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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjcont View Post
    Thank you!! I understand what you are saying. Not to many years ago our average on structure fires was one major fire every 2 years. Last year we had 7 and the year before that I believe we had 5 or 6. Over half of our call volume now consist of EMS/BLS calls. Does this mean that we do not need new PPE or a engine or tanker we can count on? Absolutly not!! When I first aproached my department about grants I was told that we could not get anything because we are to small and nobody cares about the little guys. Well that is about the biggest line of crap I've ever heard. i took it upon myself to try and my first year at it i went for the biggest and the best, well guess what? I never made it past the computer on a new truck and although my ppe app. made it to peer they did not seem to think we needed new PPE at $2800 dollars head to toe and they where right. Then I came to Firehouse.com and started to state my displeasure about the whole grant process and FEMA. Inside of 20 minutes I was contacted by Kurt and was on the phone with him. He talked me into going to one of his classes and I did. After talking to him and going to his class I came home and went to the fire house and sat and just looked around and started to form a realistic risk assessment in my head and now we have new PPE coming for all of our active members. This year I will be applying for a new mini pumper on a Ford 550 or similar cab and chasis, 750 gpm pump, foam cell and 500 gal's of water. nothing fancy but a realistic truck for our needs. FEMA/DHS may not see our need as enough to award us on this but I am going totry anyway. I guess my whole point is small departments are just as important as the big ones with big popolations and large call volumes and FEMA knows it. We just need to listen to what the people like Kurt, Brian and alot of others hear are saying and be realistic in what we are asking for and never stop trying, FEMA is not the only funding source out there.

    Well that was a bunch of babble wasn't it, oh well it makes sense to me anyway.
    No it isn't babble. It sounds like so many departments across the country. In fact the same thing happened to me. I was desperate to help my department. I talked with Kurt in '07 right in the middle of the application period. He talked with me a long time trying to help me and for free I might add. I realized I was way in over my head and convinced my department who had a budget of $7,600 that year to allow me to attend one of his classes.
    You know the rest.

    The small call volume departments often protect critical infrastructure too. As Kurt says, some very small departments often face greater risks than larger ones. Who can say that that department is not valuable based just on call volume and population size. Well I have to take back some of that because it seems the determining factor is always population size which is wrong. Rural departments average more runs per thousand population than the urban areas. A fact this is so often overlooked because it is designed to be overlooked.

    However if you do not make your case to exist and investigate the reasons for your needs and get the word out, then nothing will happen. The squeeky wheel syndrome does work.


  2. #42
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    You got to understande we are dealing with a bunch if farmers playing commisioners once a month, we try and explain to them why we need this and what it is going to be spent on and how it is going to benafit the county and our fire dept. They don't want to hear it, they say they don't have the money but go off and buy 3 brand new sheriffs cars and 2 road machines for the county road dept. This is what we are dealing with, but like i said we keep smiling and hope for the best, one of the commisoners even asked why do we need a volunteer fire department any way.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigFD14 View Post
    You got to understande we are dealing with a bunch if farmers playing commisioners once a month, we try and explain to them why we need this and what it is going to be spent on and how it is going to benafit the county and our fire dept. They don't want to hear it, they say they don't have the money but go off and buy 3 brand new sheriffs cars and 2 road machines for the county road dept. This is what we are dealing with, but like i said we keep smiling and hope for the best, one of the commisoners even asked why do we need a volunteer fire department any way.
    Show them the facts. Show them what their insurance rates would be without a FD. Have people who you have helped come to the meeting and "testify" why a FD is needed. We all deal with that no matter where you are our if you are dealing with farmers of city dwellers. But the first time the FD is really needed for those people they change their minds pretty quick.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigFD14 View Post
    You got to understande we are dealing with a bunch if farmers playing commisioners once a month, we try and explain to them why we need this and what it is going to be spent on and how it is going to benafit the county and our fire dept. They don't want to hear it, they say they don't have the money but go off and buy 3 brand new sheriffs cars and 2 road machines for the county road dept. This is what we are dealing with, but like i said we keep smiling and hope for the best, one of the commisoners even asked why do we need a volunteer fire department any way.
    I spent two hours on the phone last saturday with a neighboring (ex) chief and president of our mutual aid. During a mutual aid call two weeks ago he informed me that he resigned as chief because he could not get along with his board. Similar to what BigFD14 is going through. I told him he had to unresign and while he was there began picking up tree limbs and stiking telephone poles while screaming obscenities. He and I have a lot of projects in the works. Anyway he informs me his department is sitting on $58,000 and his board does not want to spring for anything. He is worried that having that much excess funds will ruin his chance to make an applicaiton for AFG.

