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Thread: Will this grant benefit more than one organization?

  1. #1
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    Default Will this grant benefit more than one organization?

    I am not applying for a regional grant. However if awarded my grants, Truck and micro PPE, will benefit 14 other fire departments through automatic/mutual aid. Should I mark yes and list them, or is this from regional grants. On the question in request details(Is this vehicle going to be used as a regional asset?) I marked yes and explained about the 14 other departments.

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    It will definitely benefit more than one organization, if you truly will make those resources available to your mutual aid partners.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    --General James Mattis, USMC


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    Negative per DC.

    Question 16 under vehicles is only marked Yes it will benefit more than one if it is a Regional Vehicle Application. And if you do that then the previous page under Request Type is marked Yes and you MUST enter all involved departments' contact information if you included their statistics.

    If you are not including anyone else's stats then Question 16 is no and you have to include the mutual aid benefits in the usual spot of the narrative.

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    If you select Regional but you stats don't add up would that be more of an issue. Our Aerial is the only one for 300 square miles including 3 other Auto/Mutual Aid agencies in 2 states. However it is more Special Called on Commercial assignment so would that be more of a negative?

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    You can't pick Regional Asset without entering all of the contact information in the Request Info page where you pick Ops or Vehicle. If there are no other departments listed and you use regional stat totals it will get the boot, verified that by phone when having the conversation with DC about it.

    So you could include everyone in that 300 square mile area as long as it is complete department areas. If you are the only aerial for the east side of town, and someone else has the west, and that town is covered by 1 department you can't split their stats. It has to be whole first-due areas, so as long as they didn't have an aerial I'd say include them and just explain that the other aerial is on the other side of them.

    Doesn't matter who you include whether it's Auto M/A or Special Call if you want to include a department and their stats. As long as it would go if called for then go as big as you want within argument reasoning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    Negative per DC.

    Question 16 under vehicles is only marked Yes it will benefit more than one if it is a Regional Vehicle Application. And if you do that then the previous page under Request Type is marked Yes and you MUST enter all involved departments' contact information if you included their statistics.

    If you are not including anyone else's stats then Question 16 is no and you have to include the mutual aid benefits in the usual spot of the narrative.
    So you are saying that unless it is a regional app, you cannot mark yes?

    In our case we are applying for an engine. It is not a regional app as others already have them and newer models. But it would be used for mutual aid. I am not including the other area numbers in our application, only ours. I would have thought that it would still be a "yes" as it is a benefit to the neighbors. I understand what you say about not using their stats to boost ours, but if I am only using mine, why is it not going to "benefit other departments"?
    Last edited by HuntPA; 11-11-2013 at 02:38 PM.

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    I have no official answer to this, but I would suspect that they are trying to get away from everyone selecting "Yes" to additional benefit for each application. Any engine would benefit their neighbors in any town.

    It's like saying your PPE app would benefit your neighboring department by having well equipped firefighters, seen that one a bunch.

    A true benefit would be a SCBA compressor that multiple stations would be using.

    Anyone listed this year may be getting a phone call during post panel review to ensure that the items is truly beneficial to the other organizations, so be sure everyone is aware of that.

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    I believe that Brian and Hunt are talking about 2 different questions. Brian is referring to Question #16 on the Firefighter Vehicle Program Page. This question "Is this vehicle going to be used as a regional asset?" is asking whether this application for a vehicle is a regional application. If you check "Yes", then you need to include all of the stats for the entire region.

    However, i believe Hunt is talking about the question "Will this grant benefit more than one organization?" on the request information page. Even if the vehicle application is not a "regional vehicle application" i believe you can select "yes" here and enter the department name and contact info.

    Hope that helps clarify

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    No, both the Yes on Request Information and #16 on the Vehicle Request Details are only for Regional Applications.

    Like Sly said they are trying to get away from everyone entering the fluff answers that we know everyone did, including us.

