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  1. #1
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    Default Disappointment with FEMA grants

    I'm disappointed with the way FEMA has handed out grants so far. In Illinois the Hoffman Estates F.D., one of the wealthiest in the state received $157,500 in grants to purchase equipment. This is sad knowing that hundreds of departments across Illinois and the U.S. have to suffer another week when wealthy Hoffman Estates gets to bask in the wealth the already have and get to look forward to the money which I feel they don't deserve.

    Any thoughts?
    Station3

    [ 08-06-2001: Message edited by: Station3 ]


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber Diane E's Avatar
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    We have the same thing on Long Island. A fire dept with a brand new multi-million dollar firehouse receievd $18,000 for training.

    I've found the following:

    A. You have to be in it to win it.
    B. You have to dot all your i's and cross your t's....

  3. #3
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    Sounds like a little jealousy is rearing it's ugly head at the top of the stack here!

  4. #4
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    I agree with you on the way the grants are awarded. I think it all depends on who has got the stroke its the way it's always been and the way it'll always be, POLITICS I hate it. My question now is next year when they award grants again is will the depts that got grants this year still be eligible for grants next year? If so then that proves my point POLITICS. I am not writing this completely out of jealousy because we did apply for grants. Our department has been lucky we just recently got a new 3 bay metal building with an upstairs to serve as our chiefs new office and emergency management directors office and last year we managed to get a new International 5 man cab 1OOO GAL TANK and 1250 pump but believe me it was way overdue before that we only had 2 1978 seagrave with 600 gal tank and 1000 gmp pump (something like that) and one 1990 ford tanker with 1000gal tank and 500 gpm pump the truck has no get up whatsoever ,anyway we are always thankful for what we get but Its my oppinion that the ones who really deserve the grants (majority) did not recieve them and hopefully next year they will.

  5. #5
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    I believe that because this is a Federal program (FEMA) the language you provide is more important than your level of need. Send someone to school or hire a professional writer like those "rich" departments probably did. mfg197@aol.com
    I.A.F.F. Local 337

  6. #6
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    Our small volunteer dept. in Ohio just got awarded $49,000.It was probably because we had a grant writer do it for us .We did not hire one because we are a "rich" dept. like was stated.This guy doesn't get a nickel unless we get money then he gets a small percentage of that.This is no secret to FEMA either.They actually allow for that to be done.Next year take a close look at trying to get a grant writer that has a lot of expierence and works with this kind of payment.It may really pay off for you.

    Mike

  7. #7
    Forum Member daysleeper47's Avatar
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    I agree with Mike, Youngstown did that and got $203,000 for a new rescue pumper. Although, being that Youngstown is somewhat of a larger city, they have a paid grant writer for all departments, and I believe she is a professor at Youngstown State who has a job writing grants for the city. The Chief even said in the nespaper that we would not have gotten our first grant without her writting it...it does pay off. Now, as for our second grant request for $60,000 to pay for 100 new SCBA bottles, only time will tell....

  8. #8
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    I have to agree with Station3. How can Hoffman Estates show financial need when thet are one of the wealthiest departments in Illinois?? I have to say that I am dissappointed in that decision. I REALIZE the program was open to every department, so I don't wanna hear any flack from other folks about this post. Maybe the folks from Hoffman Estates oughta come to downstate Illinois where I'm at and see what we have, maybe they'll give their money to us.
    JMK271
    These opinions are my own and not those of the department in which I serve.

  9. #9
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    It's going to be very difficult for FEMA to explain how they are giving grants to departments that have a significant tax base, or in the case of Sellersburg, Indiana, that they have 132 members with NO NFPA gear, come on! This whole thing needs to be looked at very carefully. We wrote a TRUTHFUL grant application, we have 1 truck that was made in 1973 and has 132,000 miles on it, and 30 people. This is our ONLY pumper. Our squad blew and engine and we have a 1976 tanker. FEMA hasn't told the truth regarding the award of these grants and we need to get together and call it for what it is, BS

  10. #10
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    >> It's going to be very difficult for FEMA to explain how they are giving grants to departments that have a significant tax base...

