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  1. #1
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    Angry grant recipeants 2-even 3 times in a row??

    Hi i am a firechief in a rural area of west virginia. My hats are off to each and every fire department who has not recieved a grant, however my question is why do we have departments recieving grants 2 and now this year in some places 3 times in a row?? Just yesterday i learned of a departmrent that was notifyed of pre approval for their grant submission this being their second time in a row, i also learned of a department that was notifyed being their 3rd time of awards in a row. By no means am I being a poor player or a sore looser but come on people we all deserve a chance, and as long as their are departments receiving grants 2 and 3 times in a row what kind of chance does that leave us others? were talking several hundred thousand even a million dollars on departments twice in a row. I put alot of time each year in preparing my grants and pay for a proffessional grant writer. I dont have a problem loosing out to another departments needs because we all have similar needs one way or another. I am always happy to hear of a department who has recieved a grant for something theyve desperately needed and couldnt afford on their own. however i am not happy when a department recieves more than one grant back to back, I think it is unfair to the rest of us who have just as important needs as those who have recieved more than one. Lets face it people this grant money could be done away with at anytime so why not put a stipulation on it so the rest of stand a better chance before something happens to the funds in the future, an example being if my department recieves a grant this year then we shouldnt be eligible to submit again for a certain time frame to give someone else a better chance next year. I would like your imput on my opinion and idea. Thanks alot. "chief5jmvfd"


  2. #2
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    Chief,
    I am not knocking your application, but are you saying that every dept ,no matter how bad, non-detailed, written incorrectly their applications are, should get a grant no matter what?
    If that were the case why wouldnt it be just as well to do a first come-first serve program. But we know that wouldnt work at all.
    The one thing I see that you might be able to correct, is Do NOT use a professional grant writer, Most of them dont have any kind of fire background, and remember, the narratives are scored by folks like you and me. I was there for the second week of evaluations this year and I can say for sure, there are many of the applications that dont deserve to be funded mainly because they dont follow the program guidelines and have few if any details. Write your narrative as though a neighboring dept of yours is going to read it.
    The majority of good to excellent applications that I saw were written by the actual Fire Dept members. You could tell when one came through that was done by a professional writer, they were not near as good as the rest overall.
    I will offer a few tips for everyone-
    1-Write a good program and budget description.
    2- Justify the Cost-Benefit of your program
    3- Prove your financial need, dont just list your budget.
    4- DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS.
    The narrative doesnt have to be a 5 page dept history but definately needs to be a minimum of 1 to 1 1/2 pages to properly get your point across.
    My last point-
    If we didnt let a dept reapply because they won a grant before, The numbers of apps would be dropping every year and that would most definately lead to a cutting back or cutting out of the whole program.
    We have strength in numbers, We need more and more depts to apply.
    We have to play the game with the polititians or we will be sitting here without a grant program at all.
    STAY SAFE!!!!
    Capt Tyler Sitzer, Weiner Vol Fire Dept, Weiner, ARK.

  3. #3
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    Default thanks for your reply

    hello thanks for your reply, ill clarify something maybe i didnt include before, if a grant isnt completed correctly then no i dont think one should be awarded, all directions are made clear to all, i dont have any problems with how the applications are scored at all, that much seems fair to me. I agree with you on who writes a grant for the fire service however my grant writer is retired from the fire service with 37 years of service, my grant application was completed to its entirety, correctly. That anyway isnt my concern, if departments score higher thats great i am fine with that, every narrative and needs are different which i understand. i still believe that once youve recieved a grant you should not be eligible for a couple years, i dont forsee a stipulation as such creating a decrease in apps. but possibly creating an incentive for others to apply. Lastly you are deffinately correct, "playing the politicians game" nothing we can do about that i suppose.. and thanks again for your reply,,, chiefjmvfd

  4. #4
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    I have to second everything that Tyler said. Although I certainly understand your frustration Chief.

    As far as repeats, I can't judge them as a whole. It depends on the projects. Some departments are really hurting and they write a good grant application. Personally, I'd have trouble backing the decision to fund some exercise equipment when there's departments that need gear, but there's no real straight answer when it involved other projects. The fact of the matter is, more money is going to go to departments that have the greatest potential for more serious incidents. I can guarantee that's the only reason we got our rescue truck. We border the 4th largest city in the country, run 3600 calls, and pile 40K people in 25 square miles. We're more people dense than most small cities and we're in an unincorporated area of the county.

    As Tyler suggested, most grant writers have no idea about the fire service. That shouldn't be a surprise since 90% of the country doesn't either. Get access to your neighbors' applications and compare them to yours. Not project-wise, application-wise.

    On another note, I wouldn't get discouraged yet. 6500 got tossed, leaving 13000. Double the money so double last year's award total of 5500 and you'll get 11000 awards this year. If you've done anythign right I doubt you're in the bottom 2000.

    Good luck, and hang in there. This program is better than no program.

