1. #1
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    Thumbs down Ok That Did It, Now I'm Mad

    Howl.......(sound effect placed here....long drawn out, high pitched wolf howl, I MEAN HOOOOOWWWWLLLLLLLL.

    Just went on FEMA/USFA site to check our grant applic. and the front page announcement is there...FEMA fire program specialist presenting check to Wilminton, Del. Mayor and Chief. "This is the departments third award under the AFGP."
    Many here have stated frustration when there were dept.s with second awards before some got first.....NOW it apears at lest one got 3 of 3. Very Nice for them, but ........(INSERT ANOTHER LONGER LOUDER HOWL of great pain and frustration).

    ON top of that apparently they are in need of assistance, the last line is 'Also at the ceremony were representatives of the I.A.F.F., who presented the depatment with a $5,000 check to assist with the match for the 2002 Award.'

    Havn't finished their 2002 award yet, need help with match, and get 3 in a row. (STILL HOWLING.......)

    I may win the lotto I proposed on another post.... just send the winnings to my rubber room..........
    (should now be CharlieRFD,past,Pres.), but I've had this screen name for so long, I'm keeping it..., besides I'm Deputy Chief now.
    BE SAFE OUT THERE
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    Not that it will make you feel any better but....

    In 2001 and 2002, the laws of the program stipulated that fully career/paid departments get a set percentage of the money (~46%), so combo/volly departments were not in competition with them. So you were not competing with them the first two years anyway. Considering the very small number of career applicants in both of those years, it's not surprising that they went 2 for 2.

    In 2003, the law was changed, most likely because of the low amount of career requests and the career dollar request total from the previous two years. The only split guarantee is that combo/volunteer awards add up to at least 54% of the money since they protect 54% of the population. Technically, career departments could have ended up with no awards. But, go back to the formula of population density, call volume, etc, etc. You're not going to beat many career departments in this arena if you're rural. The cost/benefit to a career department replacing old air packs (don't know what Wilmington did, just an example for argument's sake) is much greater than a suburban or rural department just because of the number of firefighters & citizens that project will benefit.

    I don't take any grief over the IAFF donation to the matching. That's the FF Union making a decision that will help benefit their FFs, a commendable action to help the city offset the costs of matching their 30% of the project. Nothing says that the city needed the money for the match, since they had to have had the money readily available in the first place to get the award. It was just a nice gesture, not unlike a business in someone else's area making a donation after the local department was awarded to offset costs.

    Excuse me while I step back up onto the soap box: (insert groan, as in making a big step up... )

    Some departments may never get an award, some may win every year. It's a competitive grant program and that's the nature of the beast. Some won't compete no matter what the project. And you may want to read the audit report and USFA rebuttal. From what I gathered on the quick read of the audit report was that they thought that there should be more restricting requirements, such as 2 years worth of a budget in the application and documented mutual aid agreements. USFA rejected those requirements as many smaller departments may not be able to comply. Some of you may be able to, but many may not, and odds are they are your more rural departments. So it looks to me like USFA and FEMA are trying to fight restrictions that would knock many of you on this forum out. And another FYI: the higher up at FEMA that I talked to is a member of a volunteer department, as are many of the people at USFA & FEMA. His department has gotten Dear John'd also because they can't pass the computer scoring either. So here is someone who could help change the rules so that his own department, any many like it, could possibly get past computer scoring and be more competitive (but still no guarantee of award), yet he doesn't think that the rules need changing. Kind of a bold statement isn't it. His own department needs the money, but he doesn't think that the rules need changing because he thinks the current rules focus the money where the cost-benefit is the greatest, even though it means that his department may never be awarded. Something to think about....

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    Default Wasn't bashing the union..

    Sorry if my start of this thread, sounded in any way negative toward the union, thats not what I meant, I agree it is avery good thing for the union to assist with the grant, it is definately in the interest of their members. (Probably more that alot of other things the union does.)
    (should now be CharlieRFD,past,Pres.), but I've had this screen name for so long, I'm keeping it..., besides I'm Deputy Chief now.
    BE SAFE OUT THERE
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    Charlie:
    I can readily identify with your frustration.
    Now, excuse me whilst I talk to BC79er.
    BC; it's been awhile. Here is my opinion on someone going 3 for 3 in the grant program. Obviously, someone has a very good grant writer submitting their paperwork.
    But you know what? I'd almost be tempted to investigate ANY fire department that is obviously quite destitute that they have to dip into our federal government not one or two, but THREE times in three years for assistance.
    If it's that bad there, they should either 1) triple the local tax or 2) close up shop.
    I am tired of funding them with MY tax dollars.
    Just a little food for thought.
    Oh and you said the "C" word again.
    CR
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    Thumbs down 3 for 3... c'mon

    I too take great exception with fire departments receiving 3 grants in 3 consecutive years. I fully realize they are competitive grants... However, someone at the USFA should be looking at insuring these grants meet some of the needs of all fire departments, before they meet all of the needs of some fire departments. The people in my town pay federal taxes too and are deserving of a share of these funds.

    The answer would be to make any department that receives a grant not eligible the following year. Otherwise, the greed is going to prompt people like me to start rattling the cage with my Congressman & Senators, which in turn should result in a much closer look at those departments receiving consecutive grants.



    Meet some of the needs of all of the departments, before you meet all of the needs of some of the departments...

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    Just for the sake of argument since the statement "my tax dollars" was thrown:

    There are more people in Wilmington paying taxes than most rural areas, so if you want to talk about who's funding who, odds are the people in urban areas are funding other people's areas more times than not. In fact, all of the time. Philadelphia hasn't gotten a grant. Don't they pay federal taxes? Aren't there more people there than say most counties in the US? I don't see them getting upset about their tax dollars going elsewhere.

