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Thread: Helping the Detroit Fire Department.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    CDF or CalFire as they like to call themselves now, has several different matrix's in place for whatever you can afford. If all you can spring for is an unstaffed tender in a pole barn, then they are more than happy to plaster their logo on the side of it. The plus to that is they have resources that will respond to incidents. CDF claims to be the largest fire department in the US, when in reality, they are just a series of really small departments staffed by state employees. They are like assisted living for struggling towns, not really too concerned with making a huge profit, but they'll take every spare penny you have. Just spreading their empire like the Romans did. If a community receives more service than they pay for, the excess is slung around the neck of the already over taxed Californian.

    I had to edit this:
    No disrespect to the CalFire brothers, they are a stellar group of firefighters dedicated to providing excellent care to the citizens they serve.
    I think this is actually a fair comment.

    Calfire got into the contract business under the idea they had a fire department for half the year. So in some rural areas the idea was proposed to let the local area pick up the tab in the winter. This was kind of a win for both sides, the local got a full time staff at 50% cost, and the state got a little extra money.

    Things changed at some point and the state got into the contract fire business big time. The Riverside County Fire Department is a Calfire Operation and accounts for more than half of their paid personnel.

    What started as a practical idea has kind of turned into an empire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    So let's get right down to it. If it was your call would they get the money or not? I'm not asking if you LIKE them getting the money. Forget about the REASONS they need the money. (I'm assuming we all agree they do need it) But, plain and simple, SHOULD they get the money?

    Anyone else care to answer?
    Sure. I'll say No. If the city of Detroit has run itself into the red, giving them a grant is wasting it. They obviously have no financial plan to keep the city afloat. With years of debt building, I can't see any possible way they followed grant procedures and were still able to win one. Isn't part of the grant (at least it used to be) being able to pay a growing percentage each year?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Here and there View Post
    I think this is actually a fair comment.

    Calfire got into the contract business under the idea they had a fire department for half the year. So in some rural areas the idea was proposed to let the local area pick up the tab in the winter. This was kind of a win for both sides, the local got a full time staff at 50% cost, and the state got a little extra money.

    Things changed at some point and the state got into the contract fire business big time. The Riverside County Fire Department is a Calfire Operation and accounts for more than half of their paid personnel.

    What started as a practical idea has kind of turned into an empire.
    Thanks to you and SnowBall for the replies. I have always kind of wondered how the system worked. Seems like parts of the system are pretty practical.
    Is the current system cost effective? Or is it spending more than it takes in taxes and contract fees?
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    I guess I don't see an alternative to giving Detroit the money. No one is willing to make a compromise so we go broke. Sure the people voted in the fools that have worked hard to break the city for years, but we have gone pages and pages about searching vacant buildings for a possible vagrant or crackhead. The people of Detroit should be searched for even if they voted for idiots. What other option is there?
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    I say let them have the grant. And like Fyred stated, only if they complete the application process. Grants are use specific and the money will be guaranteed to go to the FD and has to be accounted for. Those guys love their city and through all the pay cuts, layoffs, budget cuts, crappy gear, dilapidated houses, and rigs that couldn't pull a sick whore off a toilet, they go to work and try their hardest to protect the citizenry. If that means that Cowpieville has to wait a year for their third new rig to sit idle until the harvest parade, so be it. If it means that my department has to wait another year for new SCBA's, then screw them!


    No, just kidding, so be it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    I say let them have the grant. And like Fyred stated, only if they complete the application process. Grants are use specific and the money will be guaranteed to go to the FD and has to be accounted for. Those guys love their city and through all the pay cuts, layoffs, budget cuts, crappy gear, dilapidated houses, and rigs that couldn't pull a sick whore off a toilet, they go to work and try their hardest to protect the citizenry. If that means that Cowpieville has to wait a year for their third new rig to sit idle until the harvest parade, so be it. If it means that my department has to wait another year for new SCBA's, then screw them!


    No, just kidding, so be it.
    Seriously I can't believe you posted this absolute bunch of bovine recyclable waste material.

