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  1. #1
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    Default Spending your Grant Funds, do a Spec

    Hello everyone,
    I was wondering how many other depts who get a grant for gear and equipment will just call their dealer and order from them without providing specs for what they want.
    Since our grant award was posted in the third round, we have had at least 40 phone calls, emails and drop by visits from dealers.
    Most of them just say we have this SCBA, this turnout, this hose, etc.. One in particular started asking us about options on everything we will be getting. I knew there were a few options but it blew my mind when I saw a catalog with dozens and dozens of different specs for turnouts alone. different outer shells, different thermal barriers, different moisture barriers, TPP numbers, different pocket locations , sizes and closures, different closures on the front, different knee and elbow pads....etc..
    same thing with SCBA, pressures of course, different bottle materials, with or without PASS devices, buddy breathers, voice amplifiers, with or without the soon required NFPA Heads up display..and on and on.
    I have seen that many of the dealers are just offering showroom models at basically the same price that more options would cost.
    In less than a week , we have had a couple of dealers bring their display items and catalogs to show us. One brought a factory SCOTT Scba rep and they rounded us up two New SCBA's to play with, the ISI rep is supposed to send us a couple and the Survivair rep is coming monday night to bring some of them.
    I guess my point is, Dont just run out and order something right off the shelf, when you can get it customized exactly like you want for the same price or less if you buy in quanities. With the competition in the firefighting gear and equipment business, it is easy to get some good prices on what you want.
    We are going to let everyone on the dept have a say on all of the things we will buy, then we will type up a set of exacting specs on everything so all dealers will be bidding on like items,
    Then myself and the rest of the officers will make the final decision on what to order. It may the the lowest price and it may be what everyone is the most comfortable with, or which dealer might offer the best service etc..
    Take your time ,make the dealers work for you and spend wisely.
    I like the fact that with the competition, it looks like we could buy new SCOTT scbas and two bottles for each, with everything except the buddy breather,for $2000 or less.
    Funny how the dealers start lowering their prices when they know they are up against many others.
    Stay Safe !!!!
    Capt Tyler Sitzer,
    Weiner Vol Fire Dept, Weiner, ARK
    PS, everything we replace will be sent to other departments through Helping Our Own, Inc. www.helpingourown.org


  2. #2
    Forum Member wellsfr's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    check with your dealers they may have a state contract price. We do here in Nevada with a dealer and it is much much cheaper than we can find elsewhere.
    wellsfr
    We've been doing so much for so long with so little. We can do almost anything with nothing.

  3. #3
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    Default

    I feel it is very important to get as many members involved as pos. That helps to generate much more interest and involement in your dept.

    CONGRATS AND GOOD LUCK

  4. #4
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    Default

    Without a doubt get at least three bids. Write the spec so that each dealer is bidding on the same exact item. You will be amazed at how much they can trim off the cost. I have found that often federal and state contracts have higher prices than the street value.

  5. #5
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    Default True to our Dealer

    I want to say just a few words here. We have an equipment salesman who comes to our Firehouse once every three weeks you can set your watch if it is the third Thursday of the Month and if he walks in it is 9:00 am. When it comes to ordering a pair of gloves or 5 sets of Bunker Gear he gives us the same proffesional service we have came to expect from him. He walks in and ask us how we are doing and he truly listens and cares what we say back to him. Now If we get the grant I am not going to let 20 people bid this stuff he will always treat us right. If I call him for some info I will pay him for his time and trouble to find something out for me. He has bills like his cell phone wich I call several times a month so I know his bill can't be cheap. It is easy for all the Hawks to set out there in their offices and look at all the grant money coming to a department then call them from Timbucktoo Michigan and quote things to them at a 5% profit margin because they have no time invested into your department what so ever. Now if something needs waranty work who is going to help you out???? I bet the Guy from Joe Blow Fire equipment in Timbucktoo won't be able to be reached and if he is I bet he won't come pick it up he will make you ship it back to him or the Corporation that makes the product paying the shipping charges yourself. I know of a department that bought Scott airpaks from a non Scott dealer and saved $25 on two airpaks well one of them had a warranty problem so the Scott dealer in the area refused to pick them up so the company that blackmarkted them in had to pick them up and ship them back to the dealer he bought them from. CHARGED the Fire dept the shipping charges to and from the dealer that did the warranty work cost them $125 to save $25 dollars on a bid. I may be wrong in supporting this guy as much as I do BUT THIS GUY BELIVES IN SERVICE AND IS WILLING TO PAY A LITTLE EXTRA TO GET IT.
    Be Safe

