1. #1
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    Question Riddle me this Batman...

    As I've been reading through my other post, I keep seeing some folks that have applied for the same thing for multiple years, and denied across the board. Several have changed projects, or project components and been awarded.

    I'm not out to get in a fight about anything, but I am curious for those that submit for the same project multiple times with multiple denials, was anything changed or did you submit the same application? Was it peer denied or computer denied the previous year(s)?

    Again, not wanting to turn this into a slam-fest for the decisions being made, just trying to start a helpful discussion for future reference.

    For instance, vehicles. 6 in 10 are computer denied. only 1 of the remaining 4 is awarded. If you were computer denied in one year, did you make changes in the project for the next year? Did you make it past the computer that year? If you made it to peer review, did you make narrative changes for the next year or resubmit the same application?

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    Default Request Rerun

    Dear Brian; Yes, we re-ran our original request for three years in a row, now. It was -and still is- for a 75 foot quint. Each year, I worked as hard on improving our narrative and justification data as if it were a whole new request. I have attended many seminars for even a hint of any means of improvement possible. The 2003 app was denied by computer. The 2004 app made it to the last round of DJs: Feb. 03, 2005. This year, who knows? Days after the deadline, I now see where I could have boosted the 2005 narrative's impact with a rewritten phrase here or there, but that's normal for us all. What really skunked me, though, was the fact that for this year the narrative space was cut down to only 19,00 characters, and I had to really cut out a lot of my justification points to make it fit on the last day (hours). Even after I had already pared it down considerably from last year. We keep going for the quint because this grant is the only way our impoverished industrial city is ever going to be able to replace our worn-out 50 foot TeleSqurt. The men consider it a 'death-trap-in-waiting'. A new mayor is finally willing to concede that, and is willing to go 10% match with a 10% overmatch this time, so we thought that 20% now might make a difference. Time will tell.

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    WE applied for turn outs and a pumper the first year. The turn outs were awarded, but the apparatus denied. After that, being limited to one catagory, we went for the engine. Changing the request slightly, but improving the narrative to better explain how our needs fit the criteria. Finally, in 2003 we were awarded the pumper. We were never told what stage of review we made it to, but our denials always came late in the fall, so we always assumed that we at least made it past the computer. The interesting part is that the successful narrative was less than 1 page, and the unsuccessful narratives had been longer, more detailed presentations. The quality verses quantity theory? Maybe. Looking back on all the unsuccessful narratives, we can now pick out mistakes that were not so obvious at the time.
    We don't know if we were just lucky this time, or did we write a really good proposal.

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    Little changes but basically the same project. It's just not a feasible thing for me to do without the grant. And no, it's not for exercise equipment (but I'd probably get awarded for that ). Only been denied by computer once (this last time) and other than that nice generic letter, can't really give an answer as to 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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    CptnMatt for learning purposes only in case there are others in the same boat:

    - How many engines do you have?
    - Why 75' since that would end up being calculated in with your number of engines?

    For instance, and I'm making up numbers for sake of argument:

    You have 3 engines (50' counts as engine), no ladder trucks (>76'). You're asking for a 75' quint (counts as an engine, <76' device), aka another engine by the computer. Did the thought come across that maybe a 100' quint would give you a better advantage since you don't have anything in that category (>76' device)?

    I realize there are reasons not to: size of truck, overall cost, etc, etc. Just trying to break out the thought process as a learning experience.

    And yes, every time you re-read a narrative there's always something you'd change. I thought my heavy rescue app was pretty poor, but it was funded. I made until last DJ in 2003 with the quint, found tons that I would have changed with that. It's a never ending cycle, kinda like painting rooms in the house. The Mrs likes the color until the room is done and the furniture is back.

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    Unhappy Why not a 100 foot quint-

    Dear Brian; The reaason for not going for a 100 quint is that we already have a 1998 aerial, and I pretty well thought that that would kill any request for another- even though it's not a very reliable truck- more often out of service than not. Don't want to start any arguements here, so I won't mention any brand name, but a real POS! And it has 3 letters in its name, too! The fact that our TeleSqurt is a 1980, with nearly 90,000 miles on it and over 6,000 fire runs to its credit in the logs, was the justification for it. That, and the fact that our over 40 buildings of over 4 story height (hospital complex, multi-storied retirement apartments, Federal dams, etc., etc.) with high hazard life safety cosiderations would justify needing 2 ladder trucks for this city, and a 75 foot quint would get us there. That's why. Sure, a 100 foot platform would be ideal, but I'm trying to work within THEIR rules, not what's best. That's the challenge for us all, isn't it? I mean, after all, as the Rand Corporation Study of last year- headed by former US Senator Warren Rudman- noted, if the Country was REALLY serious about Homeland Security and the Emergency Responders, they'd fund 98 $Billion over the next 5 years, which is what is really needed, they found. Made CNN , CSPAN, and NBC for a few days, then quietly faded away.