    The "my tax dollars" is the argument that should be never mentioned again. Why? It will lead to rationing of "my tax dollars", which will put most of the money in heavily populated suburban and urban areas, many of which do not need the money and don't apply (less than half of US Fire Depts applied in 2003). So if it were turned into a rationing grant program, y'all would have no chance and those that didn't apply, would turn around and apply since it was turned into a welfare program based on population. Can anyone else solve their problems with less than 25 cents per person in their district. I doubt it would make a dent.


    deserving of a share of these funds
    Welcome to the US. You pay taxes with no requirement on the government's part that you get anything back. That's why they're called taxes.

    And for those that say you only get money with no chance at the next: can you solve all your problems in one year with one grant? Station26, can you fix your department with one grant? I don't think so. If you can you shouldn't be applying. Most departments don't ask for half of what they need because they're limited by the cost of the matching funds. CR, you can't solve your problems with one grant either. Should your citizens triple their local tax too? And they have been investigated. There have been departments and people prosecuted and convicted of fraud, and awards removed. Do you really think that Round 13 came up last year because departments didn't WANT the money or didn't have the matching? Ummmm, not really. They just don't want the bad PR to come out since that would probably make the govt put the whole program on hold until they analyzed the crap out of everything, making the administrative costs skyrocket, and leaving no money for anyone. Since y'all haven't been awarded you don't know about the hoops that the rest of us have had to jump through to prove everything in our application.

    I'm not saying it's a perfect system, since such systems don't exist on this planet. But think about what the ramifications are to the ideas you have before you post them. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I have yet to see an objective suggestion that would not benefit the person posting the suggestion. Why do I think this? I have yet to say, "That's a hell of an idea!" I'm objective about the program and it's goals because I have friends and family all over the country that are either members or are protected by departments that need grants. I'm happy our department's only real NEED is a quint, and I won't be disappointed if we don't get it. I won't apply next year for it. I'm in favor of a burn simulator. That will do more for more departments than the quint will.

    Everyone including CR have made suggestions that would first and foremost benefit themselves, then everyone else. Only the recent suggestions from CR come to mind, such as rescues a Priority 1 for rural. But I'm not knocking, at least they're making suggestions. Everyone else is just bitching. Suggestions = good, bitching = bad.

    So to put money where my mouth is (it is lunchtime after all) I've got one: Limit the AMOUNT that one department can apply for if they are successful in the prior year, or in 3 years. Make the limit for one department's awards $750K in 3 years. That will take the big departments out really quickly. Get them their big $750K max project and then they're done for the next 2 years. That way the smaller departments that can't come up with more than a couple grand in matching each year can apply every year, and those with the higher amounts of expendable matching funds are limited in projects and awards. It limits the pool while possibly getting the money out to more departments in the rural areas. Hmmmmm.

    That way the program is still competitive (oops, C-word), and yet still not welfare. Oh yeah: "That's a hell of an idea"

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    BC79er: I'm sure you are not surprised that I don't agree with the majority of your posting. First & foremost: I don't need to be "Welcomed to the U. S." I've lived here all my life & "I'm quite familiar with how most of American life works... including paying taxes.

    You seem surprised that most suggestions for improvement of the FIRE Act posted here "would first and foremost benefit themselves, then everyone else." Why do you think people are taking the time to express their opinion, as well as their associated frustration here? Of course I want to help out my department!

    I have thought about the ramifications of my ideas before I posted it (which of course is why I posted it.) I solidly stand by them despite your thinking to the contrary. No department should receive a grant 2 consecutive years. That will allow MORE departments to receive funds for their projects. I further reject your characterization of this program as "welfare." This program was the result of a tremendous amount of work by members of the fire service, working directly with members of congress. I intend to work directly with some of those same folks to help level the playing field so that MORE departments across the United States receive some of their federal tax dollars back! That includes MANY more departments than mine!

    Enough said!

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    ChiefReason and Station26 well said.

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    BC79er,

    I do agree with you that "That is a hell of an idea". Our department is a (VERY) rural department surrounded by paid and combo departments including Plano, TX. Last year I was extremely frustrated by the larger paid departments getting hundreds of thousands of dollars when we got Dear John'ed. But, I tried again and this year we got $115K for a variety of projects. I was still a bit frustrated to see that Plano got a large grant (yet again) when many (including the local politicians) feel the fire department wastes a lot of money. Your idea of limiting the amount to $750K would indeed allow cities like Plano to keep providing the very high level of service they do by funding projects for them, yet allow the smaller departments (like us) to continue to apply for what we can match in subsequent years. After reading all of the posts here for the last three years, your solution seems to be the most practical because nobody loses and it seems many more departments might have the opportunity to win. Thanks for providing a constructive solution that has real possibilities for helping to solve some of the frustrations with the program.

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    I have been doing some analysis concerning the grants in Pennsylvania over that last three years and here is what I've found;
    PA has received 750 grants, 67 counties have received grants, three counties have received 40 or more, one county has received 66 grants. As for fire departments 689 fire departments have received grants, 55 have received two grants and three have received three grants. In looking at the distribution by community, 534 different communities recieved grants, 134 communities received two or more grants, one community received 21 (its a city), another received 13. Still haven't found any real pattern to the distribution within the state.

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    I've lived here all my life & "I'm quite familiar with how most of American life works... including paying taxes.
    So you agree with the part of my post about how ridiculous your "my tax dollars" statement is? You have to since you understand the tax system and how no one who pays taxes has a right to any benefits from paying them.

    If you post something that you know will help only your department first, there is no objectivity to the argument. So if it were every other year for awardees, do you still realize that you may NEVER get a grant? Only half of the departments in the country applied, so don't you think that more would apply with the supposedly "increased" chances from the previous year's winners not being able to apply?

    Let's take the current year and apply it to your every other year system: 19,000 applications, $2.2 billion requested, $750 million awarded. Awardees can't apply in subsequent years. 2003 awards total $750 million. No additional applications in 2004 (which won't happen, more departments would apply): 2004 request total: $1.45 million. Awards total $750 million, $700 million in requests STILL NOT AWARDED AFTER 2 YEARS. In 2005, back come the 2003 awardees since they can apply again, request total back up to $1.5 million. They already proved they have a greater need than the 2 year Dear John'd applicants, so it won't be hard to beat them out again. And that's only if no one else additional applied than did before, which won't happen! Every department in the country would apply if that were the case, so then we'll still have a $750 million supply, and over $4 billion in requests every single year even with the previous year's awardees out of the running. So you will still have people that won't be awarded in 3 years, 4 year, 5 years, which is the same situation we have now! Where is the improvement? What is your idea when you still go for 6 years with no awards? Will you then accept the fact that some departments will win every other year, and your department may get none no matter how long the funding goes?