  6. #6
    Forum Member wellsfr's Avatar
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    Default

    Im in argreement with Ebson. Ive been doing business with the same vendor for over 25 years. They are there for me any time I need something. And any time I forget this fact and get another bid from somebody else I find myself wasting time. A few years ago when we spec'd our new truck, we bid the equipment separatlly (sp?) The guy I usally buy from beat all commers by a substantial amount. I dont know how many of you have this kind of service and reliablity from your vendor but If we get our grant I know where were going to go.
    wellsfr
    We've been doing so much for so long with so little. We can do almost anything with nothing.

  7. #7
    Forum Member kprsn1's Avatar
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    Default Good points

    Excellent ideas for spec'ing out equipment! I think everyone has hit on an important aspect that being comfortable is a big key in my opinion. If you feel comfortable with your current salesman and equipment then stick with it. No one says you have to change just because there are so many other options open to you now. If you feel comfortable bidding out because that is the way you normally work then that might be best for you. Doing things differently certainly can have it's advantages but as everyone's well aware can sometimes come back to bite you as we've learned the hard way numerous times. Do what's right for you and your department. No one said it would be easy though!

  8. #8
    Forum Member jmkfire's Avatar
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    Default I agree

    Over the past years we have used a couple different dealers. They both have treated us very well! They are familiar with our department and what we expect of them. Experiences in the past with going to an unknown dealer/supplier for something because they bid lowest, has always ended in headaches for us. We put our trust into these two suppliers and they have always come thru for us. Now days that means a lot! They began working with us long before we had even been awarded our grant. Now I get e-mails, letters, phone calls from vendors, some, who months ago didn't even return my calls! Who do you think I called? The guys who will spend over an hour on the phone with you to make sure everything is as exactly as you want it.
    I find it very hard to go with 3-4 bids and then just pick the one that is a few dollars less from someone that you don't know and they don't know us.
    Kind of like the old saying: "You treat me right, and I'll treat you right."
    Just my 2 cents worth.

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

  9. #9
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    Default

    I guess it depends on how much you are spending. If you are spending a large amount it is wise to get a couple of quotes. Doesn't mean you need to go with the low quote, but it keeps everyone honest. We have a dealer for the area literally across the street from the firehouse. We prefer to support this guy. But if he comes in $2,000 higher on a $10,000 buy we have to confront him. Amazing how the price will drop. There is certainly something to be said for getting good service and support, this has to weigh into the decision.

    Get at least 3 bids, then pick the one you want, not necessarily the lowest cost either.

  10. #10
    Member ffemt1's Avatar
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    Default Buy in quantity

    The current system works like this. FEMA gets the money. The money is sent to individual departments. Each department then makes their own deal whih whoever they want.

    I purpose this as an idea for next year. Buy in quantity.

    Someone (I do not know who) developes a spec. for an item, like a turnout gear spec, or a brush truck spec, or an SCBA spec.

    FEMA takes these specs. to each manufacturer of that item and says, "I am going to buy 15,000 sets of turn out gear, or 200 brush trucks. Here is the spec. What is your best price?" Then, when the grant award is made, a voucher is given to the department, who in turn give the voucher to their preferred sales person, who in turn redeems it for the aforementioned item, which was purchased at quantity pricing.