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    Devil's Advocate: If the 100' platform is really a better solution, wouldn't that have been the better truck to apply for? I mean if y'all are really that busy, with that many large structures needing 100' devices, isn't it possible that someone else might think you're settling for a less expensive truck in hopes of getting any kind of money, and score you lower since you're not properly addressing the situation in their opinion? I mean, ISO and NFPA both say with those numbers you ought to have 2 aerials, and 4 stories with average setbacks puts a 75' almost out of reach of the roof.

    But like you said, having the 100' straight stick might not help the cause. Then again if you're replacing the old tele-squirt with the new truck no matter what type the new one was, I'm not sure that would make a difference. After all, the application is marked that you'd be replacing a unit, obviously the old high mileage truck would be the obvious candidate.

    Again, just thinking out loud, trying to spark some debate, create a learning environment, etc, etc. Definitely not trying to raise your blood pressure in 2nd guessing everything until you find something out, and I certainly wish you and everyone success at the program. I'm only out to spread the knowledge around. More experience is gained by screwing up than succeeding, and Lord knows I have experience in a lot of areas, so I could be all wet on this.

    We have one of those brand pumpers. In their defense the truck committee put too small of a motor (300 HP Cat) in it, but that doesn't explain the magic wiring or spitting A/C unit. Nothing worse than a crappy A/C unit during August in Texas. Can't even drive faster and roll the windows down, it goes 0-60, well never. 0-30 it might make in a minute, downhill and with the wind, but we have no hills here either.

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    Nothing worse than a crappy A/C unit during August in Texas.
    Um, if I may disagree...

    No A/C unit during August in Alabama (or Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida...) is much, much worse.

    Until we got into the EMS transport business, I'm sure we had members that didn't know you could get AC on a fire truck.

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    Originally posted by EFD840


    Um, if I may disagree...

    No A/C unit during August in Alabama (or Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida...) is much, much worse.

    Until we got into the EMS transport business, I'm sure we had members that didn't know you could get AC on a fire truck.
    Whew! Amen.. Although I have heard that San Antonio is getting their fair share of humidity these days

    If it had not been a standard option on the last two engines, we would not have A/C.
    YGBSM!
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    I don't know. If there wasn't one, I'd have no expectations. But having one, and not having it work is like finally getting to 2nd base only to find Kleenex.

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    Originally posted by BC79er
    I don't know. If there wasn't one, I'd have no expectations. But having one, and not having it work is like finally getting to 2nd base only to find Kleenex.

    LOL! ROFLMAO!!!

    TRUER WORDS NEVER SPOKEN!
    YGBSM!
    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

    If all you have is a hammer, then your problems start to look like nails.
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    Default

    Dear Brian; First I would like to say that I've been
    reading the grant forum here for a couple of years and
    it has been very helpful and informative (ok sometimes
    comedy relief helps too) THANKS!! We've put in the same
    project (Quick Attack to replace a brush truck) for 3 years
    and after last year I questioned doing it again. Start to wonder
    if you're even close. The thing that changed my mind was that
    my nieghboring dept. was one of your 20 or so that was denied
    early and then suddenly in Dec. they are awarded. Their dept.
    is very similar to ours. Call volumes are almost identical and
    their trucks are about 5 years older but they have more of them.
    So I took a good look at their grant app, found some ways to lower
    my cost and we will try it again. Last two years have been computer
    denied but their grant guy told me that his was last year also. I'm
    like everybody else here and re-read my narritave and change it every
    year, I just hope someone will read it once.

    Stay safe and keep smilin'

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    Vehicles are the ring in the bull's nose. As I said, 6 out of 10 are computer denied, they don't meet the statistical need established. 3 out of the last 4 are denied, placing the utmost importance on the right project for the real problem. Depending on how you word things, a problem greater than the one you think you're solving with your project may be getting communicated, so what you are applying for is not what the reviewer sees as being the solution in line with the priorities. This is the Holy Grail of the program: truly defining the problem, and finding the solution that will reap the most cost-benefit for all involved.

