Thread: FEMA Grants

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    Question FEMA Grants

    SORRY! I tried to post this as a new item, don't know why it's under RIT.


    All I've seen at other forums is people complaining that they didn't get their FEMA grant. I'm interested in hearing from other companies who did get their grant and to what they attribute their success. We got $33,800 for firefighting equipment and replaced our 27 year old Hurst system.

    [ 12-13-2001: Message edited by: dragon-fyre ]

    Steve Dragon
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    I live in a small town of 3300 in NW ILL. We received a grant for $15,000.00 to purchase rope rescue equipment. We live on the Mississippi River and have 200'+ rock walls north of town in the Palisades State Park which draws hundreds of climbers each year. We have always provided a rescue service with minimal equipment. We decided it was time to advance our training skills and purchase the equipment to make the job as safe as possible.

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    Congratulations. Did you (the company) write the grant application or did you have a professional do it? I did mine alone. Is this your first grant, state or local? Have you ever gone to a grant writing seminar or did you just follow the instructions, use your gut feelings and go for broke?
    Steve Dragon
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    My fire department has not received any money from that or any other grant. That is very strange considering that the Town I work for has paid grant writers.

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    Sounds to me like you're paying for nothing with having paid professionals do the work. Did they try for the FEMA grants? What did they apply for? Did they confer with your department on what and why you needed the money?

    These are all good things that others need to know about before the applications come out again in March, 2002.

    Thanx.
    Steve Dragon
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    Myself and our Intern/Jr. FF have begun preparing for the upcoming FEMA grant process and I would to hear how others who did get monies got it also. Hopefully this year we can get grants for training and equipment in wildland firefighting and technical rescue (specifically Ice, Water and Rope Rescue. I have been searching for copies of successful grants to study how they where written so if anyone has a link or 3 in that vein please pass them along. THanks and GOod Luck to all who apply.
    Proud to be an American, Union Firefighter!

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    If you go to www.dragonflynet.com Rodney Slaughter has some great ideas listed. He also has several examples of winning grant applications including my FEMA application.

    Also you might want to see if anyone in your area can run a seminar on how to write a grant. Our county community college had a FREE evening where the person responsible for getting their grants went over all 38 pages to help us complete it properly.

    If not, Rodney, VFIS and others sponsor one day grant writing seminars that are well worth the money. I attended Rodney's 3 years ago and since then have received over $50,000 in grants. Not bad for a $200.00 investment.

    I was at the NFA when the applications where coming in and those I spoke with were hoping that the original sections would be there for 2002. I was told there were originally 15 different sections so hopefully Training will be one.

    I'm glad to hear you're looking for help for next year instead of whinning about last year. That's what I was hoping to do when I started this forum.

    Good luck.
    Steve Dragon
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    To Dragon-Fyre
    We're from South Jersey. We applied for four (4) FEMA Grants; this being permitted since we are also a Fire District (An Elective Governmental Body). We were successful and very thankful on the one (1) we received, that being "PPE" for 40,000+. The other app's were for, Excercise, Brush Truck and a Rapid Response Truck for our EMS squad which would have rolled on all Fire Responses with a paramedic on board. I personally have one grip with the FEMA awards, that being they refused on some unwritten and mysterious grounds (I always thought the Gov. had to be an open book - Sunshine Law?) to identify a possible non-existent V.F.C. in North Jersey that won 45,000 for the Wellness-Fitness award. I say 'non-existent' because any and everyway that I have tried to contact this No.Jersey Fire Company, including various Law Enforcement Agencies in the same area has been completely UNsuccessful. I trully beleive that this particular, supposed Fire Company "doe not" exist. And I think the money went elsewhere. I challange anyone to prove me wrong! Any takers? Send email to: CommFireDistOne@aol.com
    93728765

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    FEMA awarded 1855 fire department grants. 208 were for fire trucks and 404 were for equipment. Only 104 some departments got two grants.