    And like you said, hundreds of people put in hundreds of hours creating this program, including people that we'd both agree are fire service experts. So this being the case, if this is the best that they could come up with, don't you think that they already considered the ramifications of every type of program out there?

    Want another objective suggestion of mine? How about this for size: Divide up the money in exact proportion to the percentages of population density as compared to department classification, and only those in the same classification compete against each other. For ease of math since I'm in a rush right now:

    30,000 total departments
    5,000 urban (1/6th, .167)
    10,000 suburban (1/3rd, .33)
    15,000 rural (1/2, .50)

    $750 million available
    .167 for urban ($125,250,000)
    .33 for suburban ($247,500,000)
    .50 for rural ($375,000,000)

    I don't know that those are the real numbers, but I consider that to be a fair way of ensuring that each classification is only competing among themselves. But guess what? Statistics will prove that some may still never win. Was the problem solved, or was the same solution only altered?

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    BC, Got the E-Mail from ya and we will be contacting ya soon for 2004. I also agree with some of the posts ya have here except the one about the point that you have not seen any post that would help someone other than the poster. Kinda think ya mean that the only people making suggestions are those that have been denied. Yep, that would be correct. Reckon that those denied like myself are looking for ways to get funded and to find a more fair way of doing it instead of funding departments 2-3 years in a row.

    I still think the process is too long drawn out, But that is because of the shortage of people FEMA allows to do this job. Still think that there needs to be a better justification system before awards are given out. I still believe that departments are getting funded that are lying. But I also agree that the system as a whole has helped some very needy departments, and that is the good thing about the whole process. As mentioned before, I still think that if you won one year you still can apply, but next year the departments that did not get funded this year should be contacted to see if they still need what they applied for last year, before funds are turned over.

    Other than that, you are pretty much correct in the numbers you through out and the advice and answers you have given.


    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Let me 1st say congratulation to all who have received grants in the past and good luck to those still in the running this year. However to be given grants 3 years in a row I must agree with ChiefReason as to how and why they keep getting the grants. It was my belief when this program was started it was to HELP ALL fire personal. Yes they may have a need for all they ask for but what about those that need it just as much as them. Now BC79er will say they read the rules and many of them had good grant writers (gw) but why then does that DISCRIMATE against those that are struggling who may not have the access to the gw . Once again BC79er will say if you cant find the time or the gw that’s your tough luck. While on BC79er, he state he does not want to hear "my tax dollars". Gee I didn’t know this was FOREIGN AID. Yes it is "MY TAX MONEY" and I care how it’s given out. Because some companies have few member, few runs and little cash should they be left out? Some where some time this will come back to bit us ( getting 2 and 3 grants back to back) because people will get tired of this and then the complaints will go the giver and the program will be shut down. I hope not. I wish I had some of the answers but I do agree with ChiefReason, Station26 and CharlieRFDPres on their above thoughts. If you receive a grant sit out 1 or 2 years let’s not be greedy WE ALL NEED SOME THING. Just my 2 cents not my companies.

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    Default Slice and dice, Mongo style!

    BC79er;
    Let’s get a couple of things straight here.
    First; you are in the business of writing grants. You are a paid consultant. You have a vested interest in the FIRE Act program. I don’t think your heart is really with the ones who lose, because potentially, they could be your next customers. So, just that we understand each other, you have different reasons for posting than I do. You can talk all you want about some of us having selfish reasons for wanting to change the rules, but your motives aren’t that pure either.
    I am in the business of running a fire department. Naturally, my concern is going to be more focused. Though I believe in many national fire service causes and I hurt for those injured or killed in the line of duty, my first and only priority is to my men and our fire district. I want every dime of money that I can get for my department. Because that federal money that is helping Hoffman Estates is not helping my department. That department that has received a grant in each of the past three years has not helped my department. So, I want you to be clear that I could care less that I sound selfish where it comes to tax money. You make money from several fire departments. I am only concerned about those that I mutual aid with, but my department still comes first. And I don’t apologize for it.
    Let’s look at some of the nuggets that you have been tossing out.

