Safer Grant question
Has anyone put in for a Safer Grant for a 100% volunteer dept? Lastnight me Chief asked me to not only get ready for next years AFG but now also a Safer grant. I have never done a Safer grant.
If you have put in for one or have won a Safer grant could you please let me know:
1) What did you ask for?
2) How do you plan on using or what did you use the grant for?
3) How much did you ask for?
Thanks for your help.
I have a simuliar request. I have not done a SAFER grant previously. Volunteer department. Problem(s) identified not only general recruitment, but need additional qualified personnel 24/7, especially during daytime hours. Also need drivers, again especially daytime. Need some ideas and narratives for things that have worked. Have not applied before because I did not have a solid plan to sell. Any help appreciated. Would love to see a narrative that worked for a volunteer department. Interested in ideas not only for new recruits, but retention of current members and ideas to keep current members "active". FourBank@AOL.com Thanks!
There's lots of stuff out there but it's a tougher one to look at other people's narratives with SAFER because R&R projects are about motivating your people, and there are as many ways to motivate humans as there are humans. Probably more. That's why each R&R has to be an individually argued plan using commonly awarded projects.
Basically since it's Recruitment and Retention you have to address both. So if you don't have enough members, that's a recruitment issue. Why aren't people joining? Length of training? Don't know about the fact they could volunteer? Different ways to address that, but have to find something that will work with your residents. Some areas could just be marketing, others could be training stipends so they feel like they get something at the end of several months of training instead of not joining and working OT or a PT job.
If people aren't running as much as they could, or staying in for years, that's retention. Basically everything is eligible that you could come up with to convince people to stay active and not leave. Give the members a list of pats on the back that you could apply for from pay per call/shift, to college scholarships, LOSAP, training stipends, etc, etc. Whatever the members think will work to get them to run more, every department is different. It requires some legwork to ask the membership what would get them out more, but from there it's like every other grant: detail the true deficiency, detail the solution, and make sure you can argue that the solution will reasonably solve the deficiency.
We are a small 100% volunteer company that covers a very diverse area (Located between a river & the mountains..about 3 miles between the two. Then we cover the other side of the mountain about 3 miles out to the county line). We only have 2 roads in/out of town. During heavy rain, snow or strong wind,these roads become impassible. These roads are small rural roads (narrow & winding) and the road that goes north/south is all up and down the mountian and through the valleys. At one point as it rides for 4 miles along the river its just barely a lane and a half wide, with no shoulders (drop off into the canal on 1 side & straight up mountain hill on the other). With being located were we are we don't get out of our area on calls much unless others are out or it requires mutli units (Structure fire or working fires). We have an estimated population of 3,000 and cover an estimated 23 sq miles (First due). We responded to a record 299 calls in 2011. We run mutial aid to 2 neighboring counties (1 in another state). We run 2 engines, 1 eng-tanker, 1 mini pumper, 1 brush truck, 2 boats, 1 atv, 2 cheif cars). We run EMS first responder to our area, but are EMS service is provided by 2 neighboring depts. Mostly what we have as members (17 responding members -Only 8-9 run calls (5-6 run 99%). About 20 non-responding members - Admin, kitchen help, fund raisers). These numbers are about what we are gonna get out of our first due residents. We'd need to recruit outside our area, but the neighboring companies don't have to deal with the issues we have (location, call load and over all area). We need to sell ourself and make us stand out over the neighboring companies.
We need more members due to the increasing call load (70 more calls in 2011, over 2010). We also need to get more of the members who don't come around, to start showing up again. Call load, population, area were we are located in & money are all really hindering us in recruiting/retention. We have a college about 10 minutes from us (neighboring state) but that town has its own dept & has a live-in program. Also 2 miles from that Town & station (right accross the river in our county) there is another dept that runs a few more calls then us. They have a town, town center, schools, busnisses and just their towns population is double what our whole first due's population is.
I've suggested family night once a month at the firehouse (gather for dinner). I've thought about a live-in program (hard to due with neightboring depts having them & the limited space in our station for this program). Thought about signs along the 2 roads asking for new members. We send out newsletters 2 times a year and updates the community on the happenings within our dept, fund raising events & even membership recruitment aids. My Chief & myself want to start a rewards program for members (Points for attending training, fund rasiers, calls). Working either a fire equipment dealer (Gear, tools,etc) members can then trade in these points for or towards purchasing things from the store. Problem again is the money that it would take for us to operate this program after the SAFER program money runs out.