    Obviously, loads easier said than done. This is why my nerd brain comes in handy. I solve business problems day in and day out. The fire service is a business, not unlike IBM, GM, and others. It's all in how you think, and what your options are for proceeding.

    "It's hard to think outside the box when you're in it."

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    Unhappy

    Dear Brian, I am well aware of the different apparatus catagories, and that 75 foot quints are in the same catagory as a regular pumper. I personally think that that is not fair, or even accurate. The question of why that is (either 1: because of NFPA's illogical catagories, or 2: deliberate programming by your professional peers at DHS so as to make 75' quint requests even more difficult to statistically justify) is a moot issue, however. It is what it is. I have argued to the our Chiefs here time and again that if we were to sell the 100' aerial and use the proceeds to purchase a 75 foot quint, then we'd be wide open to request a 100 foot platform from the aerial catagory, and have a very good chance of getting it, since we'd have none then, but with a great demonstrable need for one. They refuse to consider that angle, citing the risk to the populace in the interim. True, but how else to go for our need for a 2nd ladder truck? A 75' quint was my only other option, as I saw it. Oh great cyber-wizard, if you see another way that I should have gone, please share it with me. Our city may well be in the same need again next year, and at least I'll be 350 days ahead of the game that time around. And by the way, why is it that career departments are RARELY the recipients of the apparatus awards, especially in light of the fact that we in the smaller industrial cities carry so much of the critical infrastructure burdens and threats which the DHS people SAY that they are wanting to protect?

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    Personally, 75's are in with pumpers because depending on how they are built, they are just pumpers with a stick.

    Single axle 75' quints by ANY manufacturer are close to overweight before you even put equipment on them, and there's so little compartment space, you really can't stock them as a truck company. Hence, inclusion in the pumper category.

    So if you go tandem axle to get a worthwhile piece of equipment, break out the extra $40K and put the extra 25' of aerial on the truck. The chassis and compartmentation is practically the same (minor loss for front outriggers for H-jack manufacturers) between the 75' and 100', but now you have enough space to put equipment on the thing to make it more of a truck/rescue company, reaching where it needs to go. It is more expensive, but more useful, hence, more cost-benefit (magic AFG word).

    Or I guess it's a conjunction. Reminds me of a Sesame Street Song. Just like C is for Cookie. ^*$#*&% health nuts, C is a Sometimes Food?! Is nothing SACRED ANYMORE?!

    Sorry, just a bit perturbed at that recent development.

    I can't make a full rundown on your situation, I don't know it, SW Illinois really doesn't narrow down where you're at so I could analyze. But, the priorities for this program were developed based on surveys of departments from all over the country (~23,000 mailed, ~13,000 returned), as well as ISO and NFPA Standards. Urban, high population points to 2 aerial devices no matter where you look, and personally, I don't think a 75' is warranted in your area, not given the 40 buildings over 4 stories.

    Career departments are rarely apparatus recipients because the thought is if you are fully career, you've been around for a while, you have a high run volume, and apparatus replacement should have been an established process for a long time, and a high priority within the department already, not needing outside funding. Yes, that's a sterotype of a career department, and you may be the exception. See the above mentioning of a survey to determine the BROAD needs of each type of department in each setting (urban, suburban, rural). Same reason that a 100' stick is a Priority 2 for rural. The overwhemling majority of rural areas have no basis for needing a stick by ISO and NFPA standards. So, the rules apply to the majority. Very few urban departments see a need for a short stick, so they don't think they need them. I think the only reason that they didn't make 75' aerials a Priority 2 for urban areas is that there are a lot of "urban" areas like Ivyland PA (stcommodore's area) with 1 square mile and 2200 people that get marked as urban, but go outside of the city limits, and there are corn fields.

    As I said many times before, you may not fit the stereotype for your classification, it happens. This is why I suggest a full-blown analysis for your department's situation, not just what you think you want to apply for. You may find you have other priorities that are made more obvious than you think when your app is read. In other words, you may not be making computer scoring because they think you're supposed to be asking for a 100' stick, since the 75' would be outgrown too quickly. Since growth and development is imminent, your project has to incorporate that into a long term (10 yrs minimum) project for maximum cost-benefit (that again). You're going to need 2 100' aerials within 10 years, so the thought may be that why give you a 75' that you are going to need to replace with something bigger in less than 10 years? Plus, urban areas have a tax base in most cases, so an extra $60-70k in aerial payments per year might be less than 1/2% in the overall budget. But when most suburban (~$150K budget avg) and rural (~$25K budget avg) areas look at truck payment, they're usually more than the budget. More statistical need can be shown for not being able to fund large dollar projects like trucks.