    Some departments may never get an award, some may win every year. It's a competitive grant program and that's the nature of the beast.
    You make it sound so cut and dried. Is that based on the rules, as you know them today? Have you done a calculation that says that this is the way it will always be? You know what? In “competition”, you work hard, you improve and you will win. What you’re saying is that under the current rules, some will never win no matter what. I don’t see that as very competitive.
    they thought that there should be more restricting requirements, such as 2 years worth of a budget in the application and documented mutual aid agreements. USFA rejected those requirements as many smaller departments may not be able to comply.
    I agree with both of those requirements. They SHOULD be in the rules and you know why? Because if you went two years on budget, those who get FIRE Act money would have to declare it in the second budget year and THAT should knock them out on the scoring. Now, that would make it fairer. And having written mutual aid agreements just makes good sense. Cuts down on the confusion, you know?
    So here is someone who could help change the rules so that his own department, any many like it, could possibly get past computer scoring and be more competitive (but still no guarantee of award), yet he doesn't think that the rules need changing. Kind of a bold statement isn't it. His own department needs the money, but he doesn't think that the rules need changing because he thinks the current rules focus the money where the cost-benefit is the greatest, even though it means that his department may never be awarded. Something to think about....
    If your “higher up” doesn’t believe that his cost-benefit for his fire department is the greatest, then why did he even bother submitting a grant? No disrespect; but I find that statement filled with a lot of hot air. Maybe he believes that the bureaucracy is too big to fight. Maybe he doesn’t want to change the rules for next year, because he has figured out how he can “win” next year. Maybe he just got a “competitive” edge!
    Just for the sake of argument since the statement "my tax dollars" was thrown:
    There are more people in Wilmington paying taxes than most rural areas, so if you want to talk about who's funding who, odds are the people in urban areas are funding other people's areas more times than not. In fact, all of the time. Philadelphia hasn't gotten a grant. Don't they pay federal taxes?
    I’m glad you brought that up. But let’s use Chicago since I’m from Illinois. It only stands to reason that the more populated areas generate more tax dollars on the local, state and federal level. The larger concentration of government representation also comes with having a greater population. With that comes more political clout. Now, I think Chicago would agree that they are not paying for MY fire protection. And I am not paying for their’s. Roads and schools are a different story. And there again, the larger fire departments pay the bulk of their budget out to salaries and benefits for their firefighters. Equipment would be the second line item. So their equipment will be rode hard and put away wet and most likely in need of replacement after 5-7 years. Large cities could chew up apparatus money very quickly.
    The "my tax dollars" is the argument that should be never mentioned again. Why? It will lead to rationing of "my tax dollars", which will put most of the money in heavily populated suburban and urban areas, many of which do not need the money and don't apply (less than half of US Fire Depts applied in 2003). So if it were turned into a rationing grant program, y'all would have no chance and those that didn't apply, would turn around and apply since it was turned into a welfare program based on population.
    I disagree. It will be based on tax base. And rural will show the most need; which is where it should go: to the needy. What; you don’t pay taxes? If it’s not your’s, then whose is it? It isn’t “rationing”; it’s re-allocation.
    Welcome to the US. You pay taxes with no requirement on the government's part that you get anything back. That's why they're called taxes.
    Unless you have the political clout to get some of it back. That’s called “pork barrel”. That’s called “member initiatives”. Also called “pet projects”. And for tax purposes, it’s called “charitable donation”!
    And for those that say you only get money with no chance at the next: can you solve all your problems in one year with one grant? Station26, can you fix your department with one grant? I don't think so. If you can you shouldn't be applying.
    Apparently the answer to that question is “no”; it takes three consecutive years to solve your problems! You’re not serious. Most of these departments are asking for money that will fix an immediate need. It is money that will have an immediate impact on how they conduct their business. And if they were told that they would have to wait 2 years before applying again, most would be happy to do that.
    CR, you can't solve your problems with one grant either.
    Yes I can. I have asked for a rescue. I am not asking for anything else. I am not asking this country’s taxpayers to bail me out. I am asking for a share of the tax money to purchase a piece of equipment that we need and will share with several other departments. Yep; one grant WILL solve my “problem”.
    Since y'all haven't been awarded you don't know about the hoops that the rest of us have had to jump through to prove everything in our application.
    I would be more than glad to “jump”.
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I have yet to see an objective suggestion that would not benefit the person posting the suggestion. Why do I think this? I have yet to say, "That's a hell of an idea!" I'm objective about the program and it's goals
    See my opening statement. You are not being objective. You charge for your service and any rules changes will cost you money. I’m not buying what you’re selling. You have given some good advice here, but you stop short so as not to cut into the business. As far as getting the burn simulator; obviously you know that you can satisfy the “rules” and stand a better than average chance of getting it. I’m guessing that you discovered that not many requested this funding making your chances much better. Nothing wrong with playing the odds, right?
    Everyone including CR have made suggestions that would first and foremost benefit themselves, then everyone else. Only the recent suggestions from CR come to mind, such as rescues a Priority 1 for rural.
    You tell me right here and now why a rescue should NOT be a Priority 1 for rural. Forget about the rules for just a minute and tell me as a firefighter why a rescue should not be a priority for a rural department. Think about it outside of the FIRE Act.
    So to put money where my mouth is (it is lunchtime after all) I've got one: Limit the AMOUNT that one department can apply for if they are successful in the prior year, or in 3 years. Make the limit for one department's awards $750K in 3 years. That will take the big departments out really quickly. Get them their big $750K max project and then they're done for the next 2 years.
    I agree. Max them at 750K and they are done. I almost hear from you that you believe that the reason there is any money at all is because large departments are getting funded? So, we get the crumbs. If the big departments don’t get the money, there will be less for smaller departments? Where did you go to school? That would release more money for the smaller departments. You remember them don’t you? They’re the ones who pay their taxes and watches the money go to someone else!
    If you post something that you know will help only your department first, there is no objectivity to the argument.
    Sure there is. The “object” is to get YOUR department a grant. Why would I want to get your department help first? That’s just plain ridiculous. I help our area’s fire department quite a bit, but it doesn’t cost me money; only my time. In fact, BC and you’ll get a kick out of this, a neighboring department got a grant and I am going to go up to the station on Sunday and show the chief how to do NFIRS reports. They have never done them before, but now that they got a FIRE Act grant, they have to. And I’m the guy that’s going to show them. How’s that for selfish?
    Let's take the current year and apply it to your every other year system: 19,000 applications, $2.2 billion requested, $750 million awarded. Awardees can't apply in subsequent years. 2003 awards total $750 million. No additional applications in 2004 (which won't happen, more departments would apply): 2004 request total: $1.45 million. Awards total $750 million, $700 million in requests STILL NOT AWARDED AFTER 2 YEARS. In 2005, back come the 2003 awardees since they can apply again, request total back up to $1.5 million. They already proved they have a greater need than the 2 year Dear John'd applicants, so it won't be hard to beat them out again. And that's only if no one else additional applied than did before, which won't happen! Every department in the country would apply if that were the case, so then we'll still have a $750 million supply, and over $4 billion in requests every single year even with the previous year's awardees out of the running. So you will still have people that won't be awarded in 3 years, 4 year, 5 years, which is the same situation we have now! Where is the improvement? What is your idea when you still go for 6 years with no awards? Will you then accept the fact that some departments will win every other year, and your department may get none no matter how long the funding goes?
    And every bit of this is absolutely, pure, unmitigated rubbish. You are stating an opinion as fact. It is purely hypothetical and an educated guess at best. You almost sound hysterical. Quit trying to scare the kids!
    And like you said, hundreds of people put in hundreds of hours creating this program, including people that we'd both agree are fire service experts. So this being the case, if this is the best that they could come up with, don't you think that they already considered the ramifications of every type of program out there?
    No.
    Statistics will prove that some may still never win.
    And history will prove you wrong. I don’t run a fire department based on statistics, hypotheticals and the misguided notion that I can’t determine our needs.
    I am not an expert. I am a realist. I am a firefighter.
    You are a salesman, a consultant and a profiteer. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
    Nice talkin’ to ya, BC.
    Oh, and for the record; I could triple taxes here in the fire district, but I doubt that I would be re-elected to my seat on the fire board!
    Take care and stay safe above all else.
    CR
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
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    Exclamation Holy Cow!!!