    The problems he tells me about is beyond belief. This guy has problems and am glad I do not have our system structured like his. However I almost never have excess funds. (CFSI webinar on now)
    Last edited by jam24u; 03-31-2010 at 03:06 PM.

  5. #45
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    Regardless of beliefs, ideology, opinions, or positions no argument is ever won without the conceding side understanding the position of the other. One can't win an argument without knowing the foundation for the other side's position. What the position is doesn't matter, why they hold it is. Therein lies the root point for starting to win arguments.

    Sounds fancy enough for a book, but made that up meself. Still true, you can't sway the other side unless you understand where they are coming from and what objections they have to changing said position because those objections have to be countered. Do enough of that and they have no proverbial leg to stand on, and at that point those that are sticks in the mud as shown to be just that to others not involved in the debate. When that comes to elected officials, they tend to not be re-elected.

    Of course we have it easier in the fire service than some areas because everything we need or need to do is documented with a baseline requirement in order to be considered as a department providing "reasonable" services to the community we serve. Have to assess the bejesus out of the operations and then present the findings to those powers that be showing inadequacies and what will eliminate them. That's the fun we get to have when it's in between major fire grant seasons, in between all the other private, state, and federal grant apps. Sleep will come when I've got a pine box to live in...

  6. #46
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    Well i will say this one of our comm. did actually see what we are dealing with, we had a wreak where a little girl was entraped she needed to be extricated. Well our tools took a **** on us while we were extricating we had to call a city department 9 miles away in another county for tools. Just so happen this city department is the same department i work at full time, my chief heard me calling and he came with tools. Well we looked into buying new or demo tools the chief at my full time department even called the county m manager and advised her that yes they despratly need some new tools to replace the dinasor tools that we have now. Well she told the tool rep that we had a mutual aid department that we could rely on to extricat if we needed them. The problem is the tools that are on the truck in the full time deparment well that truck is on calls all the time so its not a guarentee that they will be able to respond. Its ignorence is what it is and they dont relise it, done tried to make them relise it several times but they just tell us they dont have the money to wast on us. Sometimes you do feel like giving up but you just can't for some reason.

  7. #47
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    That's why you turn to 3rd party as in NFPA, ER docs, and others. I'm sure that girl would have liked to have been out of that car faster, and so would her parents. Unfortunately sometimes the public has to see someone die before they care about changing anything either, despite all of the common sense arguments for changing sooner. Then again we fight that within the fire service all the time too...

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    We did tell the comm. that the girl thanked us for saving her life (Not the commisoners) Us. Hearing that was better then hearing that we got grant money or a new truck or new equipment. The commisoners just can't see it like we do unfortunatly. I think it is going to take one of them to lose somthing like there house or car to a fire or somthing and it is very very unfotanat to say that but I think it is true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    That's why you turn to 3rd party as in NFPA, ER docs, and others. I'm sure that girl would have liked to have been out of that car faster, and so would her parents. Unfortunately sometimes the public has to see someone die before they care about changing anything either, despite all of the common sense arguments for changing sooner. Then again we fight that within the fire service all the time too...

