1. #1
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    Default Our Grant cut by 27,000

    Have a question, and need help. Our funding was cut from $199,422 to $171,450. Here is how the question read:

    The program office recommended a reduction in the amount of $27,972 ($2000 for the washer, $1792=($896 packs x 2) and $24,180=(13 gears x $1860). The approved number of turnout gears is 20 not the 33 indicated in the initial application. The approved amount for the washer is $8000 not $10,000 indicated in the initial application. The approved amount for the RIT pack is $3000 not the $3896 indicated in the initial applicatio. This reduces the total project cost from $199,422 to $171,450.

    What I don't understand is what is the $1792=($896 packs x 2). Do I subtract $896 from 2 packs or what? We initially spec'd in the grant for 30 min 4500 psi packs, now we decided to go with 45 min 4500 psi packs. Is this something they should be made aware of, and, the money that I don't spend on packs, can I buy more T/O gear even though they stated I am approved for 20, not 30 sets. Any advice would be welcome. Thanks

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    Default one other thing

    If we asked for a certain amount for SCBA's and didn't specify that we wanted soft cases, brakets, etc..Can we use the SCBA money for this or do we need permission before hand.

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    Way I read that is you can buy 2x RIT pack at $3000ea. Why so high priced? Quotes we have for SCOTT for NxG2 RIT 805446-03 are around $700.

    We received grant this year for $1500/set of turnout gear head to toe. In our shopping that is sufficient for, carbon hood, decent gloves, leather boots, plastic lid, very good grade/brand of turnout. So if you are allowed $1860 you have $37200 to spend. According to the rules you can use up to $5000 savings from economize/low bids to purchase like equipment. SO spend $1610 for 20 sets ($32200) and then buy 3 more sets from the $5000 savings. $160 is sufficient for quite good equipment (actual average of $1617/set. You're short 10 sets rather than 33. High priority (always show up) guys get the new gear.

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    Default Re: one other thing

    Originally posted by flashpoint7401
    If we asked for a certain amount for SCBA's and didn't specify that we wanted soft cases, brakets, etc..Can we use the SCBA money for this or do we need permission before hand.
    Think your bidders can figure out how to write an invoice that supplies the equipment package you need?

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    Why so high priced? Quotes we have for SCOTT for NxG2 RIT 805446-03 are around $700.
    Our actual price per RIT pack is $2400, Includes 60 min cylinder, AV-3000 face piece and EZ flow regulator. Maybe I should have ordered from Iowa.
    I'm new at this. I did read in the guide that we can spend up to $5,000 unilatteraly if it is in the same category without requesting permission. Is it possible to be able to spend over the $5,000 of excess funds if we are justified and have permission to do so or do you HAVE to spend over the $5,000 in fire prevention or turn it back in. + what is included under fire prevention that over the $5,000 mark could be spent on.

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    First the $5000 question: you can spend up to $5000 of extra money on what you already asked for without asking. Anything over $5000 must either be spent on fire prevention or returned. So anything you have in excess after waving cash in front of all of your vendors (hint, hint), up to $5K can be spent on those couple extra sets of PPE.

    Reduction in prices: The $896 x 2 is the reduction from $3896 to $3000 per RIT pack. But I think you already figured that out.

    Fire prevention is a wide open category. You can go for smoke detectors for low income housing, public safety training materials or the equipment to make them (such as a computer with display system for giving presentations to schools, nursing homes, and civic associations, copier, etc). The benefit of the computer gear would be that you can also use it for training your own folks while it's not being used to train the public.

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    Default

    Thanks guys for your replies, I'm sure I'll need more help as this thing goes along. This is a first or a potential first for us. Just wainting on the call. Hopefully soon. Again, Thanks, brotherhood in its finest.

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    Originally posted by BC79er
    [B

    Fire prevention is a wide open category. ... (such as a computer with display system for giving presentations to schools, nursing homes, and civic associations, copier, etc). The benefit of the computer gear would be that you can also use it for training your own folks while it's not being used to train the public. [/B]
    I like that idea. We need a laptop for such application (and for preplans). Any recommendations of software applications or powerpoint etc (modest priced) to achieve goal of fire prevention education?

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    I have to disagree with a statement by BC79er..."Anything over $5000 must either be spent on fire prevention or returned."