    I think CR just posted the longest reply I have ever scene.

    I agree with bits and pieces of every one posted here, and I also disagree with everyone posted here. I guess I don't unserstand why a department cannot show a "real" need more than one year in a row. Sure a department getting three in a row is frustrating to those who do not, but can anyone out there honestly say that they know of no departments that need a "rescue" and turnout gear? You are not allowed to apply for both in the same request so that would require two to solve a basic and real need. Add SCBA because you only have two units for 20 firefighters and you have three for three.

    CR wants reasons why a rescue should not be priority one for rural areas. Most of the departments in my area that I consider rural can barely put a decent engine on the road let alone need a rescue. Your proposed use of a rescue is to move people. The mafority of the nation classifies a rescue as a mobile tool box that may or MAY NOT move people.

    I will stand out on the branch and say maybe it is time for departments of all sizes to look at mergers and aquisitions. A lot of these small departments with little or no equipment or firefighters could merge with their neighbors and turn into one department that has a shot at protecting the lives and property of their citizens. After all that is our purpose, instead of grabbing for dollars in an attempt to purchase a silver bullet to try and do the job they are unable to now.

    For all my brothers and sisters who have been Dear Johned, I am sorry (truly), and for the rest of us, here is hopes for a nice holiday present. Stay friendly and make sure everyone goes home after the call (or the thread posting).

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    Very good points ChiefReason. Not all of us can sit around doing grant writing like BC79er. As for CFD5572 I don't believe he has a clue as to what a Rural fire department is. The next unit may be a close as 5 miles or it could be as far as 25+ miles. It's not like having a big city station ever couple of blocks away. But the point is you must go for what you feel you need the most. Only you know what that is. If you got yours the 1st round and got your next priority the 2nd great. But where does it end?? There got to be a better way to build the mouse trap. Even the little departments need should be met but at this rate I don't feel that will be done. The rules MUST be change so if anyone in power is out there this is your chance to listen and ask the tough questions. What can be done to make it fair and equal for all.Good Luck.

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    And history will prove you wrong. I don’t run a fire department based on statistics, hypotheticals and the misguided notion that I can’t determine our needs.
    So you don't preplan? Isn't that based on hypothetical situations? Isn't the first truck any fire department buys a pumper, because statistically there's more life risk associated with a fire than a wreck?

    I like the profiteer statement. Except for the fact that I could spend 1,000 hours helping departments and still have no profit. We web site monthly costs have gone up 5x because of the amount of traffic it has gotten. I'm billed on overall traffic and the number of times pages are loaded. And guess what: I'm still not taking it down.

    So what if the rules change. There will still be people that won't follow them and still won't get awarded and still look for ways that the program needs to be improved, even if the first re-tolling took their ideas and made them law. Won't affect me one bit, for my applications, and for anyone else's, I'll still do my research and put in the best application possible, and still be glad for the chance, award or not.

    As far as selfish, you forgot the part about me being glad we only need a quint. You should be damn glad you only need a rescue. Because obviously you don't need money for PPE, SCBA, jaws, hose, cascade systems, or even the basic tools such as axes and pike poles. In fact, maybe since you and I only need vehicles, we shouldn't be allowed to apply. Maybe they should take vehicles out completely. I mean if you need a truck isn't that poor planning on the department's part for not having enough sense to make a long range replacement plan? Maybe we missed the boat by not planning on needed an aerial. I'd buy that argument. Why not change the program so that you have to put down your top three needs and substantiate all of them, and get scored on all of them. Add all three scores, and the top one gets funded for those whose total score is the highest. I'm out. We make sure we spend money on the proper PPE and SCBA and all of that good stuff so the only thing we need is an aerial device. We don't "need" a burn simulator, it would just be nice to have so we don't have to go 25 miles to train in small groups. We could get the whole department together that way. But I don't have a third need. Anything else would just be replacing existing equipment with new, and I don't put any real "need" on replacing existing, currently compliant, working equipment. So we couldn't apply ever again. Oh well. Do I agree with people applying for new stuff just to have it: no, not really. You forget my older posts that said if you have one don't apply for it. I do not condone greed, and I sure as hell won't help a department apply for something that I think is not a real need, but in fact greed. I don't care if the offer to pay more. Contrary to you belief, I'm not in it for the money. Otherwise I'd actually charge what pro grant writers charged considering I haven't seen a pro grant writer put together an application worth a damn yet.

    And every bit of this is absolutely, pure, unmitigated rubbish. You are stating an opinion as fact. It is purely hypothetical and an educated guess at best.
    Find a someone that deals with statistics on a regular basis. They'll show you the calculations in long hand. There is a statistical chance that no matter how long some apply, they will never win. I threw out my statistics book, and unfortunately I remember more now than when I was taking my final, but still not enough for the proper, full explanation. No matter how the rules are changed, some will never win.

