Thread: SAFER Questions

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    Default SAFER Questions

    Can someone explain to me how a SAFER Grant position works? Can you be fired at any time, for any reason, if you are on probation and employed under a SAFER position? Are you layed off when the department no longer needs you? What are the pros and cons of accepting a position such as this? If you are let go, can you collect unemployment? Any additional information you can provide would be helpful.

    Thank you!

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    Default Safer

    Quote Originally Posted by Grlchatterbox33 View Post
    Can someone explain to me how a SAFER Grant position works? Can you be fired at any time, for any reason, if you are on probation and employed under a SAFER position? Are you layed off when the department no longer needs you? What are the pros and cons of accepting a position such as this? If you are let go, can you collect unemployment? Any additional information you can provide would be helpful.

    Thank you!
    I would say that you can fire a probationary employee through your own policies, but you have to replace with another ff to fill the position. If you are awarded 10 postions and you already have 40 positions, then you have to maintain 50 positions for the 2 year period.

    As far as unemployment that would vary from state to state.

    I am planning to submit a SAFER application for 2012. After the two year period we will lay off the positions that SAFER is paid for unless we were to be awarded in 2014. But that is 2 years of having additional personnel that we would not have had without SAFER.

    Just my 2 cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhl81791123 View Post
    I would say that you can fire a probationary employee through your own policies, but you have to replace with another ff to fill the position. If you are awarded 10 postions and you already have 40 positions, then you have to maintain 50 positions for the 2 year period.
    This is correct. I know of a situation where FF was terminated for cause. Dept hired a replacement to fill space and inserted new name into future SAFER funding requests with no problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhl81791123 View Post
    I am planning to submit a SAFER application for 2012. After the two year period we will lay off the positions that SAFER is paid for unless we were to be awarded in 2014. But that is 2 years of having additional personnel that we would not have had without SAFER.
    This is what is wrong with the current SAFER program, especially the hiring aspect. Fulfilling a “NEED” requires a long term solution requiring departments and communities to fund those same positions beyond the end of the period of performance. These positions maybe “NEEDED” to meet NFPA 1710/1720, but these positions are “WANTS”. We only “WANT” them as long as SAFER provides the funds to fund them again and again. This is not a solution to the problem and is unfair to those departments that are trying to expand their departments with the commitment to continue those positions beyond the POP that get denied funding as hiring additional FF’s is a low priority within SAFER.

    As long as departments and communities are not held accountable to perform beyond the POP, SAFER will be just a welfare program. Case in point, Fall River, MA received an additional $14 million to prevent laying off 79 FF’s that were hired off a previous SAFER grant. The city had no intention of funding those positions with the same thing occurring 2 years from now. There is no way for the city to fund an additional $14 million per year to maintain those positions.

    SAFER needs to get back to the original version where accountability is required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle View Post
    This is what is wrong with the current SAFER program, especially the hiring aspect. Fulfilling a “NEED” requires a long term solution requiring departments and communities to fund those same positions beyond the end of the period of performance. These positions maybe “NEEDED” to meet NFPA 1710/1720, but these positions are “WANTS”. We only “WANT” them as long as SAFER provides the funds to fund them again and again. This is not a solution to the problem and is unfair to those departments that are trying to expand their departments with the commitment to continue those positions beyond the POP that get denied funding as hiring additional FF’s is a low priority within SAFER.

    As long as departments and communities are not held accountable to perform beyond the POP, SAFER will be just a welfare program. Case in point, Fall River, MA received an additional $14 million to prevent laying off 79 FF’s that were hired off a previous SAFER grant. The city had no intention of funding those positions with the same thing occurring 2 years from now. There is no way for the city to fund an additional $14 million per year to maintain those positions.

