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  1. #1
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Default Safer

    Anyone got any insight into SAFER? Is the application period still slated for May/June?

    Anyone seen the guidelines yet?

    Specifically, was wondering how they will determine exactly how many people you will get. In ohter words, If I ask for 3 per shift or a total of 9 (hypothetically) in order to bring us into comopliance with NFPA 1710..... Can or will they say...Well.."we know you need people, but we feel that 6 would be appropriate." Or...Is it going to be you get what you ask for or nothing?

    When you apply will you include the cost of uniforms and PPE or just salary and benefits/person?

    This may all be covered somewhere when they publish the guidelines, but I want to try and get my ducks in a row in preparation for the process.
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    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    I've been looking too. Best I can figure it's still May 31st. AOY no program guidence. I'm assuming it will work alot like the COPS program that President Clinton had several years ago with diminishing federal assistance each year, also if it works that way I would assume that just like the AFG, the number of people you can work on getting is directly proportional to the size/call volume ect..

    On the other hand, I could be wrong on all of this

  3. #3
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    We are clear on the diminishing funds each year in the program. That information was given out at the Fire Act Seminar we attended. Just not clear on how to ask for how many!
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    America's fire service should start preparing for the application
    period
    for the AFG Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER)
    grants. The grant period will begin on May 31, 2005 and continue
    through
    June 28, 2005. The program is administered by the Department of
    Homeland
    Security's Office of State and Local Government Coordination and
    Preparedness.

    Through the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2005,
    Congress provided $65 million for the SAFER program to hire fire
    personnel
    and enhance the number of volunteer firefighters through Recruitment
    and
    Retention Grants.

    The applications are automated and accessible via the AFG website:
    www.firegrantsupport.com. The website contains useful background
    information on the AFG program priorities and program guidance, as well
    as
    a tutorial. Fire departments that have questions regarding these grant
    opportunities should contact the Help Desk at 1-866-274-0960 or at
    firegrants@dhs.gov.
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    Originally posted by EastKyFF (quoting a press release)
    America's fire service should start preparing for the application
    period for the AFG Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants. The grant period will begin on May 31, 2005 and continue through June 28, 2005.
    That's great, but since I can't find any program guidance, it's kind of hard to prepare. Don't the people who write these press releases see the irony in what they're writing??

    Anyway...anyone know when we'll be able to get guidance so that we can prepare?

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    A small bit of info was given in the workshops this past winter for AFG. You can access the slide show here: http://www.firegrantsupport.com/present.aspx

    There's only a little info, but maybe it can start helping you plan. The biggest issues I have heard discussed is how many people to ask for, and what volunteer depts. are elgiible to ask for. These questions will more than likely not be answered until May 31. However, some of the direction I have heard and understood, is with the limited funds ($65 Million) and that the volunteer depts. should focus on recruit/retain volunteers. It has been discussed about whether the volunteer depts. would be eligible for a 'new mission' area of paid staff. Especially since the new mission area was a big deal in the AFG the past few years.

    A few of the ideas for volunteer depts. has been a per call reimbursement, paying for the training of volunteers, paying for TO gear for the new recruits once they complete 'X' number of hours of training and/or calls and many other ideas. Not sure if this is what you're looking for. I hope this helps.

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    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    Originally posted by bobsnyder


    That's great, but since I can't find any program guidance, it's kind of hard to prepare. Don't the people who write these press releases see the irony in what they're writing??
    can prepare?
    The only good thing is that everyone is in the dark together, so no one will have a jump over anyone else....not much consolation, but hopefully we'll at least be at the same starting point

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    Originally posted by dixiechicknc
    I have heard and understood, is with the limited funds ($65 Million) and that the volunteer depts. should focus on recruit/retain volunteers. It has been discussed about whether the volunteer depts. would be eligible for a 'new mission' area of paid staff. Especially since the new mission area was a big deal in the AFG the past few years.
    The sad irony is that I think the best chance we have to sustain responsible daytime coverage going forward is to bring on a small crew of paid people. Finding enough new volunteers with daytime availability in our area (much of which has become a string of bedroom communities for the terribly congested Philly suburbs) to really make a difference is a pipe dream, pure and simple. We already have an incentive plan, we already have separate state funding from which we can buy PPE, and our training is administered (and subsidized) through the Community College system (which makes it essentially free, except for some materials charges), so flashy recruiting campaigns and paid staffing are the only real benefits I can see coming from this for us...especially the paid staffing.

    Originally posted by dixiechicknc
    A few of the ideas for volunteer depts. has been a per call reimbursement, paying for the training of volunteers, paying for TO gear for the new recruits once they complete 'X' number of hours of training and/or calls and many other ideas. Not sure if this is what you're looking for. I hope this helps.
    I really do appreciate your help. The following is not aimed at you, so please don't take it that way...

    One of the big questions I have for the people who design these programs is this...if it's really true one of the possible uses of this funding is "paying for TO gear for the new recruits once they complete 'X' number of hours of training and/or calls," isn't this program then specifically encouraging fire companies to violate both common sense and NFPA standards for personal protection?? How, exactly, do they think anyone gets trained or runs calls safely without turnout gear (which is the boat many small, poorly funded, mostly rural fire departments are in, I'm lead to believe)?? Hmmmm...