    So the only time anything gets marked Yes for benefiting more than one organization is when it's a Regional of any kind.

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    Where do you find this information? I am looking at Request Information, question 2. There is no help button to look at guidance specifically about the question.

    My interpretation is that the question is fully unnecessary for a regional application as by definition it has to be for more than one organization. If it is a basic operations or vehicle grant, the question makes sense.

    Here is my trepidation, I mark "no" on the applications. 5 of the other applications the reviewer is looking at all have "yes" marked. Which ones move on and which are tossed aside all other things being equal? If there is no definitive guidance on this, am I not hurting my odds choosing "no"?

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    Well for starters it's a flag not a scoring metric from what I can gather, and reviewers never look at that stuff. They look at the written stuff.

    I got my info when I talked to the guy at the top, anything in a gray area I don't mess around with asking questions on major details like this. Regional applications get Yes in Request Information screen and then all Department names, contact names, and phone numbers get entered for everyone involved.

    Regional apps also get Q16 marked yes to help distinguish them from the individual vehicle grants since everyone is allowed to put in one of each, Individual apps all get marked no. Doesn't make sense from our side but this was a change that happened last minute before proper programming could be done to the system. That's why there is no Regional Vehicle button on the Applicant Information page.

    Give me a little street cred folks, we're knocking on the door of $500mil in awards in 7 years, and even though I don't write them all unlike many other CEOs I am responsible for everything done. I'm not about to advise the departments we're working with to do the wrong thing like those that have taken a lot more money to write an app for non-skid flooring, or told a department to be in a regional radio grant and then do an Ops for the same thing. And I'm not going to keep info like this to myself either because it's about the need, so I don't want to see anyone getting booted for marking their app wrong. My articles were cleared by DC for accuracy to ensure there are no contradictions with DHS materials too.

    Even if you never work with us Cousin B-Vick won't steer you wrong in the forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    Well for starters it's a flag not a scoring metric from what I can gather, and reviewers never look at that stuff. They look at the written stuff.

    I got my info when I talked to the guy at the top, anything in a gray area I don't mess around with asking questions on major details like this. Regional applications get Yes in Request Information screen and then all Department names, contact names, and phone numbers get entered for everyone involved.

    Regional apps also get Q16 marked yes to help distinguish them from the individual vehicle grants since everyone is allowed to put in one of each, Individual apps all get marked no. Doesn't make sense from our side but this was a change that happened last minute before proper programming could be done to the system. That's why there is no Regional Vehicle button on the Applicant Information page.

    Give me a little street cred folks, we're knocking on the door of $500mil in awards in 7 years, and even though I don't write them all unlike many other CEOs I am responsible for everything done. I'm not about to advise the departments we're working with to do the wrong thing like those that have taken a lot more money to write an app for non-skid flooring, or told a department to be in a regional radio grant and then do an Ops for the same thing. And I'm not going to keep info like this to myself either because it's about the need, so I don't want to see anyone getting booted for marking their app wrong. My articles were cleared by DC for accuracy to ensure there are no contradictions with DHS materials too.

    Even if you never work with us Cousin B-Vick won't steer you wrong in the forums.
    Okay, so I understand I'm a little late coming to the game on this topic and that my post isn't really about the exact topic, but....hey...it's the wee hours of the morning and the hard cider was pretty good to me tonight, so please give me a little bit of latitude if you will.

