View Poll Results: Should have last year's winners been allowed to apply again this year?

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  • Yes

    23 53.49%
  • No

    20 46.51%
  1. #1
    car120
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    Default Should have last year's winners been allowed to apply?

    I'm curious on opinions out there - should have departments that won grant awards last year been allowed to apply this year?

    Most of whom I've spoken to personally on the subject say NO. Of course, they were all from departments that did not win awards last year.

    What'cha think?

  2. #2
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    Having neither applied nor won a grant in the 2001 go-round I'm still of the opinion that yes, previous year winner should be allowed to apply. However, just like you get different initial scores for paid vs. volly and rural vs. urban, so too should there be a scoring difference between previous year winners and those that did not receive funding in the previous year. I also don't feel the distinction should stick beyond one year, if you apply in 2003, no distinction should be made if you received funding in 2001, but if you received funding in 2002 that should be taken into account.

    My $0.02
    Greg Smith
    Assistant Chief
    Gakona Vol. Fire Dept.
    Gakona, Alaska

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    It really depends on what the objective of the grant program is...

    If the objective of the program is to raise both the average and minimum capability and effectiveness of the fire service nationwide, then it would seem that you would want to target grants to the departments that are worst off and to get to as many as possible in as short a time period as possible. In this case, the answer is "no" because you would want to spread out the funds over the widest possible range of poorly funded and equipped departments you could. Here, a rule like "grant awardees cannot apply again in the next five fiscal years" would work well.

    If the objective of the program is to reward the departments who can best show their "worthiness" for funding, then the answer is "yes." In this case, it's likely that those that are highly "worthy" by some criteria in one year can show that again the next year, and you can go on your merry way secure in the knowledge that the "best" candidates got the money and you kept your admin costs low in getting it to them (as a bonus). Also, the same answer holds if all you want to do is raise the average level of effectiveness and capability. In that case, it doesn't matter who gets better off, just as long as somebody does.

    If the objective of the program is to give politicians grounds to say that they "supported our heroic firefighters", blah, blah, blah, then it doesn't matter. The only criteria in that case is to somehow shovel money evenly across the landscape and make sure that it gets a lot of press coverage. While I believe that the people at the FEMA level in this process have one of the other objectives (effectiveness, worthiness, or something like these), I'm sure that the politicians' only objective was to shovel money across the landscape and get their pictures taken, so they probably could care less how it gets distributed. I'm sure that most people in Congress would have been just as happy if we randomly drew one grant recipient from a hat in each congressional district nationwide.

    My answer to the poll, by the way was "no". I think that the objective of the program should be to raise both the average and minimum capability and effectiveness of the fire service nationwide, even though it probably would mean that my department would not get a grant any time soon.

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    I would say yes, following a "worthy/ needy" idea. What good does it do to place a $250K truck in house that will never get it out? By the way I am a volunteer in a small rural department, so please don't take this as a paid bashing vols. Perhaps the development of screening or process for finding departments (vol or paid) that have say 3 pieces to a 4 piece pie should be a good indicator?

    Just my opinion.
    Stay safe!

  5. #5
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    I say yes for the simple reason that there are alot of small departments out there that really need alot of financial help.

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    Absolutely not, regardless of need. The funds in this grant need to be spread out to as many departments as possible. If someone were awarded last year, they should not be eligible to receive another award for up to 2 years following. There are thousands of departments who need and deserve this funding, so lets spread it out as much as possible!

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    I believe that they can have the chance to re-apply, but have the same opinion as above, that if you recieved before, then that counts towards the decision making process.
    As for trade30, I believe that you are not bashing volunteers, but those departments that might only run minimal calls compared to larger cities, don't their emergencies count just as much? Plus I should hope that a smaller department would not take advantage of the grant monies by buying a truck that is overbuilt to suite thier needs.

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    I would vote yes. Our department received a grant from FEMA last year for $16,500 to refurbish a pumper that we bought with our own funds and to equip the truck. Our community is not incorporated and we do everything locally. Two communities within 15 miles of us recently purchased new fire trucks for over $200,000 each with city funds. We applied again for this years FEMA grant for $25,000 to purchase a used tanker since we do not have rural water yet. We feel a department does not have to by a $200,000 truck and the money could be spent better. We are thankful that FEMA allowed us to apply again. We hope we get funded again. $25,000 is not much out of 360 million.
    Michael Dossett
    Asst. Fire Chief
    Alleene Volunteer Fire Department
    Alleene, AR

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    Excellent post MDossett, that helps confimr that smaller departments buy to suite their needs and not to look bigger or better than another community. Congratulations on last year and good luck with this year.