FD can't buy equipment in the manner you described for the points, same reason can't buy gas cards or uniforms anymore since they're not eligible in SAFER. Which is why you do incentive cards being each member's choice, and if they decide on a prepaid Visa or MC, and then go buy uniforms or gas with them, that's their choice and perfectly kosher within the Guidelines. So the points could transfer into dollars, etc, etc.
Family night dinners aren't eligible either. Big thing is you have to find out why people aren't joining and then direct the project at that if new members are the issue, and if not enough current members being active enough, then have to design something to address that too. Might have to start small and work up to the bigger ideas later. Several of our clients we run R&R apps every other year to prove the previous one is working in the next one, and seems to work well in Review since they get funded.
Brain, Thanks. Im not sure how they Chief wants to do that. He just mentioned that the other night about that would be something he'd like to try to do around here (This conversation was before he wanted me to do the SAFER Grant).
I saw in the guide that the money can't also go toward funiture, So does it only cover the construction & material cost to build or remodle a bunkroom?
Im new to the SAFER grant and Its not like I've had alot of time to sit down and really go over things...Another one of those last minute "Hey, why don't we try for this grant. I saw it opened yesterday". deals LOL.
Im thinking of the following.
1) Internet/Website for the company - (Recruitment & Retention)
2) Flyers/Mailers - (Recruitment)
3) Incentive program (Retention)
4) Signs - Both out on the 2 main rds & repalce the old metal out dated sign infront of the station
5) If we can do upgrade's to the station for possible live-in program. (Bathroom/Locker room & Bunkroom) Current bunk & bathroom wasn't intended for a live in program or for live ins. Bunk room wasn't designed as a bunkroom (No room for "true live-ins") and bathroom/locker room doesn't have the room & set-up for all day everyday use. (1 sink, I toliet & a closet that a shower head was installed in to be used as a shower if need be.) I'd like to increase size of both rooms to handle atleast 4-6 live-ins.
Construction costs aren't eligible at all, otherwise the list is doable. None of the AFG related programs will go for room additions, the only construction costs allowed are those up to $10k to handle something else eligible. Like upgraded the electric service for a new compressor or exhaust systems, plumbing for a washer, etc.
Thanks Brain. After your help a few years ago, I got a better handle on the AFG Grant, Now I'm gonna do the same on the SAFER.
No problem. SAFER is the tougher nut to crack since we're dealing with motivating people. About 6 billion ways to do that since we're all doing the same things for different reasons. Have to find a project that works for your members, and funny thing is it might not work the same way right next door. Different folks and different strokes...now everyone that's old enough start singing that theme song with me.... :)
"Whatcha talking about willis"
It is my understanding the LED signs are no longer allowable. No construction either. We got ours early on
Originally Posted by WheelmanEngCo11
I had wanted to do gas cards, based on X numbers of dollars per call, X being based on the level of training.
Now, I am under the understanding I can't do that anymore.
So, what kind of incentive is OK to reward people based on the number of calls they make, based on their level of training so they will have more incentive to upgrade their training?
Signs and Mileage
Am I reading wrong or perhaps looking at the wrong program guidance?
"Mileage reimbursement for operational activities (i.e. responding to incidents, attending training)
"LED/Electronic signs (note 75% of usage must be dedicated to the Recruitment and Retention activities- additional restrictions apply: See E for Other Allowable costs).
Help me here.
I have to admit Tom, I am a little perplexed here because I am also seeing what you are.
Originally Posted by Attack6
Not sure. The gas cards I was planning on, but am told in a message above they were not allowed now. The signs have not been allowed for the past few years, but we got ours a number of years ago, and electricty to run it for 4 years.
Originally Posted by Attack6
maybe they are allowed but just the "kiss of death" - sort of like asking for a 1,000,000. for a brush truck?