    I disagree. It will be based on tax base. And rural will show the most need; which is where it should go: to the needy.
    No rural won't show the greatest need. They don't need the money for roads because they don't have as many, nor need as many. Same reason a rural department doesn't need as much money to operate: not enough calls, not as many members needing equipment or training, so less costs. Urban: more fires, more FFs, more costs, need more money to protect more people. Again, is an urban citizen's life worth more than a rural. Not in the least. But going back to statistics and probabilty: that urban individual has a greater chance of having a fire, wreck, or any other need of the fire department. Every bit of this program is based on statistics and probability. The more people that live in your area, the greater the density of idiots, which in turns causes more need for the fire department. Same reason I say over and over, if we didn't border Houston, we'd have been 0-2 also, and probably 0-3 already. I would say the same thing I said the first year and will say when we get the Dear John this year: oh well, someone else needed the money more, good for them.

    In “competition”, you work hard, you improve and you will win. What you’re saying is that under the current rules, some will never win no matter what. I don’t see that as very competitive.
    How can you improve call volume? Set your own fires, cause your own wrecks? Want another example: Buffalo Bills, 0 for ever in the Super Bowl. Your initial score it based on your department's statistics, which won't change dramatically, so you can't really make yourself more competitive. And those statistics are the only way you can prove that you have a need, so you can't say that we should get rid of them. And again, small budget coupled with low call volume makes for very little need. Why? Your call volume is historical proof that very little happens that would cause you to need something.

    I must say though, that I'm surprised no one touched the 2nd proposal about competing only within the classifications. Seems fair at first look, except that maybe some rural departments have more of a need than suburban department, and actually scored higher on the application. But since there's more rural departments, they get shut out of the money while some suburban department gets bells and whistles since there was no real competition in their section. Not the point of the program is it? And yes, I did post that proposition with this in mind. Was just waiting to see if someone else picked up on it.

    And don't tell me that that's what's happening now. That's a huge insult to the reviewers. By beating on Wilmington's 3 for 3, you're basically saying that the reviewers got snowballed and didn't know what they were doing by letting them get a third. There's plenty that got through to peer review that they could have picked from that it would be their first award. But they still chose Wilmington. Must be something there.

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    Default The Real Reason

    Maybe the real reason that so many seem to be unhappy with the current system is that the fire service as a whole has been neglected for so long that there are so many of us out here that need so much. I don't think that anyone thought that a few billion dollars over three years could even begin to fix all the under equipped depts, companies, districts etc. Maybe if the program can stay out of the hands that want to buy terrorism stuff, then eventually most departments will fill their immediate needs. It may not be this year, but we have waited for many years with what we have to get this far.

    I personnally think that funding a rescue for a rural dept to haul people to a call might not be as high a priority as funding a pumper for a rural dept that is lucky to get their 1960-something pumper to start, stop or pump. The money all comes from the same category.

    Another thought! Maybe those that are fortunate, needy or even well worded enough to be funded don't bother to post here because then they would be under the scrutiny of those that have not been awarded. Not because they LIED on the application, but that they really understand how fortunate that they were and don't want someone else making then feel guilty for expressing their needs to the peer reviewers that was understood.

    And yes, there will always be some with a real need that cannot express it in a way that will make the cut. Not because they don't have a real need, but because the cannot put that need on paper and after one or even two tries are too proud to ask for help on their application from those that have been successful. If it was a need last year it should still be a need the next year. It is easier to blame the rules and not apply any more.

    For those that are asking, we do not have a big district. We don't run hundreds of calls a year. Our county does not over-fund us. Our Senators barely knew that we existed until FEMA notified them of our award. I don't have years and years of experience as a firefighter or a grant writer. But the few of us that serve the many will be out there raising money to meet our matching portion for our second award. (I wrote a bad grant app the first time.) And if the department is willing, yes, I will apply again. Not because I am greedy or want to take away from someone else, but because my firefighters' and communitites' safety are my first concerns. If we don't get funded, then someone else needed it more.

    Finally there have been many good thoughts expressed and a lot of bee-ing going on and all of that will help any one that wants to apply again.

    Tom Hoskin
    Chief,
    North Monroe VFD
    Sweetwater, TN
    Last edited by thoskin; 11-11-2003 at 05:23 AM.

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    CR; Chief I think I may have lost ya a little on your post. First off, BC is going to finally except money for helping other departments out on their apps if they want his help. He has for the record helped many wtihout getting a penny. But again, that is his choice before, and now its FEMA'S. Thing is I admire both of ya for the work you folks have done to help out others in different ways, but it is still help.

    CFD; There sure is nothing wrong with a department showing need for 3 years in a row. In fact, most departments can show need for 7-8 years in a row. But again, my belief is that the program needs to assist more departments thus creating help for more people. O.K. So maybe analytically (or whatever that darn word is) some departments do not have a great volume of fires-rescues-ems calls because they have less population. So with that in mind maybe BC is correct, or can we also figure it this way. Department X has a population base of 10k and is covered by a 50 member plus volley department or combi department, and they show great need for a quint. Department Y has a population of 1200 people and is covered by 10 members and shows a need for an engine. Obviuosly department X has more runs and more equipment, being analytical. Obviuosly they have a bigger tax base as well. With all that being said the current system would justify department X has more need because it has more people and more calls which in turn more people would be getting assistance. Problem the way I see it is that to 10 members the call volume of say 50 calls is the same as a call volume of 50+ answering 500-1000. Number one they are all volley in department Y not combi and they do not have the luxury of 50+ on their board to answer as does Department X so in my eyes the small guys have just as much work load as the bigger brother analytically speaking. And yep we all know fire burns just as hot in BFE as it does in downtown Big town. Where is the rational to justify that.