    Actually, no it isn't. The rules of the game (if you read the original documentation) were such that financial need was only one part, among many, of the overall decision. These are merit-based grants, not needs-based grants.

    I admit, early on in the process, I was one of the first to b**ch about the fact that there was a deparment or two bragging about the realization of their belief that they knew they were poor enough that they could just slap something together at the last minute and get a grant. If that were true, that would be counter to the rules, both as written and as implied by the FEMA reps who went around the country talking about the process (I was present for two such meetings myself).

    As it unfolds, the evidence clearly suggests that the readers DID, in fact, rate the whole proposal and DID, in fact, consider factors other than financials in their decision making process. Good for them. That's what they were supposed to do.

    The question of whether grants should be solely needs-based is a separate issue. The idea of "fire department welfare" has some merit on its own, but these grants aren't FD welfare, they're merit-based. I question, however, whether some of the most impoverished departments aren't from areas eligible for CDBG's and similar existing needs-based federal funding, and couldn't have already relaced their antiquated equipment, if they had only bothered to explore their options. I could be wrong, but it's worth a look on their part.

    If these grants were simply needs-based, I simply wouldn't have bothered to write a proposal at all. I know that, even though our funding is minimal and our budget is tight, we're still better off than many departments in our own state, and, I would guess, many in other states. For example, we can't qualify for CDBG's...I checked. The fact that the evaluators seem to be following the original rules makes me MORE incline to take the time to write a proposal next year if we don't get funded this year. At least now I know what I'm dealing with and can learn from the process.

    So, I say, "Good for you, FEMA!!" for sticking to the rules and at least giving all of us that took the time to write proposals a shot at the loot. I didn't really expect it, but I'm glad to see it.

  11. #11
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    I totally disagree that they followed the rules. I have spent over 30 years with the government and our proposal followed the rules with all the i's dotted and t's crossed. I totally agree that the "need" was only one of the crteria, but some truth needs to come out. How can Sellersburg claim that they have 132 members with 40 paid and that they have NO NFPA/NIOSH gear? Why would FEMA give them 132 full sets of bunker gear, and wlidland gear, and those of us that only need 20 not get ours? How can a Chief Officer have 40 paid firefighters on a department with no approved gear? Our grant was justified backwards and forwards, and we told the whole truth, the question that should be raised is who rated theirs over ours? If different people are reviewing the applications, who's the final judge? If the person rating mine doesn't like a word set I used, then he can artificailly lower my score, but the need and justification is just as good, or better than someone else's that was evaluated by someone else. I also question who the evaluators were, and where they were from. Did they influence their own departments application? I would like to see a list of the evaluators departments, agencies, or companies and check the correlation between those who received grants and those who didn't! It could be very telling. We went into this process with an open mind, and it took a lot of convincing to get our board to agree to submit. They felt that it wasn't going to accomplish anything, and it obviously didn't. Some would say that my postings are sour grapes, but there is no reason that some of the richest and "well fed" departments in the country received a penny, that is if need played ANY role in the evaluation. If need was used as a criteria, then it was obviously way down on the selection criteria. I know a lot of departments that had just as good a proposal as anyone, and a genuine need, they have seen nothing!

  12. #12
    Forum Member jmkfire's Avatar
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    I agree with you Chrisredd! We're a small Vol dept. that applied for PPE to outfit FF's for the first time. We only asked for enought to outfit 10 vol FF's in turmouts. And to buy 8 scba's that we don't have! What happened to thier priorities? I know we proved more than just the need. Maybe I was to hopeful
    Stay Safe and be careful out there!!!

    "Just remember. No matter where you go. There you are!"

  13. #13
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    get to look forward to the money which I feel they don't deserve.

    What the hell makes you any more or less deserving than them?

    If your upset that one part of state is wealthier than another, get your state legislature to appropriate funds for local fire protection out of state income taxes.

    FIRE Act was never intended to fund poor departments -- it was intended to fund a selection of all departments, career or volunteer, rural; urban; remote; and suburban. It took a coalition to pass it, all members share in the rewards.

    Is it just me, as is there an awful big need on these forums recently to just go, OH WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHH?

    You ain't gonna improve the FIRE Act, you ain't gonna help your department, and you ain't gonna help the fire service by crying in your milk and going woe is me on the internet!