    You can also request a grant amendment to spend the excess on items other than what you budgeted, but within the same program you applied under. If you budgeted for SCBA and Gear, have over $5,000 left, but don't need any more SCBA or Gear, you can request an amendment to purchase other needed items under the program area you applied under (which would be Firefighter Operations and Firefighter Safety). This is what we did with our 2002 award & 2003 awards.

    This is my impression but, as always, impressions can be wrong.

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    swfd, i think it changed this year. It's in the program guidance that 5k can be spent in the same category, but anything over that either goes for prevention or is returned. I've heard that next year they're talking about anything extra is returned. Just what I heard, don't know for sure yet.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
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    They changed the rules for 2004. In previous years you were able to do what y'all did, but not anymore. That's why the caps on prices were instituted because so many were bidding high hoping to get anything and then amending after the award to get something that would have possibly lowered the peer review score. Plus amendments take time to process so the more post-award hoops they have to jump through, the longer it takes to spread out the dough.

    Powerpoint is the quintessential presentation program. There are several versions of MS Office (Standard, Pro, Full, Teacher, etc) and I don't know which have PPT in them if they all don't.

    Several companies now sell training programs in PPT at a reasonable price. A lot more reasonable than having your department nerd put it all together. Since I'm the local nerd, I say spend the money. You don't want grumpy nerds.

    If you get a laptop (or even a desktop) make sure it has the capability of having video out. Not the SVGA 15-pin plug, but also the yellow RCA plug. That way you can plug it into TVs and VCRs anywhere, in case you can't afford a projection monitor. Although the prices on those have dropped to $800 for entry level, so if you can afford one of those you can present in any sized forum. Plus running Grand Theft Auto on a 10' diagonal screen is pretty dang cool. Most projectors can go up to a 21' diagonal screen before picture degredation, so when the Eagles make the Super Bowl again I'm hanging sheets from my gutters and setting up in the street.

    And since I'm a firm believer in work smarter not harder, and I'm a techno-weenie, take a gander at PDAs for inspection and reporting type activities also. I think the latest version of Firehouse has a module for Pocket PC devices, and lots of companies have Job Books and other utilities for PDAs as well. Just remember when you're shopping: friends don't let friends use Palm.

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    Originally posted by BC79er
    They changed the rules for 2004. In previous years you were able to do what y'all did, but not anymore.
    It's a little confusing to me, because the program guidence for 04 says that awardees can spend up to $5000 in excess funds to continue or expand the program which they recieved the award for, then they go on to use PPE as an example........That would say to me that if you applied under the "Equipment" program and specified PPE, then you should be able to spend up to $5000 in excess funds for anything that ODP defines as grantable equipment....however.....by using the PPE example in the program guidence....it seems to indicate that you have to use any excess $$ for the specific equipment you applied for. (In our case we applied for PPE only, and look to have about $3000 left over after competitive bidding).....

    BUT

    If you look at the award package, ODP says this...."Generally, changes in the budget-line items are permitted, as long as the original program narrative is accomplished. The only exception to this provision is for grants where the Federal share is in excess of $100,000.00. In grants where the Federal share exceeds $100,000.00, the budgeted line items can be changed, but if the cumulative changes exceed ten (10) percent of the total budget, Changes must be pre-approved."

    This doesn't say anything about $5000, but does seem to also indicate that you need to spend excess $$ on the exact budget type items that you applied for.

    We would like to use the excess $$ to purchase an extra radio or two, but it seems like we will need to spend it on some extra boots, gloves and hoods which we could also still use.

    No complaints here....just trying to make sure I follow all the rules.


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    Amery, you can do what you described not what SWFD said, which was spending money on other equipment that was not applied for in the original grant.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see that all excess funds will be required to be returned. I know a few that hiked their requests up a bit and just happened to have enough left over to buy a TIC that they didn't apply for because they thought that would lower their score and they'd get nothing. It might not have lowered the score, but when decimals separate winners from DJ recipients, some people think differently.