    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. #20
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    BC79er wrote:
    So you don't preplan? Isn't that based on hypothetical situations?
    The only "what if" that is addressed in our pre-plans is "what if there is a fire in that structure". And that's not really a hypothetical, if it's based on a recent inspection that turned up numerous violations of fire codes.
    Pre-plans are developed from the knowns; not the unknowns. You go to the building, you do a walk-through, you identify the potential hazards, you determine through a worst case scenario what resources you will need to stop fire spread.
    You use the same mind set for any incident. You anticipate what could change the outcome and switch strategies when appropriate.
    I don't know; maybe I approach pre-plans differently.
    I like the profiteer statement. Except for the fact that I could spend 1,000 hours helping departments and still have no profit. We web site monthly costs have gone up 5x because of the amount of traffic it has gotten. I'm billed on overall traffic and the number of times pages are loaded.
    OK; too strong of wording. What I should have said was "businessman".
    I have seen the help that you have provided people in the Federal FIRE Act forums. I think it's great. I do not fault you for that.
    What I find offensive is your unwavering support for the idea that the Act cannot be made better. And "statistically", if some will NEVER win an award, then "realistically" and "morally" the program is flawed.
    Again; I don't need SCBAs, turnouts, loose equipment, Jaws or a pumper. I need a rescue! If I needed something in another category, I would have applied in THAT category. That's why for the past three years, I have applied EVERY year for a rescue vehicle. What you're saying is "statistically", I will never get it? Well, then the powers that be obviously don't know what I "need".
    No rural won't show the greatest need. They don't need the money for roads because they don't have as many, nor need as many. Same reason a rural department doesn't need as much money to operate: not enough calls, not as many members needing equipment or training, so less costs. Urban: more fires, more FFs, more costs, need more money to protect more people. Again, is an urban citizen's life worth more than a rural. Not in the least. But going back to statistics and probabilty: that urban individual has a greater chance of having a fire, wreck, or any other need of the fire department. Every bit of this program is based on statistics and probability. The more people that live in your area, the greater the density of idiots, which in turns causes more need for the fire department. Same reason I say over and over, if we didn't border Houston, we'd have been 0-2 also, and probably 0-3 already. I would say the same thing I said the first year and will say when we get the Dear John this year: oh well, someone else needed the money more, good for them.
    So, I guess some communities will continue to fight fires with 500 gpm, front-mounted pumpers, rotten hose on a truck that won't maintain the constant flow necessary to suppress the fire.
    I guess that will mean using floor jacks, pliers, hacksaws and sledge hammers to get victims out of their wrecked vehicles.
    I guess that hazmat stuff will just have to wait until someone from the big city can get there to sweep it into the ditch.
    That would be a tough sell to ones who just lost all of their possessions to a housefire or the ones who lost a loved one in a car accident because they bled out while the demolition crew tried to pop a door.
    Maybe that's too dramatic, but I think too much emphasis is placed on cost-benefit and statistics. No offense.
    Let me ask you something and I will let you get back to lunch.
    A soldier in Korea vs. a soldier in Afghanistan. Are they outfitted the same way? Do they have the same type of weaponry? What about Humvees? It seems that they have less reason to have the resources in Korea because they aren't getting shot or bombed than say, Afghanistan.
    Just a thought.
    CR
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

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    I never said the program couldn't be made better, it's far from perfect like everything else on this side of the clouds. Since it's not perfect, some will never win awards, because as far as I can tell, only a perfect system would have everyone win. What I've maintained is that it should not be simply changed without a great deal of thought as to what the complete ramifications are to the entire fire service. Limiting who can apply every year will hurt just as many as it helps. Some departments can only come up with $1000 to make matching every year. They have to choose between PPE, SCBA, hose, etc since they only have the money to get one each year. Knock them out of the running every other year, and the spirit of the program, in my opinion, has been compromised.

    Limiting the amount of money they can get in 3 years on the other hand doesn't. Since we have to make matching funds, if you can match a total of $750K over 3 years, you're pretty well off in my book. That will keep the more affluent departments that can hit the magic computer score every year and toss in a great narrative from draining the program every year, while still allowing the smaller departments with many needs to keep in the money every year.

    Another quick bit on the rural rescue: rural departments have few members, and thus have a low average FF/call number. So the likelihood of having enough drivers to take enough specifically tasked trucks (pumper, rescue, quick attack, tanker) is low. Multi functional trucks (pumper-tanker, rescue-pumper) have all the toys of two trucks with one driver. That's why they are all Priority 1. Same reason that aerials are Priority 4 and Quint are a Priority 1: multi function is a higher cost benefit while accomplishing the same goals. I'm still not seeing how getting a "rescue" solves your problem. You have jaws, you get them to the scene somehow now. If that's a seperate vehicle that's breaking down and unsafe, make room on one of the engines. I believe you said you have at least 2 engines. One pumper, one pumper with jaws. Got a wreck, take the one with the jaws first, then send out the other. Got a fire, take the other one that's set up for structural response first, then roll the other one. We did the same thing down here out of one station when the old rescue died. Out came the fans, salvage covers, and some other equipment, on went the jaws and stuff. We have 2 other engines coming, so we didn't need to duplicate or even triple the equipment counts for salvage covers. Take the truck that fits the need, and outfit the truck to the need.

    Maybe your cost was too high. I don't remember what type of rescue you went for. Rural isn't going to get a heavy rescue meant for building collapse, high angle and all of that good stuff. On the other hand a nice 1 ton crew cab with a utility box is very cost effective. I've seen a bunch that even have pre-connected jaws and cascade systems with 10kW generators. Gives you the ability to move 4-5 people (depending on how friendly they are), get in service quick once on location, and refill bottles. Several rural departments have gotten these light rescues over the last 3 years. It seems to be light rescue is the way to go for rural, medium for light suburban, heavy for heavy suburban/urban. If you've been applying for the light rescue, then having that other truck you call a rescue is probably one of the statistics to drop your computer score because you already have what you're trying to replace. Grant program aside, if it's an unsafe truck don't use it. Move the stuff to the pumper and get rid of the truck. You are better off with people coming POV in that case.

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    They have to choose between PPE, SCBA, hose, etc since they only have the money to get one each year. Knock them out of the running every other year, and the spirit of the program, in my opinion, has been compromised.
    I'm willing to bet though, that most of the winners are not the ones that are having trouble with matching funds. I know the ones in NJ aren't. You say the 750k for 3 years would be a good limit, that's 25k per year just in matching. That is just about my entire budget amount for a year. Tell me again, who needs it more and why?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Post Aaaaahhhhhhh

    Now it all comes together... BC is a Grant Writer who works on commission! That explains his advocating a $750 K cap, instead of actually helping MORE departments get the grants by limiting them to NO consecutive grants. In the big picture how many departments can actually get $750 k anyway? VERY few I suspect. Talk about self serving postings!