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    I totally agree with the problem that the volunteer departments face. I understand that the funds are so limited there has to be a way to narrow down the thousands of applications, thus guidelines we all may not agree with.

    (In other words, I can kinda see both sides of the issue...however, I side with my volunteer depts. I know the challenges of finding the funds to add PT personnel or to convince a Board that it's a worthwhile investment...)

    On the TO gear topic, I think that the giving of new TO gear, is not aimed at them having NONE during those hours, but rather their own set of new gear. It's basically a reimbursement tool. Same with the per call fees. If you're already doing it now, that's great. It can be used (if you are awarded) to pay back your dept. that money. Then it's up to your dept. whether to use those funds to expand the per call program or use the money in other ways.

    Brian, kick some thoughts into this if you're around...

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    I've heard numerous ideas kicked around about what it could and might be, but of course it's all speculation and the normal channels I listen to are in the dark as well.

    With one of the front page Firehouse.com stories being how volunteer departments are supplementing with a paid person or two, it's kind of an obvious argument to use, but of course it's true: suburban and rural areas have trouble with day time staffing and have to pay people since hardly anyone lives and works in the same locale.

    Now don't read that as these classifications have a better chance of being funded than anyone else. But let's look at the reality of it. Large cities with 500+ firefighters on the employment roster, are probably going to have a more difficult time explaining the cost benefit of adding 1 person per shift over the whole city. Given that there's only $65 mil and a limit of $100K on the award, that's basically 650 people for the whole country at full price.

    So where does that put my thought? Small cities with either career or combo departments, and rural areas. In the volunteer/combo departments, 1 FF either doing maintenance, pre-planning, mapping, fire prevention, or any of a host of other tasks provides more of a cost-benefit in my mind than giving a few guys to a large city. Many small cities can only afford 2 or 3 guys per truck. Not safe at all. Considering that over the 5 years the federal funding diminishes, if you don't put your funding ducks in a row, you could be in big trouble, especially if you paint the wrong picture in the application.

    Just my view. Hopefully the Guidance shows up soon and we can stop guessing. Although that takes the fun out of it.

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    I would like to start a voly recruitment and retention program and throw in some fitness insentives.

    A small stipend per call would be nice also since guys are often loosing money by responding.

    I am realy interested in this grant, keep us posted folks!!!
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    Originally posted by dixiechicknc
    I
    On the TO gear topic, I think that the giving of new TO gear, is not aimed at them having NONE during those hours, but rather their own set of new gear. It's basically a reimbursement tool.
    Shouldn't the gear part be dealt with in the main AFG grant as opposed to the SAFER sub-grant?

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    I can see where it might help voly departments and the volys themselves.

    OK, join the VFD, but we dont have any TO gear for you, or here is some hand me downs with holes and 2 sizes to small or big.

    Hmmmm....

    I think it fits in the SAFER category as well as the AFG.

    But, there is such a demand for assistance taht I can see SAFER turning into another way to try and get basic gear if they offer TO gear.

    To early to tell, I realy dont have any clue as to what the SAFER grant is going to be like.
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    Until the guidelines come out it's all speculation. The ideas of per call $, TO gear & training $ are all ideas that have been tossed around since SAFER was first introduced and speculations and discussions insued.

    Now, I think the ideas behind the TO gear incentive is that there is obviously older, ill-fitted gear around Firehouses all over the country. And that a newbie is expected to wear whatever is scrounged up or come out of pocket. So, the idea was presented at a workshop that I attended that it would be a great incentive to offer to help out vol. depts. by being able to offer new recruits after so many hours of service and so many hours/levels of training a new set of TO gear. So, they aren't feeling pressured to come out of pocket with it, and for all the depts. that don't have a ton of reserve.

    Also, if you have addressed the TO gear issue for the bulk of your dept. in the AFG then when you're out there recruiting new volunteers, it's kinda cool to be able to say, after 6 months of training and x number of calls (or hours or whatever...) you get a brand new set of gear, instead of the hand-me-downs.

    Now, this is all speculation. As I said, no one knows exactly what is allowable. NOR do we know what percent of funding is going to the vols vs. career depts. This will affect the funding options for all the depts. Only a little over a week to go, then all these questions will be answered.

    Also, another thought is this is a 5 yr. grant. So, if you are a small volunteer dept. that is trying to get 5 new members, odds are if you're going for some gear or per call $, then it's a pretty low figure you're asking for, over the 5 yrs. Think of that versus a paid dept. in a large city with high payscale. Alot more funds if it's 15K here and 25K there...rather than one dept. receiving 100-150K. (again, ALL speculation and my opinion).

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    If you log in at e-grant there is a new link to SAFER tutorial up. Doesn't work, takes you to the AFG tutorial but they must be thinking of FINALLY giving the world a clue about what they are going to do with SAFER.

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