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    I'm going to end up with quite a bit left over. One of the items for our grant was (23) SCBA's with extra cylinder. Didn't know at the time, but since comp. bidding, we have found that they were going to give us the spare cylinder, which in turn left us with quite a bit. Since FEMA cut our gear down to 20 sets from 33 sets, could I request an ammendment to the revision to get more than 20 sets of gear over the $5,000 cap to get closer to the 33 we originally requested before the revision due to the unforseen fact that we were going to have our spare cylinders given to us, or, DO I have to stay within that $5,000 then spend the rest on fire prevention. I do like the computer and PP projector idea, that would benefit us in so many ways, uhhh I mean it would really help with fire prevention. Thanks a billion for all of your help. David

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    It's always worth asking for the amendment. Worst they can do is say no.

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    True..We'll give it a shot, I'll let you guys know the outcome.

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    I'm probably just dumb, but I still don't totally understand this. Are excess funds restricted to the ACTIVITY you applied for or the PROGRAM you applied for?

    Second, We purchased 15-new ISI SCBA and 15 spare bottles. FEMA says in the program guidence that they will only fund 1 spare bottle per pack. We don't have a mobile filling compressor, so it would be nice if we had a few extra bottles (we used to have 23 spares, but with our new gear its now 15). So if we used our excess funds to purchase some extra bottles, would fema frown because they have now funded more than 2 bottles per pack?

    We really did not "pad" our application request. When we put our application in, we had all decided on a particular brand of turnout gear, and put our request in based upon the quoted price for the gear, however once we recieved the grant and went through a comptetive bidding process, we found another brand that we liked better and found out that they were about $125 per set cheaper than the stuff we thought we had wanted, so after purchasing our 38 sets of turnout, it left us with an extra $4700. Our SCBA quote on the other hand, came in at exactly what we had budgeted for on our grant application...

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    I think excess funds are restriced to the Program you applied for WITHOUT asking for permission first. The way I understand it anyhow. In my opinion and what I've been told, FEMA doesn't care what you use the excess funds for as long as they are spent under the same program you applied for in the grant. As far as name brand stuff, they don't care about, just so your objectives that you explained in your narrative are achieved. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. BC79er is very informative on this sort of thing and could probably help more than me. I've done quite a bit of studying but am no where near the expert I need to be on this. He'll be around later I'm sure. Thanks. David

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    Default I'm in the Same boat

    My Company also put in for spare bottles and were able to get them "free" with our packs. I'm looking for the same advise. Should I go ahead and put in for the Fire Prevention, or give the money back. We also could use a projector and a laptop, but I have over 15K to use up. I have thought about buying 1,000 fire extinguisher for my area. If I give the money back, is it put back in the "pot" so others can get their grant or is the money used somewhere else? If it's put back in the "pot", I think I would do that. My first grant was only 13k. Where is a good place to look for places to put money on fire prevention? Thanks for all of the help, I'm glad I'm not the only one going through this.

    Matt

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    We have around 13,500 left. If you can help it, I wouldn't give it back. Spend it. I'm sure there is something you need. I feel pretty sure we'll go for the projector/computer thing, that is if FEMA rejects my proposal for an ammendment to add sets of gear. The fire extinguisher thing is a good idea if its something you can do. Not sure on that though. I guess it would be considered fire prevention. Just think of all the hard work and waiting that went into the grant. It may not happen again so I would put it to good use.

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    Here's the text from the 2004 Program Guide:

    Occasionally, due to successful competitive bid processes, some grantees have funds remaining after the completion of their obligations outlined above. Grantees that complete the approved scope of work prior to the end of the performance period and still have grant funds available have three options for the use of the excess funds:

    (1) Grantees may unilaterally use as much as $5,000 to continue or expand the activities for which they received the award. For example, if a grantee received an award for personal protective equipment, the grantee may use up to $5,000 of the excess funds to purchase more personal protective equipment without seeking our approval.
    (2) Grantees may use excess funds to create or expand a fire prevention program in accordance with the guidance provided herein. Grantees will need to obtain approval from the AFG program office to use excess funds for this purpose. Excess funds in excess of $5,000 must be used for fire prevention or option number three (3) below. (3) Grantees may return excess funds to the AFG program office. To exercise this option, a grantee must closeout their award and state in the final performance report that the remaining funds are not necessary for the fulfillment of the grant obligations. The grantee must also indicate that they understand the funds would be deobligated and unavailable for future expenses. The deobligation of the excess funds may affect the Federal portion of the grant and the amount of the grantee’s match. Any uses of excess funds would have to be disclosed as part of your reports, i.e., mid-term performance report and/or final closeout.

