1. #1
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    Smile NEW SAFER guidelines OUT now!!!

    Wow....Early Memorial Day Present, everyone. The guidelines are out this AM! Just was tooling around their site (new FP grants out today, too, by the way) and noticed a new section. Here's the link to the PDF. Hopefully, this answers everyones questions!

    http://www.firegrantsupport.com/docs...amGuidance.pdf

    Good Luck!

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    Thanks Dixie

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    Smile

    Dixie,

    Thanks for letting us know about the guidelines.

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    Thumbs up

    Cool. Thanks!

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    Default safer grant

    Am I mistaken or not reading this right, the max. you can receive on the safer grant is not to exceed 100,000.00 per year (sal & benefits). That only equals about 4 F/F's is that correct.

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    The funding cap is $100K per FF total over 5 years.

    "the maximum annual Federal share of funds that grantees can receive under SAFER for salary and benefits for newly hired firefighters will not exceed the lesser of the following:

    Year One: 90 percent of the actual costs or $36,000
    Year Two: 80 percent of the actual costs or $32,000
    Year Three: 50 percent of the actual costs or $20,000
    Year Four: 30 percent of the actual costs or $12,000
    Year Five: No Federal share -- all costs borne by grantee"

  7. #7
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    Default Gamesmanship

    SAFER has pretty limited funding. Additional $ in future years is doubtful. Was a sop for the fire unions as way to add headcount to the union rolls. To get it the legislation passed added a section requiring that a minimal amount must go to vol. recruiting/retention. $ not going to cities for hiring additional full time firefighters can go into the vol. program.

    So.

    Many cities, large and small that got in on the COPS (same/same as SAFER but for police) were burned by the out year expenses. These cities don't have the funds, or see the need, need for additional paid firefighters.

    So what are you hearing? Cities applying for SAFER salary funds?? Is answer different depending on city size (as small cities that are combo/primarily vol but may want to add that 1st or 5th full timer)? Or are cities passing on SAFER.

    If cities are passing on SAFER the high payoff grant opportunity for a small vol dept may be to req $ to add a 1st full time paid guy. Or just hope that as more $ will flow into the vol. program it will somewhat increase probability of success with app for recruit/retain.

    I'm prepared to submit either way but we have to place our bet one way or other soon.

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    For a fully volunteer or slighty combo department, the hiring question is easy: do you have the funds to pay for the salary of each hired FF for each year, including year 5?

    If not, better come up with a nice program to increase activity among those you have, as well as recruit those in the area. If one hired FF won't help you on gameday, no sense in spending the dough now. Save it up for when you can get 2-3 in there and make a full crew out of it. Retaining volunteers will always cost less in the long run, and if the area can't afford any full-timers, might as well go for the free labor.

    If the area complains that much that they need full-time FFs, tell them they need to pony up. For us, we pay 14 guys for 6a-6p service M-F. So for 5 out of 14 weekly 12 hour shifts, our salary & benefits cost is over $900K. We'd need a budget of over $2.7 mil just to pay 24/7. Not going to happen anytime soon around here, so our best bet is recruit and retain for maximum manpower.

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    Point of hiring a full timer would is manned station, real world and end game ISO improvement. Significant improvement in manning. In our dept and many much larger town/cities having just 40hr is significant. In our area, towns of 6-10000 only have 3 or 4 paid positions (total 4 men/1 per shift). Bell rings, opens doors and rolls to with 1st our or with 1st 3 guys to arrive at the station.

    The bill in those out years is a bugger but I'm confident I can creatively raise the $ required. I'll come up with something. It's a case of what is the avenue of approach to the objective that has the best likelyhood of success. I'm thinking ther area going to be a LOT of apps chasing a very tiny pot of Vol. Recruit/Retain $. So is the smart money looking at plan B/outside of the box?

    Real world, guy is going to spend his time doing anything but fighting fires, don't get that many fire/med calls.

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    Just reviewing again the guidance to make sure I didn't miss anything. And I find I did.

    Priority is on dept that have high turnover????? That make any sense? Our problem is numbers - real world and ISO/station manning.

    Our dept is stable with long term members and average age N of 35. Need new young blood.

