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    Default SCBAs - "% of on-duty active members that has PPE"

    I'm looking for advice in how to answer the question of "what percentage of on-duty active members has PPE that meets NFPA and OSHA standards at time of application." We're applying for SCBAs and according to the rule of seated positions in firefighting fleet qualify for 60 packs. However, we have 120 active firefighters. According to FEMAs rules we can't apply for a complete pack for each FF and they don't all have their own now. Technically, no FFs have the PPE but the department has 47 sets. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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    ksmith....I've never heard of a department where every firefighter has their own personal SCBA (although I suppose there are some out there). I think the question was in relation to turnout gear, i.e., how many of your active firefighters have current NFPA gear. How that relates to SCBA I'm not sure, other than the feds using the grant application process as a sort of survey on the needs of fire departments, for example, how many applicants out there are compliant with various NFPA standards.

    I don't think you're going to get an SCBA for every member. We got a grant last year for SCBA and the maximum number you are allowed is, I think, based on the number required for an NFPA compliant apparatus. For example, all our engines carry 6 SCBA (always have), but NFPA only requires 4. So in our application we wanted to replace ALL our SCBA, but FEMA reduced our amount to correspond with the number required for the apparatus we have. That's why they have the questions about how many apparatus and of what type your department has.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    ksmith31,

    You need to answer the question based on the SCBA's that you have. Since you are applying for SCBA's they want to know the percentage that are compliant. This same question pops up for any type of PPE that you may request turnout gear, spare cylinders, helmets etc.

    You can apply for the number of seated positons plus additional vehicles. For ex. last year we requested 4 SCBA's, 3 for seated positions plus one for the safety officers vehicle and was approved.

    Is the question quoted the full text? Last year "current" was part of that question. Because current and meet imply two different things. If your SCBA meet the standards at the time could imply at the time of purchase, where as current is to the most current standard.

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    Thanks for the input. We have 120 active firefighters; that doesn't include support, auxiliary, etc. The count for seated positions in our firefighting fleet is 60, 50% of our active roster. I don't expect to get SCBAs for each firefighter. The SCBAs we have are almost 15 years old. We ran over 1,000 fire-related calls last year. We are completely volunteer and cover 92 square miles. Any thoughts on our chances? Thanks again!

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    Ksmith....your packs are all over 15 years old and you have that kind of call volume? I'd guess your chances are pretty good if you write your narrative well. We only run about 300 calls a year, although probably about 1/4 of those are fire related (lot of medical and MVA's). We have some packs in the 15 year old range, but we have some that are only about 5 years old. We got approved.

    As I said, we couldn't replace ALL packs, but we will manage to retire all the 15 year old stuff and keep only the best of the newer ones. We also will manage to retire all our old BMR packs....until now we've had a mix of BMR and MMR, which is kind of confusing for the rookies

    Especially with packs as old as yours, really play up the "bring us into compliance with NFPA standards" angle. Improving firefighter safety is a good angle to play on also.

    Do you do a lot of mutual aid? Mention that as well. The more people who benefit from your award, both within and outside your jurisdiction, the better your chances will be. Also address if the equipment will be interoperable with your mutual aid company's equipment.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    When you requested facepieces, did you request just one for every pack or did you request extras to have on hand. Right now we have issued personal facepieces to our active interior firefighters. Can I ask for those? We run close to 40 mutual aid fire-related calls a year. Is that too low?

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    I don't know that there's a set number of mutual aid responses they look at...I'm just saying that if you can demonstrate how the equipment will benefit more than one agency or community, it will probably be viewed more favorably.

    We only requested one facepiece per pack. We still have some funds left to play with, though, and we're considering buying extra masks...it would be handy if you could hang one up to dry after cleaning it and still have one to go in service.

    Right now we have issued personal facepieces to our active interior firefighters.
    If that's the case, I'd say go ahead and ask for them. They'll probably go for it, especially if it fits in with your current policy. DHS is not in the business of telling you what equipment to buy or how to operate...they realize that you are the best judge of what works in your department. If you explain your reason for it, I don't think they'd deny it. And even if they do, it doesn't mean they'll throw out your whole application...they'll just let you know that you can't have the extra masks.

    For example, we requested funding for 28 SCBA's, to replace everything we have. They approved our project, but said we could only have 20 SCBA's, probably based on our number of apparatus. I had to reply whether this was acceptable or did I want to withdraw the application (what do you think? )

    We did specify an extra bottle for each pack, though, and got that. The important thing is to spell out, in detail, exactly what you want to purchase and how many, because they won't let you deviate much...you have to buy exactly what you said you would buy. You can't add or change items much if it doesn't fit into the original project. (I know, I tried...I tried to get them to let us pay for a cascade system on our new service truck, since it also enhances our breathing air capabilities...Nice try, they said, but that wasn't part of the original project.)
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Points WELL taken. Thanks again for the input. I appreciate you sharing your experience with me. (Our 1000 calls per year does NOT include the 1700 EMS calls we respond to!)

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