often.

    Anyway it was an in depth discussion with the intent that they wanted me to solicite bids. So i did, its over and some vendors are not going to be happy in the end. Probably make it harder for he next awardee to get quotes from the vendors that got burned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jam24u View Post

    Just something that is gnawing on me a little. I'm sure FEMA will understand. Would be like they getting all the information from USA manufacturers and then selecting Chinese products.

    Going to be VERY tough to put together a radio system with only USA Made products.

    Even those that claim to be USA made, often have the boards made in other countries, the case in another, the batteries in yet another, and the final assembly in the US.

    Datron would be one.

    What would you do with companies that are in the US, but owned by groups in other countries?

    It is a tangled web....

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    I agree with a performance clause as a final acceptance requirement. But as jam24u stated FEMA wants the lowest price. When vendors are bidding different solutions (exp single site system compared to a multisite or simulcast system) the price on the single site will probably be less but coverage with portables might only be 1 or 2% less also. How do you address this with FEMA if you choose a multisite that cost more but in lets say and ice storm you have better coverage, but day to day there about the same is FEMA going to want the less expensive? This may not be a problem do to our state wants the new system to do 12.5khz and 6.25 khz digital and be non-proprietary. I think this will eliminate simulcast systems. The 2013 narrowband requirement is why we are replacing our system and that is 16 years old and has issues. We want to replace everything from dispatch to the firefighters, Basically a complete system. We have spoke with our states radio guy and have to meet certain criteria, but this shouldn’t be a problem.

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    Talking What's a khz?

    The vendors who help you with the equipment selction to meet your needs should be familiar with what is needed and be compliant with your state SCIP.

    If the system works, it works. If you've got the equipment suggested by the vendors and state communications gurus and all the codeing and frequencies entered properly, who cares then. Day to day, as long as you can talk with your own department and second your mutual aid partners, you got 95% of your required use accomplished. They say communicating with state agencies is always the hardest, because they seem to screw it up more. Are way less organized. Do not worry so much about them after you get your approval from you SAA.

    By the way. What's a khz anyway? LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by scott554 View Post
    I agree with a performance clause as a final acceptance requirement. But as jam24u stated FEMA wants the lowest price. When vendors are bidding different solutions (exp single site system compared to a multisite or simulcast system) the price on the single site will probably be less but coverage with portables might only be 1 or 2% less also. How do you address this with FEMA if you choose a multisite that cost more but in lets say and ice storm you have better coverage, but day to day there about the same is FEMA going to want the less expensive? This may not be a problem do to our state wants the new system to do 12.5khz and 6.25 khz digital and be non-proprietary. I think this will eliminate simulcast systems. The 2013 narrowband requirement is why we are replacing our system and that is 16 years old and has issues. We want to replace everything from dispatch to the firefighters, Basically a complete system. We have spoke with our states radio guy and have to meet certain criteria, but this shouldn’t be a problem.
    While FEMA may hint at getting the lowest price, They also want to buy a system with AFG funds that works. There were a couple of regional comm grants earlier that were well funded and after installation and testing were found to be severely lacking in performance. One was extended into year two and still not functioning properly. I heard they scrapped the original vendor and had to go with a different system to get it to work. Engineering a proper radio system is difficult if the background work is not done properly.
    Too easy for a sales rep to say: If you got a million $$$$$$$ we can make it work!

    Unless the vendor knows your local area and the quirks of geographic issues, they can really screw the pooch when doing a system design.

    I know of one town where when they opened bids, they received 3 that followed what had been requested in the RFP, and one from a M ajor manufacturer that proposed a 800 digital trunking system. The only problem::: there was no one within a hundred miles that was using 800 mhz. kind of blows interoperability out the window. Kinda makes you wonder if that vendor even read the RFP or just saw how much $$$ they had to spend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    Too easy for a sales rep to say: If you got a million $$$$$$$ we can make it work!
    There is a 2006 AFG award for $1,000,000 that has never been touched because of a mess of issues with radio vendors!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLY4420 View Post
    There is a 2006 AFG award for $1,000,000 that has never been touched because of a mess of issues with radio vendors!
    Thats the one i was referring to. I was trying to be vague.