    Brian
    Brian P. Vickers
    www.vickersconsultingservices.com
    Emergency Services Consulting
    Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
    Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

  5. #5
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    Default Thanks Brian

    Thanks Brian for your reply, i agree with your reply, and congradulations on ur winnings too. But dont get me wrong, I dont get angry if we are not awarded a grant. Theres other departments that have little to nothing in equipment, we are very fortunate of what we have with 2 new class a pumpers, a newer tanker, squad truck, brush truck and a newly built haz-mat trailor, thats pretty good for a small rural area, so my hats are off to those who have more needs. i applyed for an air/light unit stated in the grant package, we really need a filling station, preferably on the scene air, theres so many times we go out there and everyone is out of air before operations are over, or in my case after the fires over i have to travel to another department to use their in house system. The air/light unit wasnt the first priority on the list and that im fully aware of so if theres a department neeeding gear or in desperate need of a pumper or rescue truck then im all for that, we will keep applying each year, like u said double the money this year so all might pan out, and have to follow the pollitics,lol, be safe!! chief5jmvfd...

  6. #6
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    Smile Reply from evaluator

    Chief, etal:

    I was honored and privileged to serve as a peer review panelist this year. I was able to see first hand some of the dire needs of so many departments from all across our country. Those applicants included departments that received grants in previous years and some that had no idea the act was even available before.

    One thing that you might need to consider is that the act specifically allows departments to apply for a grant from one year to the next. There is no deductions made for prior applications or grants made in prior years. Yes, the evaluators look at whether the department was funded in prior years but I donít know that it made any difference to me in many of the cases.

    As for using a professional grant writer, I donít see that there was a pro or con to such services. For many departments I think that it would have helped and others it might have hurt. Too often the grant writers focused too much attention on technical data of a piece of equipment, detailed to death the demographics or lacked the background to make a project come to life. We donít need a full three-page narrative on how Thermal Imaging Cameras work or what they could be used for, I know. Spend more time on why you think your department needs one.

    I would recommend that the members of a department spend some time having a brainstorming session on the needs, not the wants of the department. Highlight some of these ideas and reasons why your department needs the equipment or program. Then, take it to the local High School English teacher and ask for their help in writing a concise and easy to read narrative. That would go a long way.

    You might want to consider reading some other grants that do get funded to maybe see where yours might have fallen a little short in prior years. If I recall, Brian (BC79er) has a web site with current and past funded narratives. I looked at a few and thought many of them were fantastic.

    Good luck, the winners should start rolling out soon. Maybe youíll be one of them.

  7. #7
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    Chief,
    I am from a small department in west virginia. And i think i'm kinda close to where your at. These departments that you've heard of getting grants again, Might they be from west virginia. If so is there a way you can let me know what departments they are. I like to keep a close eye on the local departments for political reasons. Thanks. Take care and good luck.

  8. #8
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    Well if I read the stats correctly, every career department that put in for a grant will get funded. They put in for $277,411,208. They are allocated 46% of the $750 million or $345 million. So it could be that all career departments that applied last year will also get a grant this year.
    Not true. Last year it was, but this year the rules only state that a minimum of 54% is to go to combo/vollie. It says nothing to the effect of minimum $$ for career. They are still graded with the rest of the pile. Theoretically, there could be NO career departments that get funded if they don't score high enough.

    The down side of going all at once is the size of the grant gets very large.
    Size doesn't matter. OK that doesn't sound right, but anyway, apps are judged on merits, not dollar amounts. If it was put together well enough, the amount of funding requested won't matter. I believe both Tyler and Mark (reviewers) alluded to that. If you have multiple projects and can afford the matching for all in one year, do it. Otherwise the grand goal you have may get lost because they will wonder why you only asked for one thing and not the other when you need both.

    As far as site checks go, there are none unless you are awarded over $300K. Progress reports are due 6 and 12 months after the award notification. They do a decent amount of background checking prior to the award, which is partly why 6500 got tossed off the bat. Many were from ineligible organizations.

    For the fundraising part, it does not matter about the overall financial situation of the department. Otherwise I highly doubt Houston could have gotten $750K for exercise equipment. They have money, it's just budgeted out completely, so buying the exercise equipment was not possible. The only thing that they look at is if the department has money, why is it not spent on the project. Our budget is over $1.6mil for this year, but since we pay 14 FFs M-F 6a-6p, plus the occasional overtime for a paramedic or two, and run 3600+ calls a year, our fuel, maintenance, salary, benefits, PPE, SCBA and other related costs eat up almost all of that money. We have very little left over for everything. We've had to do without quite a few things to replace broken equipment when it wasn't budgeted for. So if you look at it and say wow you've got over a million to play with, we don't. It's all about the priorities that have been established and are being paid for. If we didn't have a paid crew we could have bought a rescue long before now. But we'd also have a lot of unhappy people when we couldn't get any trucks on the road because all manpower was volunteer and no one works in the area. The main priority is having staffed apparatus. That costs money. Houston is the same way. They've got a huge budget, but it's eaten up by the same things and they don't have the extra capital that's needed.