    I asked for four grants two each for two departments in the state and got all four FEMA grants. Only six were awarded in the state. Only two of those were for fire trucks and two for equipment.

    We clearly explained our need for a new first attack fire truck with auto trans, 1500 gallon tank, dump valve, pump and roll, seating for 5 with 4 in SCBA, protective clothing, and all the loose equipment from a complete set of Jaws, LDH, 20 lightweight air packs and bottles, nozzles, saws, foam, ladders, generator, fllodlight, dump tank, radios, etc.

    The whole works is in service now and working well.

    [ 12-21-2001: Message edited by: the7tower ]


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    Congrats to Jim Colby and the7thtower.

    I'm interested to know where you are 7thtower. I was told at the NFA in July that truck grants would be going to "poorer" companies in the south and mid-west who hadn't bought a new truck in 30 years. Also, how old is your newest truck?

    We were going to go for a rescue truck but decided not to since we got a new pumper in August, 2000. Maybe next year we'll go for the truck to put our new Hurst equipment in.
    Steve Dragon
    FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
    Volunteers are never "off duty".
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    Yea. Just a remarkable story The7tower lets see the wheres and hows to this one. Not that I doubt an expert like You or anything.

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    I know this can't help but seem like sour grapes, but I followed up our rejected grant request and got some inteesting facts. For example: fire companies may be interested in knowing that several fire dept's in VT had "station exhaust systems" funded under Personal Protective Equipment. I know this because I filed a Freedom of Information request with FEMA for 4 applications that were awarded in VT. When I called FEMA about them, I was told point blank on the phone that this was not an eligible activity under any category, let alone PPE.

    Don't get me wrong - I am very pleased for the resources that are being set aside for fire companies. But if you think there is a fair, impartial, thorough screening process going on you are sadly, and unfortunately mistaken. You have the same chance if you were throwing darts.

    My research into the practices and procedures demonstrate that the screening and judging process is arbitrary and random. NONE of the information on the forms is verified by FEMA (according to FEMA) prior to awards, which means those willing to stretch the truth have the best shot, as well as somne of the dept's genuinely in need.

    If anyone can support finding station improvements under PPE, I will be willing to listen, and learn. But I for one do not buy it, especially when the grant administrators fund it, then turn around and say it is not fundable. If 2 of 4 grant awards I looked at were rotten, how many hundred others are across the country?? This is hard to take in the face of genuine needs by many companies without substantial tax bases.

    I strongly believe that a third party should investigate the management of this FEMA grant assistance program.

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    Maybe the reason you heard other departments complaining was because of the sham called the fire act. When it was first reported it was hailed as a way for the "little guy"(i.e. rural departments) to finally step up and get on the same footing as their big city cousins. I suppose thats why the City of West Palm Beach, one on the wealthiest cities in South Florida got something to the tune of $98,000.00. I can see how that evens out. We have a population of less than 20,000, drive trucks that are 10 years old and older, don't have enough SCBA to go around, you've heard all the stories I'm sure. And this grant selection committee not only gives out several multi thousand dollar grants, it gives two to the same department. Imagine how many other departments could have benefitted from just some of that money. We will apply again, and we will wait again, and watch, to see how many large cities with hundred thousand dollar budgets get grants AGAIN. I would only hope they see fie to either not aplly again giving other departments who got nosed out a chance this year. But if it is run the same as last year, I will still be riding in our same truck, with our same gear, without enough SCBA to go around.

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    >>>>>>>>The7tower lets see the wheres and hows to this one. Not that I doubt an expert like You or anything.

    Ask away

    Who cares if it was arbitrary? The key is to get a grant, we did, all we could and we got CDBG grants as well. 1.5 million to be exact and no match.