    But according to the fire grant the dept the is screwed up worse than a soup sandwich, can't keep people around is the priority for receiving grant $? In the miltary those are the outfits that get a housecleaning, you don't reinforce failure.

    If the underlying priority is changing these depts to improve retention that should make for some interesting apps. "The leadership of our dept consists of all clueless idiots and we are driving our members away. If this grant is successful all the officers pledge to resign".

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    Cool

    NEIOWA, I love ya! Your perceptions are refreshing, and your acerbic wit is priceless. We all get too stuffy around here sometimes, and your witicisms (when apolitical) are refreshing. Especially at this late date and hour, when nerves are frayed, the stresses build, and the caffeine doesn't cut it anymore. Keep up the good work.

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    While I wouldn't doubt that some folks will take that approach, and probably aren't lying, what they're aiming at is the limit of each individual's drive to belong compared to a level of thanks being given. Many of us do it because we enjoy it, but I'm sure we've all had a time where we thought: I don't even get a (insert item) for this.

    Our dept is a revolving door. 60 people, average experience at 4.1 years. Chief is the only one with over 20 years, 3 of us over 10, 14 over 5, the rest less than that. Why? We're going to hit 5,000 run this year, with all nights and weekends being volunteer manpower, as well as those around during the day making the fires with the paid crews. People get run ragged. We have no length of service awards, no additional outside training money, just a simple thanks for coming. Many come in, spend 12-24 months with us, get their basic training and EMT patch, then go earn money doing transport while paying for the fire academy, because they figure if they're going to lose a lot of sleep, it might as well be for a purpose. We figure if we can give some kind of service awards, and a tuition reimbursement (after 3 years), these folks will want to stay around longer because there is a greater incentive. Being as this is the US, everyone has their price, and we're hoping a few small tokens of thanks are enough to keep people around. We only pay M-F 6a-6p, and that takes 65% of the current budget to do, there's no way we could provide the service we do without the volunteers.

    That and a wide area marketing campaign to advertise every volunteer department in the area. Like a handful of others, we don't have residency requirements, they just have to stay at the station while on duty, so we'll take people from anywhere. We draw a decent amount of folks from inside the city limits of many career departments already, and if people know they can join, they will. So many don't know they are covered by volunteer departments, and would join if they did, so if we're going to market we might as well help everyone in the area. Help a M/A, it helps you out in the long run, we all lean on each other eventually.

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    Wink SFAER R7R

    neiowa, I love your approach. It has been a forte of mine for years. Most grant programs exist, for the sake of discovering new and improved ways to do things. The "out of the box" thinker consistently gets funded more often, as long as he/she keeps the program priorities at the head of the list.


    So come on all you MaGyvers, let your imagination run wild and good luck. I hope we see some real innovative stuff out of this program and maybe the rest of us will be able to use it to our "departments" advantage and stop the revolving door from spinniing so rapidly.

    KB

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    MacGuyver was my nickname Senior year in high school. No one told the acquisition personnel that root (cough) beer balls needed a special tap. A quick thought about what a tap really is, a quick rummage in the garage, and VOILA: One bicycle pump and some aquarium air tubing, and Houston we no longer had a problem getting to our root (cough) beer.

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    BC sounds like your issue is retention, not recruiting.

    The national experts in recruiting and retention for public service are the National Guard/Reserves. Quite similar to our task in vol. fire service. Until the current unplesantness, the Guards accumulated decades of experince in what works and does not work. Last 18months a wrench has been thown in to the works in that mamma no longer will let Johnie join up. The college money, paycheck, etc etc was not FREE???

    Talk you local (senior/experience E7/E8) about what has worked in your area. Many areas/states of the country had growing and over strength units during the 90s because they were successful in recruiting/retention. Other areas of the nation were clueless and lost strenght and had units taken away.

    Good source of advice (vs opinions) from experience professionals. Our target market for new recruits is quite similar and having similar motivations. That the 17-20yr old are less likely to go into the Guard leaves these, public service interested, individuals available to the fire service.

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    Yep, has and probably will be a retention problem, we've identified that several times. The main reason is not a lack of service awards by any means. They are just an attempt to give people something for putting up with conditions that my professionalism prevent me from commenting on in public arenas.

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