    Don't count on someone's death as a motivator for change. Been there, done that. Huge community uproar after we had a triple fatal with the initial response of 1 FF (other crew on another call). A push was for more manpower to staff both stations, build a new station & renovate the second & new apparatus etc. In the end, the residents voted down everything except the apparatus & the BOS was going to pull that as well since the other initiatives didn't pass, but the Chief convinced them otherwise.

    The only change was by the department. All on duty members respond on 1 engine to calls...no one is left behind to be put in that position again.

    What's worse is the manager is now abusing the mutual aid system. The system is designed to provide resources when a department has exhausted theirs, not provide the resources because the manager or commission doesn't want to replace their equipment. The MA department is now incurring costs that shouldn't be happening. It's a case of supplanting vs. supplementing.
    Last edited by onebugle; 03-31-2010 at 02:47 PM.

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    And over-worked mutual aid tends to stop responding when it gets abused like that. Happening not to far from you, hence a repeat SAFER for hiring announced today since mutual aid couldn't respond for lack of staffing. Region wide issue up there.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    And over-worked mutual aid tends to stop responding when it gets abused like that. Happening not to far from you, hence a repeat SAFER for hiring announced today since mutual aid couldn't respond for lack of staffing. Region wide issue up there.
    Know the departments very well, not in our MA district, but we have the same issues. A number of years ago, one department was off MA regularly due to staffing, but was abusing the MA system to get resources. The Chief's finally put a stop to it.....basically they provide MA as well or they wouldn't get MA.

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    Lot of valuable experiences being shared right now. The DJ thread just shot up to a priority read status. Thanks everyone.

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    Well, reading everyone's comments makes me realize how lucky we are. Our Board does exactly what they are suppose to do, handle the business end of the FD. The operations and need assessments are left up to the Chief and Officers. I do not really ever recall being denied for something we told them we needed. We have had to wait a bit until funds became available, but we get it. We are also the lowest funded department in the County but our Board does an excellent job managing our money. We also set on some money, usually around $30,000. But that is there just in case an emergency comes up such as a damaged pump or blown engine.

    One thing we have going for us is we have a fire tax (not as much as some think). Our department receives no funds from the County general budget. In fact the County does not touch our funds. We have our own bank account and pay our own bills. This means we know exactly how much money we have to do whatever.

    I am genuinely sorry for what you guys go through and it gets me riled up just reading it.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by jam24u View Post
    Dusty,

    Did you nail that one down! An accurate appraisal of what many departments are going through.

    If you do not keep your local government advised to who runs who on a yearly or monthly basis, things can get quickly out of hand. When fire tax dollars are returned to the departments like in our state, they go through our towns budget. Then the town begins to act like it is 'their' active financial support to you. It isn't. The towns real financial support is shown by what they do outside of the fire tax. Do they have a separate budget for your fire department like they do for water, sewer and roads?

    Dusty is right, educating the town officials, the community and your department about where the funding is needed and comes from is vital to understanding everyone's side. That goes for the Town officials as well. There may be very valid reasons why monies are handled the way they are, but if no one keeps up with what is happening then you can find later on that even boundaries of authority become hazy and resentments can develop from a lack of understanding.