    If that means that Cowpieville has to wait a year for their third new rig to sit idle until the harvest parade, so be it.
    So your image of the rural volunteer fire service is we all have bright new rigs sitting in our stations and have no need for the grants. Seriously? When my #1 POC FD got our grant for a new engine in 2005 it was the first NEW piece of fire apparatus we had bought since 1926. Everything in between was someone else's cast off used piece of iron. Heck, we went years where the rigs were older than the majority of members on the department.
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    Don, believe me when I say this, I'm not attacking volunteers or your department. There are a lot of inequities when grants are handed out. I was just in a volunteer/paid-call department close by me and, all of their turnout gear was grant funded. It's a fairly well funded, larger community with a decent tax base that probably could have bought their own turnout gear, rather than use the grant.
    What's my point, here? We (as a Nation) "waste" a lot of tax money on tasks or items that don't work the way a program was intended. Homeland security is a great example, I'm not sure if that is UASI, but it's geared towards USAR/collapse. Just look at the amount of grant money the state of Wisconsin wasted. Money that was sent here to create USAR capabilities and was squandered away. Sure, the state developed a pretty cool training site at Volk Field, with a ton of potential, that most firefighters in this state will never see. As a state, we have no response capability from those tens of millions of dollars spent.
    A comparison would be the state of Illinois. As dysfunctional and broke as that state is, in the same amount of time, they developed a system that should be modeled around the nation.

    At least with the SAFER grant for Detroit, there will be a tangible result from the money spent. I'm not saying there is no tangible benefit from a grant that puts a new rig in an engine house in which a department couldn't afford it, because there is. Somehow, we have to differentiate where the waste occurs and hold accountable the grant money that gets wasted.
    The thing is, is that no one ever thinks they are the one wasting money. Some third party will have to make that determination.

    And, I really don't buy or like the argument that the people get the government they vote for. They don't always. There is a lot more to it than that. There are always voters who vote differently, or opposed to those causing the dysfunction, etc...there are also those that are stuck for financial reasons, emotional reasons (it's their home) or some other reason that is unique to them. It's kind of like the argument given that says; if you don't like your working conditions, quit; go find a new job. Like it is ever just that simple.

    We're not talking about changing a political climate here, we're talking about grants that benefit our own. Maybe if we policed ourselves a bit better, we wouldn't have to have the argument about which grant is more important, or beneficial. Believe me, I include my part of the world in this; the job I work for has a full time grant writer.

    i don't really know or have answers. I'm on vacation with nothing better to do this morning!

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    Thanks for the replies.

    The sad part is I believe if we were to cut out the fraud, corruption and mis-management at all levels of government, along with billions in overseas aid that is never appreciated or reciprocated, we'd have plenty of money to fund critical services all over the country.

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    I am not saying Detroit hasn't proven a need for this grant, but too many times fire departments see grants going to fund things like exercise equipment, video conferencing training systems, and other things like that which are not basic necessities while other departments with true need for apparatus, turn out gear and scba can't get past the computer grading part of the process. Sometimes it just boils down to who can afford to hire the better grant writer and who has to struggle along on their on trying to write a grant. I have written 6 AFG grant proposals for my #1 POC FD. I have been successful twice, once in 2003 for scba, and once in 2005 for an engine. With the old system it was a daunting task, under the new application process, in my opinion, they just made it harder for people like me trying to help out their small rural fire department. You see not everyone can afford to have a grant writer on staff or even to hire a grant writer to write their grant. Sometimes it comes down to the chief or a firefighter sitting at the keyboard for hours doing their best to try and write a grant.
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    Default Allow me to clarify

    I am glad that the Federal grant was awarded and will benefit the fire department and in turn the community despite the debacle they have allowed themselves to get in to.

    My point is that their is no "free" money. Now to some extent, all federal taxpayers are subsidizing the City of Detroit.

    What I will not do is buy a t-shirt, send my personal money beyond tax dollars, or send free equipment to benefit the City of Detroit. That would just give the local politicians another reason to NOT spend local money on police and fire protection and my money will end up funding some more stupid **** that got them into this situation in the first place.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 12-03-2013 at 09:59 AM.
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    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    I am glad that the Federal grant was awarded and will benefit the fire department and in turn the community despite the debacle they have allowed themselves to get in to.

    My point is that their is no "free" money. Now to some extent, all federal taxpayers are subsidizing the City of Detroit.

    What I will not do is buy a t-shirt, send my personal money beyond tax dollars, or send free equipment to benefit the City of Detroit. That would just give the local politicians another reason to NOT spend local money on police and fire protection and my money will end up funding some more stupid **** that got them into this situation in the first place.
    I bought a tee shirt hoping that these small "gifts" will fall under the politicians' radar and they wont cut their funding. but I agree with you about the politicians completely. Most look at grant money as a way to fund "day to day" operations as opposed to using that money to move forward. The biggest problem I have with the safer grant is the way the rules have been changed , you can lay off personnel in the hopes of getting a grant to help offset costs of rehiring. And in "cowpie" land some departments will run unsafe apparatus in the hopes of getting a fire grant.
    ?