    So Brian, I don't think that there's any doubt out there that you get a little "street cred" amongst the community. After all, you are the guy that is up speaking the loudest and the longest on the topic. Surely after 10 years of doing so someone would recognize what you have to say. But lets go back 10 years though (or for me only 8 or 9) and remember what the intent of these forums was all about. It was about sharing ideas and sharing information and ultimately getting people who needed equipment the help they needed. Its not about touting who has a bigger number (I think we're still talking about the $500M you threw out there but maybe there's another number that you're secretly hoping to compare) but rather it's about helping one another. There's no doubt you have done that along the way. You have provided countless hours of free advice on these forums, but lets not get too big for our britches. We all make our own mistakes (Procurement Integrity had a big impact on a lot of people...some people it even cost them a job). There's no need to go around pointing fingers in ambiguous directions. I mean I've read applications from a department that have contracted services with a company that has a CEO that doesn't get to write all of his own narratives but has control over what's done and they were a very rural department and were URGED to seek a $1M aerial. I've also read narratives from another department that contracted services with a very similarly described company (in fact it might be the same one) that was an URBAN department that was told to apply for a water tender/tanker. Both apps were shockingly denied. But hey, we all make mistakes and you don't see me going all around the internet blabbing about it do you? No....because that would be unprofessional (and more important to me...COWARDLY) to point fingers indirectly at someone.

    Brian, you do a lot of great things for the fire service of our nation. I don't take that away from you one bit. I am grateful for all that you do in that capacity. I wish I could do more to help and I wish I had more time to help, but unlike when I used to post all the time on here, I now have a family, and they come first. I also have a job that allows me to be very involved and hands on with my community. As much as I'd like to share more, I just don't have the time, so again, I am grateful to know that if someone in my area needs help and I'm not available, they can always come here and ask their question and find what they need. My concern is can they do it without ridicule or without having someone flashing a resume in their face.

    I'm not perfect...don't claim to be, but I do try to do what is right. I'm not saying all this to feel better about myself or because one of your digs was about a friend. I'm saying this because it's the right thing to do. Its good to remember from time to time that we're not as important as what we might think. I'm certain that you learned just as much from posting here as people have learned from you. Are you involved in it quite a bit? Sure. Should people respect your opinion? Sure. Should they be told by you that they need to respect your opinion?? I don't think that question warrants an answer.

    As for your specific advise, I would consider that there are always going to be different thoughts about questions that the program asks. There may be a certain intent behind those questions, but as the program evolves, people are going to interpret them differently unless it is spelled out. No where is it spelled out in the FOA that you should only check that box if you are making a regional application. I would surmise that in the past 8 years of working on grants for local departments and in the years of being a peer reviewer, I have seen awards come that were indeed not regional grants but still checked YES to the question. Why change the formula if it's working, especially if FEMA isn't spelling out that you shouldn't?

    To a separate note, you also mentioned that peer reviewers NEVER read that kind of stuff. I would caution you and any other out there that is still reading my dramblings at this point. You know what they say about ALWAYS and NEVER. I'd be happy to give you a list of about 10 different former peer reviewers just off the top of my head who I am about 99.9% certain would say that they read the entire application cover to cover, and not just the written stuff.

    Please understand the intent of this message isn't to anger anyone. I feel very strongly about what I've said and because of that chose to reply to Brian publicly. If anyone takes offense (including Brian) then please just say the word and I'll be happy to take the post down.

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    Well I'm not offended so nobody else should either, to clear that up. To post and delete because somebody doesn't like it goes against my core beliefs anyway. With the exception of the ignorance-related posts involving race, gender, religion, etc, nothing anyone says should ever be deleted because it offends someone.

    Big for britches? I can see that coming off that way, but like you alluded to there is more MISINFORMATION than information out there and many people are paying a lot of money for it. Every year I see people doing things they aren't eligible for, or applications filled out incorrectly.

    So the reason I post a lot of stuff out here is so that it makes people think when they have someone throwing their success numbers out there yet still advising people to do the wrong thing or fill out applications incorrectly. This is one of them, and yes to semi-toot my own horn I've gotten the street credibility to ask questions directly of decision makers because I'm trying to make sure people do the right thing and it doesn't get them kicked out.