    SAFER needs to get back to the original version where accountability is required.
    I cannot disagree with you. However, Fall River and even Flint, MI are following the current rules. I know that we cannot afford them without SAFER, so we will apply, hope for the best, and if awarded, we will have additional FF's on scenes for two years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhl81791123 View Post
    I cannot disagree with you. However, Fall River and even Flint, MI are following the current rules. I know that we cannot afford them without SAFER, so we will apply, hope for the best, and if awarded, we will have additional FF's on scenes for two years.
    True, the current rules allow this to happen. If you are awarded the positions, what happens to the department in year 3 if the city/town does not fund those positions and they are laid off. Basically, who is paying and/or picking up the tab to fund unemplyment costs for those firefighters?

    If the FD has to make up those costs through their operating budget will result in more FF's being laid off to meet the committment. So in the end, what really could happen is manning is negatively impacted by accepting the grant resulting in less FF's than if you had not applied for the grant in the first place.

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    Default Should I Apply?

    Our current SAFER grant has a period of performance that is due to end in March of 2013. We have some extra funds and will probably be able to get an extension to around September of 2013. My question is, if I was to reapply this year and be lucky enough to get awarded, how does it work. I would basically be asking for money to retain the same positions, as we don't know if we will be able to retain them when the grant runs out. What would happen if we were awarded new money for the positions when we still have remaining funds on our old grant? I want to apply simply for the fact that none of us know when the 2013 application period will begin and I don't want to potentially run out of funds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wtfd2940 View Post
    Our current SAFER grant has a period of performance that is due to end in March of 2013. We have some extra funds and will probably be able to get an extension to around September of 2013. My question is, if I was to reapply this year and be lucky enough to get awarded, how does it work. I would basically be asking for money to retain the same positions, as we don't know if we will be able to retain them when the grant runs out. What would happen if we were awarded new money for the positions when we still have remaining funds on our old grant? I want to apply simply for the fact that none of us know when the 2013 application period will begin and I don't want to potentially run out of funds.
    You would not be eligible to apply for 2012 SAFER. From the PG:

    Retention

    Firefighters who have been issued a formal layoff notice, which includes a specific date for the layoff action, prior to the start of the application period, and those who face imminent layoff – within 90 days of the close of the application period – will be eligible for SAFER funding under the Retention category. The application period closes on August 10, 2012 and therefore the layoffs must become effective on or before November 8, 2012.

    Note: Any layoff action not executed in accordance with the terms of the official layoff notice or which does not meet the above requirements may not qualify for funding in the rehiring of laid-off firefighters or retention categories. Applicants that do not meet these parameters must apply under the attrition category or Hiring New Firefighters Activity.
    Last edited by onebugle; 07-06-2012 at 10:08 AM.

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    I am looking to fund the start up costs for a student bunk in program under SAFER retention and recruitment. Has anyone had sucess getting such a program funded. If so and you would be willing to share a copy of your narrative Please email me directly at mwtetreault@metrocast.net.
    Thanks
    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle View Post

    As long as departments and communities are not held accountable to perform beyond the POP, SAFER will be just a welfare program. Case in point, Fall River, MA received an additional $14 million to prevent laying off 79 FF’s that were hired off a previous SAFER grant. The city had no intention of funding those positions with the same thing occurring 2 years from now. There is no way for the city to fund an additional $14 million per year to maintain those positions.

    SAFER needs to get back to the original version where accountability is required.
    "Onebugle" I could not agree with you more but, and I emphasize this, I cannot fault jhl181791123 for going after the money when the system allows and in fact encourages him to do just exactly that. I applaud jhl181791123 for having the stones to at least admit exactly what the plan is right up front and not make any bones about it.

    Truth be known, I would be willing to bet that the decision to apply to SAFER is not just simply a choice but a political necessity. This is simply a case of "if we don't go after it, someone else will" and regardless of if we want to admit it or not, there logically has to be some tremendous political pressure being exerted here. This is probably is not simply the Chief's decision to go after SAFER. I mean how can we fault any city in Michigan right now for not pursuing SAFER when their residents can clearly see that Detroit and Flint are getting bailed out? This is a "no brainer".

