Thread: Dear Johns?

  1. #1
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    Default Dear Johns?

    I have read a couple of posts that seemed to indicate that FEMA is sending out Dear Johns as we speak. Can the talented WEBTEAM members confirm or deny? Can anyone else provide any info?

    Signed,

    Still no 1199, or five questions, or Dear John....

  2. #2
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    Default Dear John

    10-09-02

    Here's a copy of what you do not want to find in your inbox.

    Dear Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Applicant:

    On behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA), I would like to thank you for applying for a grant under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming interest in this program we are not able to fund your application at this time. As you may know, we received nearly 19,600 applications totaling over $2.2 billion in requested assistance from fire departments across the country. Because of the extremely high volume of applications and the amount of funding actually available, many of the applicants who demonstrated great need and worthy project proposals could not receive awards this year.

    While it is not possible for us to give a detailed account of how each individual application was rated in the competitive process, I would like to share some information with you concerning factors that made a difference in the phases of application review and evaluation. Applications were first scored based on the responses to the questions and answers for each activity. This scoring was based on program priorities, the goal of which is to maximize the benefits of the funds for the fire community. Information about these priorities was included in the Federal Register Interim Final Rule for the grant and in the Program Guidance.

    Panels of specialists from the fire service community were then asked to evaluate the top rated applications from the first phase scoring. Their reviews examined the project narrative and other required components of the application, especially the extent to which the narratives established financial need and described a cost effective solution. The top scoring applications in this second phase contained a clear and concise project narrative for the category being requested, told a compelling story of the financial need for federal assistance, and clearly explained how the proposed project would benefit the department and community.

    While funding for the continuation of this program has not yet been approved, and any future applications may differ from this year's application, the work you have already done to submit your application should be a useful resource for your department. As such, I encourage you to keep a copy of your application for your records. You may be able to use it as a reference for a future grant program, or even share it with your community as the outline of a strategic plan for the enhancement of your department.

    Again, we are sorry that we were unable to fund your request this year. Please check our website at http://www.usfa.fema.gov for information on the future of this grant program. Your interest in this program has clearly demonstrated the need and resourcefulness of America's fire service. Whatever happens with the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program next year, I can assure you that FEMA and the USFA will continue to work closely with fire service organizations to support the vital work of our Nation's firefighters.

    Thank you again for your dedication and sacrifice.

    Sincerely,

    R. David Paulison
    U.S. Fire Administrator



    Terry
    Last edited by engel702; 10-16-2002 at 12:51 AM.
    Be Safe Out there.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Have the Dear Johns stopped for now? Haven't heard much about them lately. We are in the group of no 5 questions, no dear john..

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    I talked to the Fema helpline yesterday and was told that this round of Dear Johns should be complete by this Friday, Oct 25th.

    Still waiting for our 5 Q's

  5. #5
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    Default

    Any idea how many this will bring the total of Dear John's too.

  6. #6
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    I read somewhere that this round was 3000 and with the 7500 that already went out, it should be 10500 total.

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    Default Who's left

    I recently requested information about how many Grantees were still left in the process, and I received this reply:

    "USFA: We are not reporting those figures, but there are still about 2500 more awards to be made"

    By current reports it seems that after this Friday (25th), that there will be around 4000 turndowns left to go.


    As of now, we still have not received any notification from FEMA. The only thing I am expecting to hear about is a 5 question email!!

  8. #8
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    I got our Dear John today. Not a happy camper and I have came to the conclusion that I have better things to waist my time on than applying for these grants. If it sounds like sour grapes, your right. 2 things come to mind,
    1. It should NOT take 7 months to say Thanks but no thanks
    2. The programs prioritys are messed up.
    With that said, congratulations to the depts. that got awarded and good luck to those that are still waiting.
    I am DONE!!!!!!!

  9. #9
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    I agree w/ Waterboy1. Why does it take so long to be notified that you will NOT be receiving a Grant. I can understand a few companies near the bottom of the list may get a late notification but if we know how much money there is, and we have the proposals graded from 1-??????, then why can't we figure out where the cutoff is going to be and then notify everyone else.

    It is very nerve racking. We have not heard anything as of yet. We're are keeping our fingers, toes, eyes, etc. crossed.