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    I said earlier that I would rather the money be spent in the US rather than in a foreign country. The money is going to be spent regardless.

    When we build something for nothing in a foreign country it is wasteful. When people die in a bridge collapse in THIS country on a federal hiway it is criminal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Sure. I'll say No. If the city of Detroit has run itself into the red, giving them a grant is wasting it. They obviously have no financial plan to keep the city afloat. With years of debt building, I can't see any possible way they followed grant procedures and were still able to win one. Isn't part of the grant (at least it used to be) being able to pay a growing percentage each year?
    The new formula is that the feds pay the full bill for a shorter period of time, which I believe is 3 years compared to the previous 5 year tiered system.

    The simple fact is this is nothing but a revolving door where in most cases this urban departments reapply for a new grant when the current ones runs out and the feds pick up the bill for another 3 years.

    This system was redesigned plain and simple to reward the union by providing a platform to keep union jobs and the democrat politicians to keep them happy.

    Call that political BS if you want but SAFER was designed to help small departments transition from volunteer personnel to limited full time staff or very limited full time combo departments to a few more paid staff. The program was not designed to keep fulltime members on large urban departments who had to lay folks off. The program has been derailed and is now supplementing large all career department's staffing levels.

    There is no way that the feds should be supporting a local service to the extent that they are under the current arrangement.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-03-2013 at 01:30 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I am not saying Detroit hasn't proven a need for this grant, but too many times fire departments see grants going to fund things like exercise equipment, video conferencing training systems, and other things like that which are not basic necessities while other departments with true need for apparatus, turn out gear and scba can't get past the computer grading part of the process. Sometimes it just boils down to who can afford to hire the better grant writer and who has to struggle along on their on trying to write a grant. I have written 6 AFG grant proposals for my #1 POC FD. I have been successful twice, once in 2003 for scba, and once in 2005 for an engine. With the old system it was a daunting task, under the new application process, in my opinion, they just made it harder for people like me trying to help out their small rural fire department. You see not everyone can afford to have a grant writer on staff or even to hire a grant writer to write their grant. Sometimes it comes down to the chief or a firefighter sitting at the keyboard for hours doing their best to try and write a grant.
    And I fully agree that if the program continues, the scope of the program should be narrowed to very specific direct firefighting and training areas.

    Apparatus should be very, very basic Plain Jane (which would be more than adequate for a rural department with a true need for a new truck) with a the department having the option to toss in their own money for anything beyond that. And departments with their newest truck over 15 or 20 years should move to the front of the line.

    The simple fact it he system does not work. The proof lies in the fact that my combo department, with a $1.3M budget and most of the front line SCBA primarily compliant received a grant three years ago to replace 32 SCBA while my VFD with a budget of 140K and very few compliant SCBA did not.
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    Not sure why guys are comparing trucks and equipment with a SAFER grant. 2 completely separate areas and grants that have zero to do with each other.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Seriously I can't believe you posted this absolute bunch of bovine recyclable waste material.

    If that means that Cowpieville has to wait a year for their third new rig to sit idle until the harvest parade, so be it.
    So your image of the rural volunteer fire service is we all have bright new rigs sitting in our stations and have no need for the grants. Seriously? When my #1 POC FD got our grant for a new engine in 2005 it was the first NEW piece of fire apparatus we had bought since 1926. Everything in between was someone else's cast off used piece of iron. Heck, we went years where the rigs were older than the majority of members on the department.
    Before you decide to take my narrow statement and paint me as a vollie hater, open that tin can head of yours and allow a little sunshine in.
    Find me "Cowpieville" their VFD any pictures of their apparatus, and I will retract my sarcastic statement that you perceived as my image of the rural volunteer fire service as a whole. It is not. You don't need to run to their defense with me my friend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    Before you decide to take my narrow statement and paint me as a vollie hater, open that tin can head of yours and allow a little sunshine in.
    Find me "Cowpieville" their VFD any pictures of their apparatus, and I will retract my sarcastic statement that you perceived as my image of the rural volunteer fire service as a whole. It is not. You don't need to run to their defense with me my friend.
    I always thought fyredup was a "cheese head" not a tin head
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    I always thought fyredup was a "cheese head" not a tin head
    I really like him and respect his opinion. He's super defensive when it comes to volunteer firefighters. I think the way I express myself gets blurred and can be mistaken for picking sides. Folks also might not know that I spent a few hears as a volunteer in a combo department getting pushed around by the career guys as well. I'm no hater, far from it, just a ball breaker.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    I really like him and respect his opinion. He's super defensive when it comes to volunteer firefighters. I think the way I express myself gets blurred and can be mistaken for picking sides. Folks also might not know that I spent a few hears as a volunteer in a combo department getting pushed around by the career guys as well. I'm no hater, far from it, just a ball breaker.
    It's a funny thing, I AM defensive of the volunteer fire service, but if you read my posts I am also one of the harshest critics of the volunteer fire service at the same time. Sometimes volunteer fire departments are their own worst enemy with the stupid crap they do and accept as standards for membership.