    The reason those sections have changed focus is because everyone knows they were fluffed. Unless you're on an island with no bridges, your department participates in mutual or automatic mutual aid. So obviously every project that makes you safer makes you a better mutual aid partner. Since almost everyone can claim that, they just pulled the question. That way when it is yes, it is a regional of any type so it makes administration and scoring easier because that is the only metric on the vehicle application that will distinguish a regional vehicle from an individual vehicle application so they can check them and make sure they were scored properly instead of checking every single vehicle application by hand.

    I also check all of this information not only for my clients but also because I write the articles. I don't do that to build business, I do that to ensure the playing field is level because a lot of people need stuff and it's about the need. DHS is hard-pressed to ensure that all potential applicants have the proper information so their applications. These changes from the regional vehicle to others were all last minute ones that didn't get included in the FOA or any presentations because the FOA approval process started in June and ended in October for how many levels it had to go through. If they changed anything during that time the process resets. Should they have emailed all applicants when they hit "Start Application", or emailed everyone in they system? Maybe, but otherwise none of this is being put out unless you call and ask Helpdesk. Is anyone going to get kicked out because of it? Doubt it, but since the facts are known why not just fill it out correctly?

    You are correct, I shouldn't throw never and always out there, there are always exceptions. In recent history I've done a rural $1mil platform, it's sitting not far from where the tornados went through on Sunday since it was awarded. Done that twice, awarded twice, turned people away several hundred times. Same as an Urban tanker, got 2-3 of those out there awarded since there are no viable hydrants on a 3in water main system. Again, turned away many, many, many people offering a lot of money for us to write them. Won't do it.

    Do we take a couple every now and again that might be long shots? Sure, but we fully educate the departments on what is in their favor and what isn't and leave it up to them when it's in a gray area, if there is an argument to be made. If there's nothing in their favor it's an easy decision of try it yourself and play Powerball instead. No one can alter the computer scoring without lying, after figuring out whether it meets priorities what scores is the narrative. If no one reads is, out it goes.

    It's like when people were marking in the old apps that their PPE is "Damaged/old but wearable" or however that was worded. People were marking that instead of old/obsolete because they were wearing the PPE. Not that it was wearable, just the fact that they were wearing it because they had nothing else. That's the type of information that should come out but doesn't except in places like this.

    So I wasn't trying to be a forum bully or anything else, just trying to make sure everyone knows what is being looked for on the other side now instead of later after apps are submitted. And yes I have to throw out there certain things for people that haven't been here for 12+ years like a lot of us. Remember I doled out this information long before I made a dime writing grants, and I rarely post a signature in here because I don't think it's the place for advertising.

    But in the last 3 days alone I got phone calls from people being told by other grant writers/companies that they can put in the fees for writing that were percentage based or on contingency. That hasn't been for at least 3 years if not longer. I also had another one telling their clients that they "own" any grant they write and the department can't see it before it's submitted! Really?! First off applications are "owned" by the applicants, and two under FOIA any taxpayer can get a copy of any grant application for any grant program the federal government runs. So there's nothing to hide. I have worked 3000+ hours a year over the last 7 to build my personal reputation as doing the right thing by the grant programs and by ALL applicants. In all of the articles and PodCasts I've done over the years I have gotten less than 3 applications a year off of those, so obviously I'm not doing it for a marketing purpose.

    So sorry if anyone was offended or think that I'm full of myself, it's quite the opposite for those that know me. I work hard, I get results, but I also share more information for free and when I post, I post facts when I know them and I preface other things with "maybe" and whatnot when it's an opinion. Something like this, I went to the top because it is such a new issue that so many could get hit for in the points category. I was told over the phone that if someone clicks yes, adds a department contact, and they know nothing about the grant it is getting TOSSED. Period. No second phone calls, no calls to the host, it's gone. Just like the language about putting a RIT SCBA in the PPE category, the whole app is gone. Yet I've already seen several people try it. Just a guy trying to keep people from making simple mistakes that get their apps tossed.
    McMechen VFD and McMechen VFD like this.

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