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    Does the M ajor mean what I think it means?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jam24u View Post
    Does the M ajor mean what I think it means?
    I can neither confirm nor deny any facts relevant to the case :-}

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    I can neither confirm nor deny any facts relevant to the case :-}
    The problem is - the other major manufacturer, of the only two that routinely do major systems, is just as bad. Has been since the old days.

    Never ever trust the sales person. No matter how much you want to. No matter how good they sound.

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    Default help needed

    Guys,

    lookinf at doing regional grant in our county, to upgrade our enitre system to meet the upcoming narrow band requirements. Any helpful narrative would be greatly appreciated. please send to tmartinwp05@yahoo.com

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    With the AFG grant, If we are awarded a regional communications grant and we are the host department are the following statements true?
    1. we are the responsible party if audited
    2. we are the responsible party for advertising for bids and bid opening or would the county do to they are the ones putting up the 10%?
    3. once awarded and the grant is closed out the equipment be comes our Countys equipment and thier responsiblity?
    4. we are responsible for issuing all equipment and making sure everything is followed as stated in the grant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    The problem is - the other major manufacturer, of the only two that routinely do major systems, is just as bad. Has been since the old days.

    Never ever trust the sales person. No matter how much you want to. No matter how good they sound.
    Truer words never spoken islandfire. Trust your own eyes and ears. Start planning your project well in advance and then ask for references and go see the system in use for yourself. Be sure you are getting an apples to apples comparison.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Quote Originally Posted by scott554 View Post
    With the AFG grant, If we are awarded a regional communications grant and we are the host department are the following statements true?
    1. we are the responsible party if audited
    2. we are the responsible party for advertising for bids and bid opening or would the county do to they are the ones putting up the 10%?
    3. once awarded and the grant is closed out the equipment be comes our Countys equipment and thier responsiblity?
    4. we are responsible for issuing all equipment and making sure everything is followed as stated in the grant.
    scot554:

    1.) You are responsible to maintain the records and account for the money
    2.) A committee from amongst the program partners is desirable, that way you get buy-in from everyone and no room for complaining later
    3.) The equipment becomes the property of the participants in the grant. In order to be a regional grant AFG PG specifies that "multiple seats of government" must be served in order to be a "regional" application. As such the equipment is distributed to each department and at the end of performance period and reporting the equipment becomes the property of the agency that it was issued to.
    4.) Once again yes, as the host agency your responsibility is to be sure the equipment is distributed correctly, maintained and accounted for as far as inventory control is concerned

    Glad to help!
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Quote Originally Posted by ktb9780 View Post
    scot554:

    1.) You are responsible to maintain the records and account for the money
    2.) A committee from amongst the program partners is desirable, that way you get buy-in from everyone and no room for complaining later
    3.) The equipment becomes the property of the participants in the grant. In order to be a regional grant AFG PG specifies that "multiple seats of government" must be served in order to be a "regional" application. As such the equipment is distributed to each department and at the end of performance period and reporting the equipment becomes the property of the agency that it was issued to.
    4.) Once again yes, as the host agency your responsibility is to be sure the equipment is distributed correctly, maintained and accounted for as far as inventory control is concerned

    Glad to help!
    Thank you.

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    Also remember that a County is not an eligible applicant for a regional project. I think I understand what you are trying to do, but remove the "county" from any part of the award to avoid any conflict.

    In order to apply for a regional project, the host organization must:
    1) be an eligible applicant, (i.e., either a fire department or a nonaffiliated EMS
    organization – a county, county association, city, or an emergency
    management organization is not eligible and could not apply for a regional
    project)


    A county fire department applying for a countywide communications
    system is NOT a regional project because it does not benefit multiple “seats-of-government.”