    My original post was in response to the image of the 3 calls a year all shiny new trucks volunteer fire departments. I do know some VERY well equipped volunteer fire departments, but I know far more that fit into the doing okay and even some that are just getting by using older equipment, often hand me downs. I just find the "Big City" deserves it more than Cowpieville because they are a big city ridiculous. I think the entire grant program is flawed when non-essential items beat out departments with older apparatus, obsolete PPE, and other out of date equipment. I know this grant is a SAFER Grant for Detroit, and to be honest, anyone in the know in these grant programs knows that the money that went for this grant has no effect at all on grants for apparatus or equipment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    It's a funny thing, I AM defensive of the volunteer fire service, but if you read my posts I am also one of the harshest critics of the volunteer fire service at the same time. Sometimes volunteer fire departments are their own worst enemy with the stupid crap they do and accept as standards for membership.

    My original post was in response to the image of the 3 calls a year all shiny new trucks volunteer fire departments. I do know some VERY well equipped volunteer fire departments, but I know far more that fit into the doing okay and even some that are just getting by using older equipment, often hand me downs. I just find the "Big City" deserves it more than Cowpieville because they are a big city ridiculous. I think the entire grant program is flawed when non-essential items beat out departments with older apparatus, obsolete PPE, and other out of date equipment. I know this grant is a SAFER Grant for Detroit, and to be honest, anyone in the know in these grant programs knows that the money that went for this grant has no effect at all on grants for apparatus or equipment.
    .... But it does have an effect on the volunteer department trying to hire 2 or 3 guys or the small combo department with one member per shift trying to hire a second person.

    Again, the purpose of SAFER was not to hire members for career departments who were laid off. That was not the intent of the program when it was started. It has been hijacked to provide pretty much permanent funding through repeated reapprovals for urban departments in cities that now refuse to or are incapable of funding their own fire protection.

    And that simply is not right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    .... But it does have an effect on the volunteer department trying to hire 2 or 3 guys or the small combo department with one member per shift trying to hire a second person.

    Again, the purpose of SAFER was not to hire members for career departments who were laid off. That was not the intent of the program when it was started. It has been hijacked to provide pretty much permanent funding through repeated reapprovals for urban departments in cities that now refuse to or are incapable of funding their own fire protection.

    And that simply is not right.
    And also the departments that make their guys use worn out gear/scott packs/ apparatus etc. for a "few more years" so they can "qualify" for a federal grant
    ?

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    http://www.jems.com/article/news/det...sioner-resigns

    Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing

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    he's getting out before the full effect of the bankruptcy happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    The simple fact it he system does not work. The proof lies in the fact that my combo department, with a $1.3M budget and most of the front line SCBA primarily compliant received a grant three years ago to replace 32 SCBA while my VFD with a budget of 140K and very few compliant SCBA did not.

    And here we have it. Jealousy raises its ugly head. No LAF, it was not the system, it was that your paid department either had a better need, or a better grant writer, then your volunteer department (Which had two strikes going against it, they don't do interior attacks and you probably wrote the grant application)

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    Back to the OP, the National Firefighters Endowment has championed this program for DFD, and no money, equipment, etc goes to anyone BUT the DFD, in the form of equipment - and only equipment, filling want lists directly from the fire stations.

    Not some suit up above saying we need "this" and not a knee jerk reaction to "NFPA Says this".

    The equipment will be delivered directly to DFD.

    It is designed to make sure the brothers at the DFD get the equipment they need to SAFELY do their job, as they have been orphaned by the city.

    Sure, we could say the city gets what they pay for, but do our brothers in the fire service have to pay the cost?

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