    BC, you may want to stop reading here:

    As luck would have it (incredible luck at that!), I received an invitation today to an event this Saturday that DHS Secretary Tom Ridge will also be attending. I fully intend to get 60 seconds of his time to discuss my displeasure with the FIRE Act grant process (of course followed up with a letter)... in particular the loophole that some select departments can get $$$ EVERY YEAR of the grant program while many get absolutely NOTHING! This is my biggest opportunity to advance this issue directly to the person ultimately responsible for ODP's distribution of funds next year. I'll make a posting on how it went!

    Meet some of the needs of all of the departments, before you meet all of the needs of some of the departments...

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    Default One more thing...

    Chief Reason... EXCELLENT post



    Meet some of the needs of all of the departments, before you meet all of the needs of some of the departments...

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    Correction: I'm not a grant writer. I'm a 10+ year volunteer and a professional software developer. And I won't be working on commission, I'll be working for an hourly rate so for those that hire me I'll be getting paid the same no matter what the cost of the project. So I won't be giving any preferential treatment to anyone. For the past two years I have helped departments raise over $2.8 million and have received nothing in exchange. And that doesn't include the $312K for my own department. Several offered to compensate me after they were awarded and I refused. I offered free help, and I gave free help. I am in fact more proud of helping Custer VFD in Kentucky. They were 0-2, then I made a posting to review narratives for free and offer free advice (see the free trend?). John emailed me his narrative, I edited it, sent it back, he re-edited to fill in some of the statistics I didn't have, and they are now driving the first NFPA compliant pumper in their county.

    I assisted several other department who paid professional grant writers in 2002, made it past computer scoring, only to get canned early in the game. All of them made computer scoring again this year, and so far half have already been awarded. I have received hundreds of emails thanking me for the help that my web site has given, whether they were awarded or not. Here's the list of people that didn't mind me posting that I helped them in one way or another in 2003:

    Five Points VFD – FL (Jaws, AED) $43,200 Federal Share
    Grapevine Mesa VFD – AZ (Tanker) $64,854 Federal Share
    Orange Rural Fire District #1 – NC (Radios, etc) $152,280 Federal Share
    Sodus Center FD – NY (FF Ops & Safety) $27,000 Federal Share
    Madison-Jefferson FD – OH (PPE, SCBA, etc) $120,178 Federal Share
    Custer VFD – KY (Vehicle – Pumper) $177,975 Federal Share
    Danbury FD – IA (SCBA, Compressor, radios, etc) $71,568 Federal Share
    Olmsted Falls VFD – OH (Vehicle – Rescue-Pumper) $225,000 Federal Share
    Wingo FD – KY – (FF Safety & Ops – FF Equipment, SCBAs, PPE, etc) $97,620 Federal Share
    Cat Spring VFD – TX (Vehicle – Used Pumper) $99,000 Federal Share
    South Wheatland FD – (FF Safety & Ops - SCBA, Training, etc) $102,075 Federal Share
    Hardin FPD – MO (Wellness, Training, Equipment, etc) $48,275 Federal Share
    Phelps VFD – NY (PPE, Equipment, Training Materials) $49,023 Federal Share
    Galesburg-Charleston FD – MI (Equipment, etc) $122,806 Federal Share
    Five Points VFD – TX (Equipment, etc) $115,236 Federal Share

    So since that adds up to over $1.5 million, it's safe to say that I "selfishly" helped other departments win money that I could have gotten for our department for the quint we applied for. But I didn't did I. I shared advice on how to approach the program and write narratives, and my department may not get anything. Guess what? I sleep really well at night knowing that these departments have what they truly need, and I know that their need was greater than mine. So before you show up and make a handfull of posts here and there, you might want to figure out who you're actually dealing with. By the way, I've got a list of 30 more that haven't heard one way or the other yet. Plus I've got a few that didn't want their info posted on my web site, a request that I honored. And this is only the list of people that have told me that they got help from my site in one way or another. Considering I've been averaging almost 500 unique hits per week since last December, I'd say someone is really studying what's on my web site.

    So am I a professional grant writer? Sure am, in the same sense that I am a professional firefighter and officer: meaning that I don't get paid for it. Professional is an attitude and has nothing to do with recieving a paycheck. And I haven't been paid squat for anything I've done so far so I certainly can't be called a paid grant writer.

    Good luck with Ridge, he's a very nice gentleman. Met him on several occasions on his rise through the Pennsylvania government. Very easy going and he always listens thoroughly to everyone's opinion, so he should be quite open minded in your discussion with him. Just do yourself a favor and put together a decent discussion thread instead of the griping you've been doing here, you won't sound like a disgruntled postal worker and lose your credibility before you get anywhere. Make an intelligent argument, get an intelligent response. Should be easy, I've made several already in the past few seconds supporting your desire to make it every other year, and I don't believe in it. You obviously do think that's the golden arrow, so have at it. Don't let emotion get in the way of making a solid argument. Maybe someone else has something in the middle ground that none of us thought of yet that will be the golden arrow. Which is why if you've actually ever read some of my posts, you'd have seen that I encourage everyone to take their ideas for improving the program to FEMA. I said it before and I'll say it again: I give all the credit in the world to ChiefReason because he doesn't gripe. He accepts the fact that the current rules deem him not high enough in the need category, but offers suggestions for improvement instead of just bitching.

    One problem though: Congress decides what happens with the FireACT, with some minimal input from others, but since it's already been written into law for 2004, just remember you're working on changing 2005, not 2004. And if the rules change it's no big deal. I'll still be chugging along helping others. And yes, a burn simulator for my department would help others if we got one. Since 8 out of 10 of our mutual aid departments are classified as Rural and they don't have much funding, call volume, population, membership, etc, they really don't have much of a chance to get a burn simulator. But we do, and we'd be more than happy to let them use it whenever they wanted. It's all about helping others, and at least I've got the history to prove I have done that.

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