You can do mileage reimbursement, not gas cards as in the $/run that you're giving someone can be taken as gas card. We did that with a lot of folks 2009 and prior where the incentive was gas cards, not general incentive cards. That's not allowed anymore. Mileage reimbursement is, but that means every run has to be tracked from every member responding from where they started, just like with tracking for a job. So if they're at the station already, 0 miles reimbursed. Much easier to do an incentive per call and leave them the option of whatever store or variety of card they want. And the prepaid Visa/MC ones are eligible, and if they go yon forth and buy gas, no foul since all the department has to do it buy something eligible. That's the whole point is that the members can buy what they want, the department can't purposefully buy Chevron or whoever's gas cards.
Under LED signs, like most grant program guidelines, anytime they say see restrictions that pretty much means there are so many hoops that will have to be jumped through that A) it's a low priority, and B) vey few will be able to jump through the hoops. Like the 75% usage for R&R. Who's going to time that one? Because if you don't and they figure it out, back goes the money.
Blake, email me if you want a longer explanation, but basically the rate for a base level person is $_. Add 50 cents (or whatever) for FF1 cert if that's not the base, another 50 for FF2, EMT, Medic, HazMat, Driver/Operator or any other certification possible. So Joe FF1 Knowsitall only gets $5, while on the same run others may be getting $8+. You'd be surprised after a while how many people can't wait to get to a training class....
Bc79er I think that added a lot of clarity to what you were trying to say above, thanks.;)
So the list gets smaller LOL. Sounds like other then pay per call & recruitment flyers, nothing else is gonna be covered in this grant.
No, the web site is eligible, and regular signs they'll go for. LEDs are $10-20k, new metal ones are a ton less than that which is why they get funded left and right.
Funny thing about the LED signs is that the guidance document last year did NOT say they weren't eligible. We applied for one and got denied. According to the feedback, our computer score was low, peer review score was ok. Not sure what bit us in the computer scoring.
I called to ask what the "additional restrictions" are on LED signs that are mentioned in this year's guidance document. The SAFER staff member I talked to was just as confused about it as I was. The guidance document says to see section E for additional restrictions, but there's nothing in that section about signs. He said as long as the sign meets "standards" it would be eligible. I asked him what standards and he said he wasn't sure...he thought it maybe UL standards...basically just making sure it's not going to start itself on fire I guess.
Anyway, I have a narrative written for starting a Junior program, now debating whether I should try to add the sign in too since it's specifically allowed this year. Any suggestions?
P.S. My favorite SAFER application question: If awarded this grant, how many active volunteer firefighters will be in your department? GEE, LET ME CHECK MY CRYSTAL BALL
Having been a lifelong smart*****, I know you're joking of course, but the idea is that you have a plan for how many you're going to recruit since you talked to some of the people that haven't joined and are addressing those issues in this application so that they will join after you're funded... cough, cough...:rolleyes:
Yeah, because somehow I can use SAFER funds to make all of the able-bodied people in my District work less, have fewer family commitments, have less stress, and more free time to commit to volunteer work. :rolleyes:
Anyone know if you have to buy a sign from a company or a pre-made sign or can you ask for founding to build your own? Also can you ask for funds to cover reahabing your stations older sign?
Wheel: You can ask for anything : What will get funded is something that will convince the reviewers that it will help you increase staffing on calls to make your department more closely meet the standards.
Some ideas that have been funded in the past:
scholarship funding for collage education of responding members or their children..
Advertising in local newspapers for new members
production of Advertising flyers for recruiting & postage for mailing.
Monthly recruitment ads in town newspaper.
Funding to support a junior FF program at local trade school aimed at gaining new YOUNG members.
A recruitment billboard at the local little league field or high school stadium.
You also need to address how your dept will continue to fund these operations into the future after the grant money runs out. Which I feel is where many don't get the points.
Our problem is we don't have any schools in our 1st due, No companies & businesses, no incorporated towns, just scattered poverty stricken area. We have been shut down once before due to not having the funds to operate. The cost to start and operate any recruitment project will cost more then we can afford or fund after the award runs out, if lucky we maybe able to find up to a couple hundred dollars to fund this project for maybe a year but unless things in our community change, our funding will continue to drop. Right now with our current budget by the time we pay our bills, we will be lucky to have a 1,000dollars left to cover unexpected cost. That’s not much to fund a couole thousand dollar recruitment & retention program.