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    A county can apply on behalf of the separate departments under it, but then that takes the place of the individual grants that could be submitted. Since the stats are regional and a department can be part of as many regionals as they want as long as they don't overlap in request, no reason to have the county host anyway. Only reason to do that is for FP apps since there is no regional statistic capabilities in the application. Also can remove matching requirements sometimes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLY4420 View Post
    Also remember that a County is not an eligible applicant for a regional project. I think I understand what you are trying to do, but remove the "county" from any part of the award to avoid any conflict.

    In order to apply for a regional project, the host organization must:
    1) be an eligible applicant, (i.e., either a fire department or a nonaffiliated EMS
    organization – a county, county association, city, or an emergency
    management organization is not eligible and could not apply for a regional
    project)


    A county fire department applying for a countywide communications
    system is NOT a regional project because it does not benefit multiple “seats-of-government.”
    I'm confused, my department will be the host and it would benefit 9 other departments but who actual would be the owner of the, let say repeters, and the equipment at the dispatch center?

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    The host would "own" it all in the sense that you would be responsible for knowing the location of all equipment at all times, ensuring that it is being used for the intended purpose. Usually that sort of ends around 3 years, but technically they can come check at any point during the 10+ year expected lifetime of the equipment to make sure it hasn't been sold or things like that.

    On a side note normally in regionals like that the stuff that is going to benefit everyone like the tower repeaters and dispatch center at a county building is paid for by everyone, splitting the matching up evenly. Or county can pay for it if they like, that's happened also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scott554 View Post
    I'm confused, my department will be the host and it would benefit 9 other departments but who actual would be the owner of the, let say repeters, and the equipment at the dispatch center?
    You could also look at it like this. FEMA owns the whole lot and its the Host Applicants *** if anything goes wrong.

    That clears up a lot of guessing sometimes.

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    Lightbulb regional dispatch console??

    Would updating our 911 dispatch console and country repeaters to narrowband be a qualified project? Currently the console will be phased out within the next 2 years I think and the repeaters need to be narrowband by 2012 if I recall. Our current console is operated by the sheriff's office and dispatches fire, emt, police, and civil defense for 2 counties and 10 FD's. We just received a regional for the fire depts only to upgrade our radio's to P25 compliant and am looking to do another regional. Also, would we be able to include any radios, that need to be narrowband at a minimum, for our civil defense personel. Any suggestions are welcome and needed. Thanks

    Mike

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    Dispatch consoles yes since they are for the FDs, no on civil defense/EMA. No one other than FDs can receive equipment, but other agencies can benefit such as law enforcement using the same repeaters and consoles, etc. They can't receive radios though. And only fire/EMS dispatch consoles also depending on the size of the dispatch center. Old county in PA had 2-3 consoles for fire/EMS, 6-7 or more for law enforcement so in similar cases the grant could only go for those 2-3 dedicated to fire/EMS. If they only have 2 dispatchers that handle everything then everything they have can be included.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIDWESTCHIEF View Post
    Would updating our 911 dispatch console and country repeaters to narrowband be a qualified project? Currently the console will be phased out within the next 2 years I think and the repeaters need to be narrowband by 2012 if I recall. Our current console is operated by the sheriff's office and dispatches fire, emt, police, and civil defense for 2 counties and 10 FD's. We just received a regional for the fire depts only to upgrade our radio's to P25 compliant and am looking to do another regional. Also, would we be able to include any radios, that need to be narrowband at a minimum, for our civil defense personel. Any suggestions are welcome and needed. Thanks

    Mike
    Be careful in your justification for consoles. Consoles can be obsolete, buy I would not blame narrowbanding as consoles are neither narrow or wideband. That part is defined by the radio attached to the console, not the console itself.

    Not enough channel capacity to add the channels for the equipment you are asking for, manufacturer no longer supports the equipment, etc are good reasons though.

    If you get a guy doing peer review that knows radios, it could make a world of difference.

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