    Matt
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

  14. #14
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    FIRST a Thank you to our representives for supporting this grant system, second to FEMA a big thank you for a simple grant system and the people who read ALL of the grants.
    and the biggest THANK YOU to ALL the departments who sumitted grant proposals, we have proven the need and now need to push, shove,tow whatever it takes to increase funding for this program.

    We submitted 2 proposals and haven't gotten the call for either one, I'm still hopeful that we will. We put our pie on the plate and served it to the best of our ablity, if someone liked it Great!! if not we will be back next year

    TJ
    Be Safe Out there.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all your responses. Some of your intelligence levels show especially you Dalmation90 (Matt K.)

    [ 08-24-2001: Message edited by: Station3 ]

  16. #16
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    Just recieved the official letter from fema saying we will not be replacing our 1966 ford/lafrance this year. I've also discovered we didn't present our need as well as we could have. But you can bet we will do it again even if the rules don't change.

    [ 08-26-2001: Message edited by: engel702 ]

    [ 08-26-2001: Message edited by: engel702 ]
    Be Safe Out there.

  17. #17
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    Well seems to me that I am the only one down to earth here. And for you people that are saying the wealthiest departments won well how do you know that they are wealthy? How do you not know that maybe they took the time to apply for more grants than just this one to build that hall or have the wealth in Hoffman Estates? You have to realize that there are probably about 50 volunteer depts, and about 15 paid depts in each county on average. So you figure out how many states there are and how many counties. You have a a greater chance of rolling uphill on accident than you actually do winning. And politics don't play as big of a part as you all think they do. Ya see you might be using that 166 Ford/ American La France but they do due their research to find out who deserves it. Cause they will look when your last truck was purchased and how many calls it has run. They will give it to the greater average between amount of years owned and calls it has ran on average. Personally my dept put in for a Training Tower for 75,000 or a figure close to that, and if you are disappointed about it thats your fault. You shouldn't give your hopes up.
    Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
    Hose Co. 1 1st Lieutenant
    Randolph Fire Co. Inc

  18. #18
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    Mitch

    The 1966 La France was the last new truck purchased by the Dept, even drove it out from Elmira. With a town of only 4 sq miles and 1000 population those miles were the only ones ever put on it. Calls per year 5 on the average, we put more hours on it praticing and pump testing. Disappointed? no It will still respond and pump its heart out.
    Department wise in our county out here we have 8 fire districts and 5 town departments not many people, but lots of sq miles 2940.within the county and we are all vol.
    Is the system working? I think so,one of our neighboring districts recieved funding for their fire equipment. We all must learn from the experience and move ahead.
    Be Safe Out there.

  19. #19
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    I think we need to all be happy that departments are getting money, PERIOD. Our hands should be out shaking the hands of the departments getting the awards and congratulating them, not putting our hands out wanting something just because someone else has been able to reap the rewards. Lets say "way to go" and not be upset. Busting someone elses bubble is the selfish way.

  20. #20
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    Well..We got our letter today that said that we didn't get our truck because our justification wasn't strong enough. The whole point to my previous posts was that there is something wrong with process. If a department can say that they have no gear that is NFPA approved and have 132 members with 40 paid, someone should have questioned this before giving them 1/2 Million. Does anyone believe that a department would expose itself to that much liability? In this day and age, would a fire chief place his entire department at risk? Would the 40 paid members of the department put up with naot having approved gear? I don't believe it for one second. And it's real easy to see how much many of these departments have, many put it on their web page! We have department receiving these precious dollars that have multi-million dollar budgets and get numerous grants every year. I honestly feel very happy that by brothers and sisters are getting this equipment, but please don't try and make anyone believe that "need" played any part in the process. Why not give the department with 132 members 50% of the gear they need and I would be happy to accept 20 sets for my 30 person department! I agree that these departments should be congratulated, but what's going to happen next year? If we don't hire a professional grant writer, will we be left out again? How can we explain any more clearly that we have NO hydrants, a very small tax base, a budget that barely covers maintenance? etc. Again, the process is flawed if these facts don't clearly demonstrate a need.

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