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    Chief9900,
    I understand what you mean, we run minimal calls, every call is important! We are looking at getting a basic rural truck, 1000gal tank / 1250 pump nothing special and its coming in at $200K... so $250K may be a little stretch.
    I love the idea of refurbing a truck like MDosset's department. Unfortunatley I think alot of departments / fire boards (decision makers) don't see the refurb as a viable option. I have found that sometimes the decision maker(s) maybe a little out-of-touch with reality. We have two pumpers an 1986 and a 1969 model. One board member said "What The hell do you need with a new truck, you have coverage". A neighboring department has a huge truck that 80% of the time doesn't get out becuase nobody wants to drive it (they take their older backup pumper).
    I guess what I am trying to say is hopefully the grant system can prioritize things so that MDosset's department gets their tanker. It could (and probably will) mean the difference in saving property. The community would get alot of bang for their buck out of that purchase.
    Everybody may not agree, but if you can't utilize (read "use when your tones drop, reguardless if thats 50 or 1500 times a year") the equipment purchased from this grant program, you shouldn't get it.


    Good luck & Stay safe.

  11. #11
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    Angry Grant Joke

    The federal grants I find a joke. As a Fire Instructor and soon to be member of a new FOOLS chapter the Federal Grants are a joke.

    1. They follow a major trend and diaster! Hazmat,Bombing,Mass destruction,Terroism. Question? Why do firefighters have to die to get money?

    2. Will next year bring another "yes" to get the money? Answer: According to how many die?

    3. The military has state of the art equipment. Question? Why does the Fire Service follow years behind?

    4. Question? Will they continue to give or is this another passing to show they care?

    5. Until they realize this: The more we sweat in Training...the less we bleed in Battle...the trend will continue to catch up. Not training in what ever happens that year...but putting the money where it is needed. To make sure all Firefighters are trained equal and to the highest level and have the best equipment. Until that thought...the best Grant writters get the money and the brotherhood loses.

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    Default Repeat Applicants

    Coming from a department that successfully applied last year, I'm obviously biased but...

    The application for funding should be based on need. Those that can demonstrate the greatest need should have priority. We won a grant in Health & Wellness last year - because we have and demonstrated a need to improve firefighter wellness.

    This year we've applied for a fire prevention grant (one of the 3%) because of the needs of the community. I think some departments lost this year with the restriction to one category. Where departments may need assistance in many operational / support areas, they may compete for only one. This limits a departments ability to demonstrate and meet their needs.

  13. #13
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    There is one reason why depts were allowed to apply again this year after winning last year: The Sellersburg (IN) FD. They were the only FD to get two grants last year, and for purposes of fairness, I don't see how FEMA could say it's OK to get two grants the same year but not to get two in consecutive years.

    My only concern is how well the money is being distributed. There are hard-luck FD's with little money who could use a grant every year. There are others looking for a new toy to play with. If there were less of the latter, there could be a lot more done with the former, and to a greater effect.

  14. #14
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    Just to continue the discussion it seems to me that not allowing a department to recieve grants monies for the same thing would be a good control. An example would be that if you got an engine last year you should not recieve money to buy another one this year.

    On another note you might want to contact your local EMA Director. DOJ and others are pushing down some serious cash through FEMA into Local EMA's to buy equipment for terrorism. The thing to remember is that most terroroism is just a big haz mat incident so the equipment you can purchase through the EMA monies can cover several areas.
    W J Vaughn

    It is what you learn AFTER you know it all that matters

  15. #15
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    We've had an issue with our state emergency management organization and their control of the federal DOJ preparedness money. I'm not sure what amount of funding your state received but we are just now seeing the 1999 (1st of the 3 year program) dispensed.

    It is a great program, but unless future preparedness funding is funneled directly to the locality you will see it directed into areas the state agencies deem fit with little or no input from the true first responders that the monies are intended for.

    As an example, the 3.5 billion expected next year will automatically provide a 25% "handling fee" for all states. They will also control the block grant programs within the state.

    The preparedness funding should be allocated as the FireAct Grant is, directly to localities. If states need funding, allow them to compete as we all have to do.
    L1568

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    Arrow

    You hit the nail on the head. Our department had exactly the same experience with DOJ's Domestic Preparedness for Terrorism Grants for the past few years. Heck, we didn't even know that our EMA director had prepared and submitted the grant. But after the deadline was passed, we did find out that EMA Directors in Tennessee were allowed to formulate their own application without consulting with local first response agencies. Guess what? EMA wound up with 87% of the funding. So much for first responders! That exactly what we can expect next year when all of the money is handed down to the states instead of being directly administered from FEMA to each department. A few weeks ago, USFA was holding a comment period. I gave them my comment on giving the money to the states. I hope a lot more people gave their comments also. Administrative costs should not become a line item in this funding. That's exactly what will happen when we start putting extra steps in the process. Not to mention politics!!!