    Again, just my humble opinion from the outside looking in. I would like to get proved to have skewed thinking and you get the truck, I don't wish anyone bad luck in their pursuits.

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    Talking Bit of clarification

    Hey now, the booming metropolis of Ivyland is my little slice of heaven! Of course I don't know how heavenly, seeing the town was originally named for the overabundance of a certain shiny three leafed plant that makes you itch (true story!)

    Brian, 'BC79er' wouldn't be in reference to Doylestown's substation would it?

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    Default Special Circumstances

    Dear Brian, this is the last post from me on the subject, since we've seemingly been talking past each other's understanding, and I know that we both want only to do the right thing for all concerned. We are a suburban city. The city is broke from factory shutdowns, the 100 year old sewer breaks,and street crumblings, 33% manning cuts, etc. here, and with the US Coast Guard now bugging out of marine firefighting and putting it all on the locals along shore now, it's a matter of unfunded Federal mandates. If we are protecting criticalinfrastructures, and national commerce now along the Mississippi, then the Feds should help fund some of the associated increased costs involved in meeting that fire protection level now required. The 75 foot quint can get in the tight quarters, streets, and docks where a 100 foot tandem couldn't. At least, ours can't.

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    Yes it would be. Grew up in Furlong, got my introduction to old man fire on L79. Spent 7 years riding that around before relocating to the land of heat and no state or local income tax.

    Capt Matt - on the contrary, we're not talking past each other or all. Up until this last post, I don't think anyone could see why the 75' was the answer given what you had posted, which is why I kept asking how you came to that conclusion.

    Coast Guard now bugging out of marine firefighting and putting it all on the locals along shore now
    The 75 foot quint can get in the tight quarters, streets, and docks where a 100 foot tandem couldn't.
    Now that we all know that, it's easy to see why you're applying for a 75' quint instead of the 100', and why you cannot afford to purchase it on your own. This satisfies my persistent questions as to why you're not asking for a 100' truck when I came to the conlusion that you needed one after your first post. I could add two sentences to each of the above quotes, and that would more than satisfy the Funding Issues and Project Definition portions of the narrative. That leaves no room for interpretation based on the reviewer's knowledge/experience, the death knell of the narrative.

    I was just trying to get you to JUSTIFY to me why you did it, and you may every well have done it on the real application but not put it here for space issues. As you can see, I make long posts every now and again so I'm no stranger to boatloads of typing. Besides the fact most of the programs I write have 1000s of lines of code.

    Why did I want your justification? For the learning experience I think everyone just got from this thread. After all, I'm just a guy that could be a reviewer, like anyone else on this board. I'm not though, I spend enough time playing FF, my wife would kick my ***** 6 ways from Sunday if I took off a week from work to go read apps. Maybe next year.

    Discussions like this are how decisions are made on projects, by looking at the problem 360. On the whole, I'm just trying to interject on WHY the program is the way it is. Not saying it's right, wrong, or indifferent, but too many folks as evidenced by the posts to this forum over the years, have no idea where the program came from and why it is laid out the way it is, from the process to the priorities. "If you don't understand the enemy, you can't defeat him." Think about this: when you are on the nozzle do you just spray water because you've been told water puts out fire, or do you do it with a purpose with the knowledge of HOW water puts out fire? Same basic thought principles can be applied to this program for repeatable success.

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    Question Computer denied?

    We have submitted and been denied in the past but I have been unable to tell why? Is there a way your notice reveals how and specifically why you were denied? We received a "dear John" letter stating that while our request was above average................others with higher need..........thanks for applying.

    Any insights?

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    It should say something about not being sent for the second level of review if it didn't make it past the computer. The other way to tell is the date. August/September date of arrival, didn't make it past the computer. Anything after that did, just didn't have enough of the goods to be awarded. There's more to it than that but I'm in Wisconsin on a quint drawing approval trip and I have to get up in 5 hours to talk to the graphics people and finish compartment layout stuff. Yeehaa.

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    Also, most of us who read and see lots of narratives, can usually read that and ask a few questions about what you entered in the app. question area, and tell you some reasons you may have scored lower. There is ALWAYS room for improvement, and the departments that begin NOW working on this for next year will be better off.

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