    Dusty, I'm printing off your response and hanging it on the wall of our department.
    Oh, Jam you made me blush. Don't get wrong I am greatful for the monies we get, and yes we should report and actually answer to our communities on how our money is spent. You must be willing to open your books for examination and prove that you have been prudent with how money was spent. Too many times I have departments complain that they have no money but they spend money inappropriately. Just remember also when your talking about taxes this means your's will increase as well. We all like bells and whistles on our fire trucks,, but that doesn't put fires out or extricate people from vehicles. We all need to put ourselves in the tax payers position, are we really spending the money in the best and most efficient ways. Do you need new nozzles or do you want a big screen TV for the lounge? That new fire truck you want, does it need hand painted gold leaf or will computer generated detailing work? Do you really need an AM/FM sterio with a CD player and so one. You get the picture. Unfortunitly we as administrative and operational officers of our departments need to be responsible. These same things apply to the grants as well. We all get confused sometimes between wants and needs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fortsutphen View Post
    Oh, Jam you made me blush. Don't get wrong I am greatful for the monies we get, and yes we should report and actually answer to our communities on how our money is spent. You must be willing to open your books for examination and prove that you have been prudent with how money was spent. Too many times I have departments complain that they have no money but they spend money inappropriately. Just remember also when your talking about taxes this means your's will increase as well. We all like bells and whistles on our fire trucks,, but that doesn't put fires out or extricate people from vehicles. We all need to put ourselves in the tax payers position, are we really spending the money in the best and most efficient ways. Do you need new nozzles or do you want a big screen TV for the lounge? That new fire truck you want, does it need hand painted gold leaf or will computer generated detailing work? Do you really need an AM/FM sterio with a CD player and so one. You get the picture. Unfortunitly we as administrative and operational officers of our departments need to be responsible. These same things apply to the grants as well. We all get confused sometimes between wants and needs.
    Can this Brother, or Sister get an AMEN from the Congregation??? AMEN

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    Quote Originally Posted by WJVaughn View Post
    Can this Brother, or Sister get an AMEN from the Congregation??? AMEN
    The many voices of experience are all speaking hallowed words of wisdom today. A big AMEN to all of them.

    As bc79er pointed out, we need to hear both sides before casting stones at them. Unfortunately, and as I have said in many classes, when the BOD says "no" we are often times so frustrated at the simple word, that we forget to ask the follow-up question that is so important; WHY?

    Get that board to committ, on the record, why they can't fund it then get oustide the box and fix their problem for them so they can fix your's.

    Grant writing skills should not simply be used for new trucks and gear. If you can find a grant to resolve their problem and lend your skills to that effort, many times the favor is repaid by seeing that money which had been set aside for that other project suddenly turn up in your own budget.

    Been there, done that, and have had that suddenly rediscovered funding added to my budget on enough occasions to prove that point folks.
    Kurt Bradley
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    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    U make a good point kurt but in our county they don't see it like that, our chief wrote a grant for a brand new Med truck and got it, it was for 100,000 dollars. Right after they got the grant they knocked him out as EMS Director, go figure. There has been some comments made about him being a yankee and stuff like that. We have some real ignorent commisoners, i mean we are talking real ignorent. Its hard to deal with it, but we do the best we can, we have actually talked about getting on the agenda at one of the meetings, takeing our turn out gear into the meeting, throwing it into the floor but i don't think that is going to help none. We have showed them the problems, told them what we need and why we need them, but it gets shot down every time. Unfortanitly we have next to no revenue in our county. A large power plant was sapose to be built but it got shot down by the city councle and the old locals cause they where afraid it would cause to many health problems. But its ok for leaking crop dusters to fly over all our houses and businesses. I'm beginning to think that our county and city is afraid of change and it makes it alot harder on the people who want to see a change. They don't call it the state of baker for nothing lol.

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    The world changes no matter what we do, so either hop on the train or get run over.

    I can see the point about yankees though, they keep going down south, moving in, and never going back.....

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    shouldnt hold that agenst somebody thats just ignorent redneck town wants to stay in 1950 they need to relise things are changing and when you got somebody that wants to change somtheing they should not hold where he is from agenst him. Took a yankee to fix that department hell the idiot before him had the firefighters fighting grass fires in no shirt jean shorts and flip flops. it wasnt uncommon for them to carry a cooler of beer to a fire also. Got that jackass out and got a new chief that has common sense, I think they don't like that eaither. To many things make to much sense, confuses thoughs small minded people. Very funny on the yankee drop brian lol At one time i heard they county might get split up amongst other counties because baker county is going nowhere fast and its the people running it that are driving it into the ground.... WAIT didn't this forum start off with when the Dear Johns where coming out its amazing what one thread can do lol

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    Oh brian one more thing its much warmer down here also

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