    A Michigan resident is being given the choice of "pony up for a major tax increase to retain their firefighters" or tell your Fire Chief to pursue a SAFER grant that costs them "nada". How can a Fire Chief claim that he/she is being responsible with city taxpayer dollars and yet allow an opportunity for "free money" to pass them by? No, as long as we continue to allow this sort of program to exist, I cannot point the guilty finger at a Fire Chief wanting "their piece of the pie" also.

    I would like to point out here, to everyone, that Detroit/Flint and all these other cities were awarded these amounts based upon the approval of the "reviewers"; and we all know who the reviewers are, we simply need look in the mirror.We all need to quit blaming the government for continuing to offer this program in its current format.... we are the government and we are allowing it to occur.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    So, under the current grant guidelines, can my volunteer department get funding to hire say 5 firefighters to staff our stations, bringing our total paid staffing to 5? IE, new hires, Or say hire 20 to bring one engine to NFPA standards?

    Not asking if it is right or wrong, asking if it is do-able.

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    Not sure why you are saying 20 to staff one engine to compliance?Why would it take 20 for one engine?
    Kurt Bradley
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    Do they extend the period of performance on SAFER hiring grants. We have a grant that will have a decent amount of excess funds. The guidance states that all excess funds are to be handed back to FEMA but I've heard that some have had their grants extended with excess funds. Anybody have any knowledge of the situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ktb9780 View Post
    Not sure why you are saying 20 to staff one engine to compliance?Why would it take 20 for one engine?
    Well, 20 is a bit much. 5 people, three shifts for 24 hour coverage, plus vacation, kelly days, etc. So 20 is probably close.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    Well, 20 is a bit much. 5 people, three shifts for 24 hour coverage, plus vacation, kelly days, etc. So 20 is probably close.

    Ok this begs some questions and some further thought on your part.

    1.) If you hire 20 are you counting your own volunteers in that thought process as far as total manpower on scene within the stated timeframe?

    2.) Are you considering auto or mutul aid manpower that responds?

    3.) Can you get 20 people recruited, screened, equipped, trained and actually on the street within that 2 year PoP? You are only allowed a 90 day recruitment period that does not count against your 2 year PoP.

    4.) At the end of 2 year PoP when you have to lay them all off, can your agency afford the financial liability of the unemployment claims that will be generated as a result?
    Kurt Bradley
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktb9780 View Post
    Ok this begs some questions and some further thought on your part.

    1.) If you hire 20 are you counting your own volunteers in that thought process as far as total manpower on scene within the stated timeframe?

    2.) Are you considering auto or mutul aid manpower that responds?

    3.) Can you get 20 people recruited, screened, equipped, trained and actually on the street within that 2 year PoP? You are only allowed a 90 day recruitment period that does not count against your 2 year PoP.

    4.) At the end of 2 year PoP when you have to lay them all off, can your agency the financial liability of the unemployment claims that will be generated as a result?
    1. Nope. I figure the volunteers would be used to man the second engine, the tankers, etc.

    2. See #1.

    3. That would be really interesting - probably not, but again I am just playing with numbers and thoughts.

    4. At the end of 2 years, we stop being an employer because none of them would be able to be retained. Unemployment insurance would kick in, and it would be in the pool If we continued to pay any employees we would have to pay premiums, but with no employees, there are no premiums, and the state pool takes over. As we have no employees, we have no premiums, nor any statutory obligation to pay - that is what the insurance is for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    1. Nope. I figure the volunteers would be used to man the second engine, the tankers, etc.

    2. See #1.

    3. That would be really interesting - probably not, but again I am just playing with numbers and thoughts.

    4. At the end of 2 years, we stop being an employer because none of them would be able to be retained. Unemployment insurance would kick in, and it would be in the pool If we continued to pay any employees we would have to pay premiums, but with no employees, there are no premiums, and the state pool takes over. As we have no employees, we have no premiums, nor any statutory obligation to pay - that is what the insurance is for.
    OK maybe I am looking at this wrong but In regards to #1 & #2 - I don't think that is going to fly. Under that thought process then what you would be saying to a reviewer regarding your needs is that you have no volunteers or mutual aid people answering any calls, period, at this time.
    Kurt Bradley
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