    We spent 2 hours filling out the app

    Here is OUR FEMA FIRE GRANT COVER LETTER post yours, lets compare need

    To Whom It May Concern,

    The KVFD is a township board managed organization. It is comprised of an authorized strength of 20 members, serving a town of @330 people and a rural county population of @170 people, spread over 78 square miles. Our population is made up of hard working miners, ranchers, current and retired
    military and civilian contractors who spent their careers in the deserts of north central Nevada supporting weapons programs. Our town is a military training target with up to 200 sonic booms a day are allowed by fighter planes under current government rules. Most people live in mobile homes
    or houses. We have 9 commercial buildings in town. We are in the middle of an extreme wildland interface zone.

    The fire department is the closest responder for fighting fires, protecting structures, military plane crashes, auto extrication and EMS services in the area between our closest neighbors to the north west 27 miles but they won’t leave town, 74 miles to the north east, and 41 miles to the south, a whopping mid point coverage area of 1,000 square miles of Lander, Eureka, and Nye Counties. That is an area half the size of the state of New York. Our 5,621 square mile county only has 3 fire departments. Our closest county tanker for mutual aid is over 115 miles away. The average ambulance run is 175 miles each way or six and a half hours with an all volunteer staff.

    The federal government owns 85% of that response area but provides minimal seasonal initial response to wildland fires only. Their closest unit is 27 miles away when not fighting another fire. There back up is 90 and 137 miles away. So structure responsibility falls to us. For the first hour or more of any event we are pretty much on our own. In the heavy snows of winter the roads over the mountain passes can close and no help is available.

    During the summer of 1999 and 2000 our 4 county area had 4 of the 10 largest fires in the U.S. Two of the fires last year resulted in wildland firefighter deaths. Just one fire that we responded to was 300,000 acres in size. At any given time the last two years dozens of fires have burned simultaneously. We’ve seen another town our size in the area 50% destroyed by fire.

    We operate on $0 to $2500 a year, with an average of about $2000. Most of that money is used to provide EMS services to our area. We have on loan a 150 gallon skid in the back of an old pickup truck for brush fires with freeze damage. We have a military fuel truck that was given to us after it rolled and is heavily damaged to haul water also with freeze damage. The fire department runs a LOANED 1958 LN Curtis pumper with a 500 gallon water tank and pump. It will soon be taken from us by its owner and go into museum service. The pump is barely operational. The pump manufacturer no longer makes the pump and parts are impossible to acquire. We will try to borrow another vehicle but have
    not been lucky finding anything that will hold water or draft.

    We have built, purchased, begged, borrowed and stolen every piece of fire equipment on the apparatus. None of our protective clothing, breathing apparatus or fire equipment meets any kind of standards. We use what we use at great personal risk. Our fairly young fire chief died unexpectedly last year and was the township water system mechanic. Under his leadership we were able to add 11 fire hydrants. Our ISO rating is a Class 10 unprotected.

    With a Class 10 most homeowners cannot get replacement fire insurance or pay drunk driver type rates. Without insurance most people cannot get a home or mobile home loan. Extremely high insurance that is available doesn’t allow many to qualify for a mortgage.

    If you find us worthy to receive this funding we have a plan to copy what our neighbors have accomplished in attaining the best ISO ratings in the US for rural departments. We are asking for help with a used fire truck, hopefully with an automatic transmission (our current manual transmission limits the people able to safely drive it in our mountainous environment), with a 1500 gallon water tank and a 1250 gpm pump. It needs to hold 2400
    feet of 4 inch hose. In addition we are asking for used standards compliant equipment and hose to match the ISO equipment compliment for engine and
    ladder service. We believe we can purchase the apparatus and all the equipment for the $100,000 we are asking for but we’d make do with any contribution to public safety and any advice to do a better job.

    What we would do with that used vehicle is challenge our ISO rating. Our pre-audit with ISO a couple months ago is the basis of what we are asking for and suggests the following. Just owning the vehicle would allow a Class 9. Its arrival would immediately allow the average homeowner to save $178 on their fire insurance each year. The used pumper we are requesting with its 1500 gallon water tank in conjunction with our damaged tanker would allow an ISO Dwelling 8 challenge to save an additional $130 to $360 savings.