    And I know it may seem hard to justify $750K for exercise equipment when that could have been a few Class A trucks for some, but look at the overall benefits. That exercise equipment will help over 4 million citizens and thousands of firefighters. 6 trucks may help tnes of thousands of people, and maybe a few hundred firefighters. The program is all about the helping the most FFs and citizens as possible. And since heart disease is the leading cause of FF deaths, physical fitness is pretty important.

    Anyway I've digressed from the points I wanted to make from your post.

    Good luck all, and don't forget to post when you get the questions. Supposedly they've got 6 for this year.

    Brian

  9. #9
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    Default thanks horse and ffmedic

    i agree with you guys 100% i dont have as much a problem with a department recieving more than one grant if they may be a station in dire needs of many things, however i do have a problem with it when one recieves two times in a row and that being one of the highest funded departments in the entire state, brand new state of the art emaculant building totaly equiped with mostly new state of the art equipment. while that particular department may show a need for a piece of equipment or trainning however i highly doubt the need is based due to a funding problem. and yes this department is not far from spelter. We have aplied for a number of different types of grants over a number of years and have not one time landed one. It just seems funny to me how some departments that have little to no funding other than their state money in alot of cases have such a hard time ever standing a chance with any grant and while theirs some departments receiving the highest level of funding in the state receiving one grant after another. We are one of the lesser funded departments, my state money is tied up on two trucks and our 20 dollar a year county fire fee purchases our personal protection, besides that we have no other funding source other than what we go out and raise on our own. I guess what bugs me and it just may be me but i get aggrivated when i see a highly funded department recieve a grant for a piece of equipment or trainning, etc. That any other time would just go out and purchase it with their normal funding, and the rest of us have to go out and take out a 3,5,or 10 yr loan to pay off something we were in dire need of. i usually watch the news and when i see a department for example, "spelter" recieve a grant for building a new building, or per say worthington vfd receiving grant money for a pumper or ppe, my comments are "congradulations to them" they well needed it. then when i see the departments with the highest level of funding receiving a grant for a piece of equipment etc. my comments are usually well any other time they would have purchased that with their normal funding, I highly doubt they were in dire need of a grant to pay for such. IM NOT DESCRIBING EVERY DEPARTMENT IN GENERAL IM ONLY FAMILIAR WITH THE DEPARTMENTS IN MY STATE AND SPEAKING ON WHAT I HAVE SEEN WITH MY OWN EYES, I DONT WANT DEPARTMENTS IN THE US TO FEEL THAT I MEAN ALL DEPARTMENTS WITH FUNDING DONT DESERVE A GRANT BECAUSE THAT IS NOT SO. BUT ALOT OF IT IS POLITICS AND DEPENDING ON WHO YOU KNOW.. THANKS AGAIN! CHIEF,,

  10. #10
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    Default Brian,

    i agree with you on the houston issue, thats why i stressed the fact i didnt mean each and every department all over, im sure their costs are enormous in a years time, thats why i can only really speak of what i have seen with my own eyes within the state.. thanks,, chiefjmvfd

  11. #11
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    I agree with you that departments that are well funded and have no real costs probably shouldn't be the ones winning the awards. And I know you're not complaining just to complain or cry unfair or anything. It does seem like a strange occurrence to see departments that do have plenty of "extra" money be the ones to receive awards. Outside Philadelphia where I used to run, there a a bunch of departments that are completly volunteer and have hundreds of thousands of dollars extra every year. Few runs, high dollar real estate covered, makes for open budgets. Of course, many departments like that don't even apply. Others must work really hard at trying to justify their financial need. I don't know about that, you'd have to hit up our contributing reviewers to see if they got all of that information on the application and how they took that into consideration. If they can, might be something about confidentiality.

    I'm not sure how the process could be changed to try and eliminate departments with excess capital. Couldn't go by total budget alone, because of the salary thing. Hard to not justify putting some into savings or investments for future use, especially with the rising costs of all equipment. Other than having to send in a complete yearly budget, I'm not sure how it can be done. Doing that would add so much overhead that the money for the grants would be eaten up by red tape costs. And the outcome might still be the same.

    That's why I'm trying to encourage departments that get awards to replace things, turn around and pay it forward. Look around for someone that might need the replaced equipment. Someone somewhere might have it even worse and what you think is not so good anymore, might be a ton better to them. I'm going to try and convince Chief to give away some of our old SBCA training packs, Scott 2.2s with steel bottles. We've managed to budget enough each year to replace them as front line SCBA with new 4.5s, and now we have about 25-30 frames, and a bunch of bottles that we don't use but twice a yearfor recruits at their live burn. Most we've had in a class in recent years was about 10 so I don't think we need all of them. But don't email me asking for them yet, I haven't even brought it up with him.

    Anyway, good luck again to all.

    Brian

  12. #12
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    Thumbs up thanks brian for ur reply

    thanks for replying, naa i wont be needing any air bottles for awhile, i phased out all the steel bottles to the new MMR packs, im bottled out now,lol, I also gave away some steel packs to get rid of them. no more than they were used, once they did get used for a trainning exercise or something, something always went bad on them from not using them enuff, i fixed them up and donated them away to our neighboring dept. chief5jmvfd..

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