    Is there any need for each department to make their own deal with the salesman or manufacturer? Can this work to spread limited funding out a little more?
    Non Volunteering Volunteer (Retired)

  11. #11
    Forum Member wellsfr's Avatar
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    Default

    If I have to run on that truck I'd like to spec it myself. We dont have the same topography in Nevada as Florida for instance. Also you may prefer Scott We like Survivair for a number of reasons. Or half your department is wearing bibs and the other half in traditional turnouts. We benifit somewhat by what you sugest in the form of State contracts that we can take advantage of if we buy one or a hundred its the same price. If you asked 10 guys what they want they will give you 10 answers. ff emt as test please reply back on what you call a brush truck. Just a short explaination an I will show you what we call a brush truck please reply.
    wellsfr
    We've been doing so much for so long with so little. We can do almost anything with nothing.

  12. #12
    Member ffemt1's Avatar
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    General spec. for a brush truck would be

    2-door (4-door may be a different spec)
    off road capable (4-wheel drive)
    200-400 gallons water
    150-300 gpm pump
    NFPA lighting system
    maybe some spec for storage size

    Department no cost options could be:

    Color (even thought all fire trucks are red)
    truck brand
    possibly type of motor (spec a diesel, lower cost gas optional)
    type of tires (size standard, brand optional)


    The reason I bring this up is that we had a similar truck speced by a leading manufacturer for the grant process and it came in at close to $100,000.00. We then looked at building it ourselves and we can do it for around $50,000.00. I know there is a lialibility issue with us building it, but if we worry about going to court, all of us would shut our doors.

    I understand what you are saying. We have $75,000.00 worth of Holmatro extrication equipment, so a voucher for Code 3 equipment would be worthless to us. But that gets back to the way you set the program up. I do not mean that the program would choose a single supplier. Just have FEMA deal with all manufacturers.

    If this is a "brotherhood" as I keep hearing, it just seems to me that we could all agree that 30 departments getting commercial cab pumpers is better than 20 departments getting custom cab pumpers.
    Non Volunteering Volunteer (Retired)

  13. #13
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    Default

    The federal government does exactly as you suggest. The governemnt gets a bunch of standard contracts with pricing. The same contract my have Scott, ISI, and all of the others on it. Sometimes it works, usually you get a better price off the street.

  14. #14
    Forum Member wellsfr's Avatar
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    I see your point entirely but keep in mind when the govt writes specs on toilet seats, they cost $250 ea. A few words in the program outline could also acomplish your goal on the commercial pumper.Put a cap on the amount for a type 1. And by all means build it your self. We have done that and the truck you describe can be built under $50k if your careful and scounge some parts, closer to $40k. I think this becomes a matter of common sense on the part of the applicants. You can see it and I can see it but Joe Blow still wants chrome go fasters on his new parade truck. I still feel however, that I would do a better job with the money. I can take the time to shop around for a better price, and that I have been doing so for many years. Ive been streching a 1 dollar bill over a 5 dollar gap for a long time.

    Anyway what we refer to as a brush truck. 750 pump 750 tank crewcab 4wd type 3 engine. we have many miles between stations out here. This truck must serve for stuctural ffing as well. The wildland fires in Co. and Az. this year are pretty normal for NV. although the fire gods have spared us here this year. To burn a million acres in our county is not unheard of. By the way the trucks have to hold together for 40 or 50 years. Ive been told in parts of Tx a 1 acre fire will respond 25 brush trucks. Ive been on several hundred acre fires with a single resource.
    wellsfr
    We've been doing so much for so long with so little. We can do almost anything with nothing.

  15. #15
    Member ffemt1's Avatar
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    I understand what you are saying wellsfr. I am just trying to come up with a way that more can win. I think a little for everyone is better than a lot for some.
    Non Volunteering Volunteer (Retired)

  16. #16
    Forum Member kprsn1's Avatar
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    Default ff_emt1

    AMEN!

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