1. #1
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    Exclamation Need Help Trying to Get New Gear Specs Approved

    Hello all, My dept. in Louisiana recently put out a bid spec for bunker gear. It was basically modeled after Morning Pride, which we believe is one of the best out there. We received 3 bids back. Of the 2 non-MP bids, one had 23 items not meeting our spec, and the other had 30 items not up to par. The Morning Pride bid missed 2 minor items (typos). Some of the things not meeting spec was: materials (wrong type of PBI), lack of pockets, lack of custom sizing, size of certain pockets, wrong thermal protection, no dead air panels. Of course, the Morning Pride gear is $250 more than the other gears. Our Parish administration is saying that because of bid laws we have to go with the low bidder. When we advised them of the differences, they came back with the responce ; all three meet NFPA so they are "Equivalent". Needless to say we are a little disturbed by this. I guess we should go out for bids that just say: NFPA Bunker Gear. Please give me some advise and maybee some laws that will help us fight this. Thanks

  2. #2
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    You have to look at the items that don't meet the specifications and ask yourselves and the manufacturers "what is the difference in cost of what they are providing versus what is specified" If you specified a certain PBI and they are offering another outer shell material that is less expensive, then that is where they are able to bid less.

    YOu have to give the bidder that meets the specification the opportunity to make the same adjustments to their bid that the lower bidders have made. It is unfair to accept a lower bid that does not meet the specs because if the higher bidder had taken the same exceptions they would then be more price competitive.
    You are asking for a lawsuit from the bidder that meets the specs if you accept the lower bid that does not.
    Lt. Dan

  3. #3
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    N2DFire's Avatar
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    Try presenting it to your Parish Administration like this.
    Case 1:
    We requested bids for steak for the annual dinner.
    Company 1 came back highest bid and offered big juicy T-Bones
    Company 2 came in lower but offered All Beef Hot Dogs

    Case 2:
    You ask for bids on a new 2000 Gal. Tanker
    Company 1 came back high bid with a Custom Freightliner Wet Side
    Company 2 came in lower but offered you an F-550 with a big poly tank

    In both cases Company 2 DID come in lowest bidder however company 2 DID NOT offer what you asked for. Why would you buy something you didn't ask for just because it was cheaper ??

    Their bid laws may indeed require them to go with the lowest bidder, however I do believe there would have to be the application of *common sense* that you would only go with the lowest bid that meets your requirements. Your first step should be to request a copy of these bid laws and then sit down with the Parish legal ad visor to get his/her interpretation of the law. If he agrees with you then have him write a letter advising the Parish Administrators of the clarification of the law. Perhaps they simply misunderstand the law.

    If he disagrees then you should seek the opinion of independent council.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

  4. #4
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    You will regret it if you do go with the low bid..........

  5. #5
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    As a fire equipment vendor who does bids all the time (no I'm not plugging my business so don't all of you go reporting me to the webteam...just sharing my input), a clause that many municipalities make in their bids is that they only go with the lowest bidder who can meet the specs and/or provide the HIGHEST QUALITY product...this means that for example ABC Fire Equip. could charge more but if they meet the specs & XYZ Fire Equip. who came in cheaper doesn't, then ABC can be awarded the bid.

    Just 'cause it's cheap don't mean it's good...the specs that these other bids can't match are big issues...wrong PBI fabric, thermal protection, sizing issues.. you can live with smaller pockets but the wrong fire resistant material or gear that is 2 sizes too small is an issue that presents serious problems related to FF safety (the whole reason you have bunker gear...for protection).

    I would recommend presenting the potential dangers of these bid spec changes to your parish board. If you want to show the difference with the fabric, get swatches of Nomex & PBI (you can usually get them from PBI's manufacturer or even the local rep..sure the Morning Pride dealer would help you out) & light them up...it's an impressive display. Also, explain the differences in the thermal protective materials they are spec'ing that are different & how this could negatively affect/endanger the FF. If you bring it down to the "if FF A is wearing this gear & gets burned, the money you saved will go towards his hospital bill, recovery & quite possibly his lawsuit for providing him with inadequate protection for the job (the foremost job of ANY employer)...you gotta bring it down to their level...dollars & cents... ...I speak from experience both
    as a vendor & as a vollie for the past 18 years...

    It wouldn't hurt to demonstrate what FF's do to their gear by crawling, kneeling, climbing, etc...not to mention the thermal exposure the gear gets. Maybe, MAYBE the parish board would come to
    a live burn demo to see the effects of fire on gear but if not, a simple demo in their office (crawling on the floor, climbing thru a window) would show some of the abuse your gear goes through. The idea is to show them that spending a few extra bucks now will save them from spending a lot of $$$ in a few years when the "cheesy" gear wears out prematurely.

    Gotta remember one key element..these people are usually NOT FF's particularly if this is a government entity & not a fire department board of directors so all they know is $$$. Do a little research, be creative & be able to prove your points with valid back-up. You might even compare regular clothing to bunker gear....you can say "ok you could buy a winter coat @ Walmart for $25 or you could spend a little more on a Columbia coat (say $100..yeah right, a Columbia for $100..LOL) but what would last in the long run & be more cost effective?? Maybe, just maybe they might actually see the light....

    Lastly, while Morning Pride is kinda pricey, it according to what many fellow FF's have told me is that it is well worth the money.
    A key point to ponder...when FDNY switched to bunker gear in '95 (?),
    cost was somewhere around # 11 on their list of concerns, # 1 concern..take a guess...durability...FDNY is still wearing Morning Pride to this day..that says something for their product (and no I don't work or sell for Morning Pride so this is indeed a unbiased recommendation).

    Well, that's my 2 cents..hope it helps. Stay Safe...

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