    So you are limited to purchasing up to $5000 more of what you already bought WITHOUT seeking approval. So I'm guessing that if you seek approval, you can buy up to $5000 of other stuff that was not part of your original application. So if you got PPE, you can buy up to $5000 more without asking. To buy that needed gas meter or smaller TIC, you need approval.

    In excess of $5000, you need approval to use the funds for valid fire prevention activities. From the Guide:

    DHS may make grants for the purpose of establishing or enhancing a fire prevention program. Appropriate activities in this program include, but are not limited to the following: public education, public awareness, enforcing fire codes, inspector certification, purchase and installation of smoke alarms and fire suppression systems, and arson prevention and detection activities.
    We believe projects that provide long-term benefits to the entire community, such as public education programs and programs that develop and enforce codes and standards, and/or arson prevention and detection programs provide the greatest benefits. Therefore, such community-wide activities will be afforded the highest competitive rating. Programs where the focus is on the purchase and installation of residential and public detection and suppression systems achieve positive benefits but not the highest competitive rating. The purchase of public information materials and presentation aids and equipment achieves the least benefit; therefore, these types of activities will be afforded the lowest competitive rating.

    Since you don't need to worry about what will give you competetive ratings anymore, applying for the computer and projector as well as other such public education stuff is a valid project. Just be sure to include some software that will allow you to keep track of preplans, hydrant testing and locations, pump testing, inventories, etc, etc. All that goes towards ISO, which is loosely related to fire prevention. Fire Code software would be another good thing to throw in, but some preplan applications have this as part of them.

    So flashpoint, order another $5000K worth of PPE, that was part of your original project, no permission needed. The other $8500 you can design a fire prevention project around that money. SGVFC you can do the same. $5K for more spare bottles, the other $10K+ make up a fire prevention program. And you're right, you may not see another award, spend what you have.

    The excess money does go back in the pot. One of the depts I wrote for this year got notified in August that they were getting both their 2003 (which had been DJ'd) and 2004 grants because of monies being returned and some awards not being accepted or some taken back because of fraudulent applications.

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    Well, as I said, I could be wrong. I skimmed through the guidance rather quickly, so I missed the information. I was mainly going by what had happend in the past. As far as our excess money, it was done through two methods...the first was "competitive bidding", although we rarely went with the lowest bidder. The second, I added a small percentage to our prices to account for manufacturer price increases. Sure, they give a bid price, but the small print states that the bid is only good for a certain amount of time. NO gurantee that they will honor the price after that time, although a reputable dealer should honor his price. However, if the manufacturer of the product raises his price (which can happen between the time you submit your app and you are awarded) the dealer has a little that he can do.

    This year, I did not add much to our amount (actually, $5,000 to be exact) as we applied under the vehicle category and you are limited to what you can do there. The main reason for the add was that our chassis is commercial, and we got our price off of the state bid. In the event that bid was not successfull again this year, we would be slightly okay. And, we did get our ten questions on Friday.

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    Does anyone know what are the $$$$ limitations on apparatus. Quick Attack,Brush, Pumper,Quint,ect. I know of the priority level of each but was just wondering if anyone had these $$ requests lowered?

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    Several departments I worked with had them reduced. A Class A custom chassis pumper is $225K, unless you have a really dang good reason stated why you need more than that. Continuity of chassis, safety (since most customs offer more safety features than commercial), more seating, more compartment space, adding CAFS,etc, etc. All are valid reasons. State that in your narrative, don't just copy and paste basic specs and expect that to do the job.

    100' Aerial (straight stick, no pump) is $450K. Quints are wide open due to the different styles and configurations. They're done on a case by case from what I've been able to gather.

    Pickup truck chassis brush trucks are around $40-50K. Wildland trucks are closer to $100K. Tankers (no real pump, comm. chassis) are around $120K. Class A comm. chassis pumpers are around $150K.

    Don't hesitate to call around to departments that got vehicle awards. Those that have succeeded probably won't get another one, so they hopefully won't keep the secrets to themselves.

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    Has anyone put together a comprehensive databank of apps (or successful apps)? An app. should be available under Freedom of Information. An on line databank of "good" and "bad" would be very useful.

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