    The worst we could do is save everyone $309 to $538 a year and have a more dependable fire service.

    We will expand the number of draft points in our district so 2400 feet of hose will reach every structure. Within a month of receiving the vehicle we will demonstrate our hose lay and drafting ability to ISO. Our highest fire flow is 1250 gpm according to ISO. That is why 1250 pumper is requested and 4 inch hose is critical to match the 500 and 750 residential fire flows of our community and so the math makes sense to ISO. A Class 5 is possible district wide with a properly equipped vehicle. Homeowners would save an additional $119 to $370 a year. All told we can save homeowners $428 to $908 a year every year for the next 15 years. Businesses will save 11.8% a year at a Class 9, 21.1% at a Class 8 and 65.3% at a Class 5. The average yearly savings will be $975 per home or 2.3 million dollars over the rating period.

    In addition, once we’ve got the go ahead from USFA, we will approach our Town Board with a proposed $1 a month water bill increase to cover the cost of maintenance, operation and station expansion. A private citizen will pay the match to our grant. Our commitment to do the right thing is so high we will return the fire truck and equipment to the government this year if we can’t do what we propose.

    We are good neighbors, and when asked to help, we go and ask questions later. Your grant would allow us to fulfill the progressive plans of our late chief. If the federal government is looking for a community who can demonstrate a need for help and promise to show a quantifiable savings to the citizens, this is the department to help!

    [ 12-26-2001: Message edited by: the7tower ]


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    My, My deception is running rampent. Once again FEMA at its finest.

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    If I understand you correctly 7th Tower ("Who cares if it was arbitrary? The key is to get a grant, we did, all we could and we got CDBG grants as well.") you don't care if the program is managed well as long as you got your grant.

    It may surprise you, but for many of us our interests in firefighting safety extend past the doors of our own stations. Most firefighters genuinely care about the welfare of our brother and sister firefighters. My response to my Board of Directors after our request was rejected, was: well, we know the money we did not get must have gone to help out someone who needed it even more than we did, so overall, firefighters are the winners. What burns me, is that this is far from true, and I would like it corrected.

    I am upset to know that some stations in my state are having air cleaning systems installed at the expense of other dapartments whose firefighters have to work fires in jeans. This, is unnaceptable.

    I don't doubt your need 7th, but please reconsider your statement I quoted above. We should care about the safety of others, and that means that these grant programs that are the only hope for many depts to improve safety, cannot be run in an arbitrary manner.

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    No I don't care, the system is the system. We sent ours in hopefully you did to. They chose us twice.

    ...many of us our interests in firefighting safety extend past the doors of our own stations.

    That is nice, you read the app are they deserving?

    ....we know the money we did not get must have gone to help out someone who needed it even more than we did, so overall, firefighters are the winners. What burns me, is that this is far from true, and I would like it corrected.

    Uh, you live in the U.S. That is the system. Everyone got some of the pie.

    .....I am upset to know that some stations in my state are having air cleaning systems installed at the expense of other dapartments whose firefighters have to work fires in jeans. This, is unnaceptable.

    No it isn't, you can cry about it, change the system or get more money into the system. It isn't goig to change. Ever heard of Sen Robert Byrd? His Wv'ers love him and 49 states hate him, guess who he works for? WV.

    Di the app ask what congressional district or districts yo were in? Yes, so you are surprised??

    Politics are not fair, every fire chief faces them daily. You make you case or die.

    ....We should care about the safety of others, and that means that these grant programs that are the only hope for many depts to improve safety, cannot be run in an arbitrary manner.

    The grant program and saferty are different issues.

    No such thing as only hope. There is always hope and lots of possible funding sourxces. Anytime there is a government dole there will be politics. Either work inthe system or change it.