    Donny Green, Chief
    DeKalb County Fire Dept.
    www.dekalbfire.com

  17. #17
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    Default FEMA Preparedness Funding

    Chief Green,

    I feel your pain. We just spent a couple of days earlier this week in D.C. with some DOJ and FEMA personnel. A couple of interesting points came up:

    The Congress appropriated $175 Million THIS federal budget year to get the funds rolling before October.

    States were required to submit plans on funding identifying the primary state agency and a plan for distributing the funding both this federal fiscal year and next (the $3.5 Billion).

    The funding stream plan was submitted "a couple of months ago".

    The $3.5 will be distributed with a $5 million dollar base for each state, the remaining will be distributed to the 51 states / territories based on a population formula.

    The primary state agencies previously identified know the formula and KNOW exactly how much they will be receiving out of the 3.5 billion.

    There will be no direct funding to localities, this is apparently due to legislation that the FireAct specifically circumvents.

    The FEMA call for comments (those 8 questions) received the largest response of any comment period related to any FEMA program. So the Feds got the message...

    I'd encourage anyone to contact their state emergency management office or governer's office and attempt to identify how the block grants will work in their state. We still haven't gotten an answer, even though the state agencies were required to submit a plan.

    Good luck getting your piece.
    L1568

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    Definitely! This is a needs-based grant. If a department still has needs that outweigh another department's that missed out last year, then tough luck for the department that missed out. I wish everyone could get the grant they applied for, but they should be happy they aren't a department that has to drive around in a 1950's pumper that only works half the time, with a budget that would only allow a 40-year payment on a newer pumper. Everybody has needs, some more than others. If you feel you had a greater need, then you should have done a better job proving it.

  19. #19
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    Originally posted by firemedic110
    Definitely! This is a needs-based grant. If a department still has needs that outweigh another department's that missed out last year, then tough luck for the department that missed out. I wish everyone could get the grant they applied for, but they should be happy they aren't a department that has to drive around in a 1950's pumper that only works half the time, with a budget that would only allow a 40-year payment on a newer pumper. Everybody has needs, some more than others. If you feel you had a greater need, then you should have done a better job proving it.
    Well said. The volunteer department that I work for (Milton Twp, OH) received a grant last year. Our department is only 2 1/2 years old. We started out with all "hand-me-down" out of compliance equipment. With no levy in place at the start, we were able to raise funds to grow (we now have a levy). Our grant last year gave us compliant turnout gear and new SCBA's to replace 20 year old packs that were given to us. Since our PPE is now up to compliance, we applied this year for a new truck. Not a $250,000 truck, but a $140,000 (rough figure that I was given) truck that is supposed to replace an approx 22 year old pumper and a approx 28 year old mini-pumper we purchased with fund-raisers. We did the research and were able to find a lesser expensive NEW vehicle that would serve the purpose (although it would be nice to have that $250,000 pumper/rescue! ). It IS a needs based system and those with the greatest need should get the grants first. As our own equipment gets updated (to standard), our own needs will be reduced, and therefore, departments in worse shape than us will (should) benefit, even if it is in consecutive years.
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  20. #20
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    I voted yes on the poll but I have to admit that like alot of you, it is a qualified yes. Being that the grading was set up to evaluate need, it is possible that a previous winner could still be among the neediest departments in the country. I think however that you should not be able to apply in the same category in succesive years, that would help to balance the scale a little bit.

    From what I have seen however need was not nearly as important as writing skills, the departments that could dazzel the judges best won the talent competition. I know of a nearby department with a huge budget that got a grant while several nearby departments with budgets only a fraction of the size but no access to a full time grant writer were denied. I have also heard that there were allocated funds that were not applied for because of category limitations. I was told that almost noone put in for public education funds, this is understandable when made to choose between vehicles/equipment or a pub ed program, but maybe that should show that more than two categories could be allowed. This year only one was allowed, so I suspect that there will be more allocated funds not awarded because departments had to prioritize their needs.

    I think that the FIRE Act grant program is one of the best things to happen in the history of the American Fire Service, but like every new program it will for some time need to grow and adapt to enhance it's own efficiency.

    Alan Shaw
    Belltown Fire Department
    Stamford, CT

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