    Good luck to everyone who has still not heard anything......
    Lynn Fernbaugh
    Washington Fire Co. #1
    Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
    www.washies.org

  10. #10
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    Default Gone down swinging

    Got the "Dear John" letter last night. Yeah we took it on the chin, but we are firefighters and somehow we will figure our how to get the job done. I am just glad there will be 5500 communities out there and 150,000 firefighters that will be better protected. I am thankful we had the opportunity to compete. Good luck to those still in the game.

  11. #11
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    I'm speculating since I'm obviously not privy to the process, but being a software developer, I analyze systems like this all of the time trying to make them more accurate and efficient. Being a free analysis, it's worth every cent, so here's a shot at why it takes so long....

    Data. Boatloads of it. Over 19,500 departments applied. That had to be broken down into career, and combo/volunteer. Then the total monies available had to be split into the 53%:47% career:volly ratio of protecting the nation's population. Then the computer scoring had to be calculated from there to "stack" the lists in order of computer score. Either at this point, or earlier, there were humans involved in checking and double-checking the applications for accuracy, completeness, and validity (nothing to stop random people from applying, whether they were affiliated with a department or not, i.e. fraud). There was a safety margin established for the awards. For example, say there was $170mil available for volly depts. The list of potentials would add up to $200mil, just in case depts couldn't meet the matching or for some other reason would end up not getting the award. So out go the first round of Dear John's. And after that, the narratives were read by the 3 feds, who were mentioned in several articles. If they felt award, then 5 ?s, and on to the review board (300+ volunteers from all over). They approve, out comes the award. The process gets repeated until all of the money is gone. The October round of Dear John's was so late in coming because there was a glimmer of hope that the extra $150mil would be thrown into the pot, so more apps were held to create that margin. Once the money didn't appear, out come the letters.

    As several other people said, there will be winners, there will be non-winners. No losers, because you took the time and effort to make the application, and since you still have what you started with, you didn't lose anything.

    If you still need what you applied for, apply for it again, just research some successful narratives and see how other people sold their cause. Find a similar thing to apply for. If you have a 40 y/o first out piece, I'd venture to guess you might not have any aerial devices. Apply for a quint. It kills two birds with one stone, and would help make the fireground a safer place. Need airpacks? Check around with other departments that got grants for SCBA. If you won a grant for SCBA, or turnouts, or anything basic to fireground safety, donate it to another department if you don't need it anymore. No matter how bad you think you had it, it may be better than some people still have it. As long as the equipment is functioning and safe.

    One final note because I'm sure y'all are starting to fall asleep reading this: Everything is related to RIT. If the pumper craps out on scene with interior lines, you need RIT. SCBA: the more you have, the more likely you can establish a RIT. Same with bunker gear. Safety of the responder, and safety of the public were this year's keys, and will probably be next year's too.

    Don't believe that this was a wasted process. It's not a perfect system but it's the only one we've got.

    Stay safe,

    Brian

  12. #12
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    Default

    Yes, evidently the second round of Dear Johns has gone out, because we got ours two days ago. Disappointed, but not bitter. I still think it's a great program and we will try again next year. You only have about a 25 % chance of being awarded a grant, so someone's bound to come away disappointed. Fortunately our survival does not depend on this grant....just some equipment upgrades that we'll either have to find alternative funding for or keep our fingers crossed for next year. Congratulations to the rest of you who have received grants or are still in the running.

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    Default WEBTEAM?

    Webteam,

    You folks have been so helpful with getting us the info on the Dera John's etc. Can you help us in our time of need? How many more Dear John"s, when will the be done with this round of Dear John's?

    I know this may seem somewhat redundant for you guys, but we value your update....

  14. #14
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    Default We're out...

    We received our "Dear John" e-mail this evening. Disappointed, but we will carry on.

    Good luck to all that are still in the running!

    Stay Safe...

    Kirk Storey
    Haworth Volunteer Fire Department
    Haworth, OK

    http://www.haworthfire.com

  15. #15
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    Unhappy

    We just received our Dear John this evening. While we are disappointed, I remain in good spirits. Nothing we were asking for was make or break and at least we can go ahead and order some things we've been holding off on.

    My biggest disappointment is that we had to wait so long to find out that we were denied. Oh well, there is always next year. Good luck to everyone who is still in the running!
    IACOJ Agitator
    Fightin' Da Man Since '78!

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