    The categories were listed, the awards were within the categories. SO who cheated? 200 fire service professionals made up the boards. Are they all corrupt? Did they get paid off or something? No they looked at the quality of the apps and chose what they thought should be awarded. Not one guy not two but an entire group voted for it.

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    ..looks like you and I agree on very little 7th.
    That's strange, considering we're both volunteer firefighters.

    My research into the grant program may not have carried any weight with you, but it has prompted FEMA to acknowledge the problem, officially look into how the PPE category was judged, and recommend improvements for the next round. That's all I wanted. Good luck with your department and happy new year.

    Scott Newman


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    Fireman5,
    Amen, I just filled out a survey as per request by FEMA, along with it I added a extra page. The intent of the Fire Act was great. You have to remember who lobbied and got their language put into the fire act IAFC and IAFF. It was made to sound as though they were doing it for the small departments but when you get to write the bill and then have your peers be on the selection committee, it looks as though all the ACES have been picked from the deck before the cards got delt. Originally the fire act was suppose to be 1 Billion a year for 5 years, but when it got downsized they should have reduced the number of applications from 2 to 1 per department. Also the limit should have been reduced from $750,000 down to $200,000. BIG departments such as Detroit got $700,000 for fire prevention. With them having to match 30% and having the 30% on hand at the time of the grant writing, I can't see that much of a severe need that they couldn't possibly implement the program over a 3 year peoriod from within their own budget.

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    Dragon-Fyre,
    We are again going to submit for Fire Act Grants. I too have down loaded everything and anything on the internet reguarding last years funded grants. We are putting in for training this year and action training.com has a package of CD Roms that are interactive. Firefighter 1 and 2, Hazmat, pump operations and so on. If you want they have a grant writer available to help write the narrative and help with the grant itself. Also for $75 per catergory the Idea Bank will look over your entire grant and tweek it for you. Anyway food for thought!!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck to all!

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    7Tower,
    Looks like you did a good job on your cover letter and for the record no one is upset with you getting your grant, but what firefighters are upset with is (Scenerio) Hoffman Estates showns need for a new pumper and get it. They are the richest city per capita in Illinois. Go to fire-ems.net and look at their equipment listing and service area of 7 or 19 square mile of service area. In Illinois if you wasn't from the Chicago area your odds fell very drastically. I too contacted Senator Dick Durbin of Chicago and Congressman David Phelps which happens to live in my city, and I still didn't get a grant. I now live and learn from those that were funded and have copies on hand. If I read it and am impressed then I use it otherwise, trashcan. I also found in Senator Dick Durbins press releases of him bringing in people from FEMA to show the Mayors and Chiefs of the Chicago area how to write the grants. I must be to far South to be invited to Chicago to learn the does and don'ts of the finer art of grant writing. As for my Congressman I think he has other problems with the Chicago Congressmen voting to redistrict and doing away with the Illinois 19th Congressional District as the population of Illinois has lessened. Maybe I can write a grant to Fund my Congressman!

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    7Tower,
    Want a crash course on ISO. Go to
    http://www.isoslayer.com and click on your next fire rating, you can print it off but you"ll need a reem of paper and a new print cartiage as it is approximately 175 pages long.

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    7Tower,
    Try http://www.geocities.com/Baja/Trails/6658 if you have troubles getting into isoslayer.

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    James --

    I am from a FC in N. Jersey who was fortunate enought to receive a FEMA grant. That being said, I would like to know what FC you are referring to and are you referring to the 2001 list, since the list on FEMA's website shows no FC in New Jersey awarded $45,000 for Wellness & Fitness and all of the ones that were awarded grants for Wellness & Fitness that are in North Jersey I will help you find since I believe they do all exist.

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    Just wondering if FEMA was not awarding grants last year for thermal imaging camera's. I was told by a MSA salesman they heard grants wouldn't be awarded for them.

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