1. #1
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    Default Competitive Bids

    We've dealt with this on the fourm before, but not quite this issue. We got our $140,000 for a Fireground Communications/Accountability System. Motorola is the only company in the nation that puts this system out. (It's really impressive). Anyway, from what I understand, there are only two Motorola dealers in our area that deals with this system. (There are less than a handful that have been sold nationally becuase it's so new). The other Motorola distributer in our area actually get's thier stuff from the other one who is the main supplier.

    Anyway,how do I go about getting more than 1 bid for the system? I can get a bid from both Motorola dealers, but it will be for the exact same price since the second dealer get's all thier stuff from the first dealer....

    Do I still need to go through the motions or will one quote do?

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    Put an invitation to Bid in the Biggest newspaper in you area, alot of dealers have subscriptions to paper readers and you will get bids from all over the country.

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    You advertise for bids (make sure your specs reflect the system you're after), and whatever bids you get, you get. All you can do is request bids; if you only get one response, that's beyond your control, so you should be good to go.

    You may only get one Motorola bid. Parent companies often internally prohibit their dealers from bidding inside another dealer's company assigned sales district.
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    We've read some on a system called T-Pass 3 from Grace Industries (maybe?). Might be an alternate consideration. I've not seen Motorola's system to know if they are in the same league.

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    As Steamer mentioned, there will be agreements against dealers bidding against each other. If there is only one supplier of a piece of equipment, then there is no real expectation of receiving more than one bid, because it's impossible. Call and explain it to the grant administrator listed in your award letter. Odds are they'll say don't worry about it, just go get it.

    Grace is different than the Motorola system, we looked at both and applied for the Grace. More FF proof according to the group that looked at it, plus everyone around us that we usually M/A with has it already.

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    Default Accountability System

    Just an FYI their are some serious issues with the Mot Accountability and even their tech at FDIC admited it. The other problems are that when people switch radios or the batteries are dead you loose accountability for that person.
    I had some depts that have looked at it but they backed out when they really reasearched it. They went witht the Fire-Trax I think accountabiltiy system it dosen't require radios and works off the basic dog tag ID system and then you purchase Pocket PC's Much cheaper and more scalable from what they said.

    Just a thought

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    BCer, your opinion on that Grace system sure makes me feel better about our application. The other departments we called who already had it really liked it too.

    Mutual aid and scalability are big issues in accountability, with or without NIMS requirements. Part of our narrative in requesting the Grace system dealt with how after three years of our county trying to agree on a single system, we're no farther along. Once we get ours on the fireground (stying positive here, my name isn't John and i'm no Dear), our hope is that we will be able to demonstrate a system that will work county-wide and encourage a regional application in 2006.

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    Makes sense to me on the advertising of bids. Brian...where can I find the info on Grace? The grant was written with a need for accountability and communications, so we really need a system that encompasses both. I've heard some of the tech issues regarding Motorola, but the few FD's I talked to that had it were happy, and I think it's like anyother new thing....always some bugs in the system that need to be worked out...anyway, I wouldn't mind checking out the grace system just to explore all options......$$$ is already burning a hole in my pocket.

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    Their web site is here:
    http://www.gracesales.com/
    The T-Pass 3 does not support voice communications, but does allow for two way signalling. Good luck.

    With pockets not yet burning,
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    Our dept looked at the Grace Sysetm, but it didn't really meet our requirements for accountability. It did provide a great solution for Evacuate but we want more than that. We went with Salamander Technologies www.salamandertechnologies.com Products which provide us with the basic two tag system then we bought the PDA to track our people on the scene and provide their qualifications and medical information. The PDA's also gave interoperal communcation thru voice over IP. The PDA's then would Transmit data to the Command Post or IC that show all activity on the incident. Such as who all was in staging, Sector A, Rehab, etc. This would allow IC to make good decision on Resource Management along with keeping accountabilty of the incident. Their system also allowed us to credential responders on scene for mutual aid events and didn't require any additional equipment such as the Grace System does. We like at the end of the incident you could print out all your reports on people and equipment for the incident and also use the NIFIRS information...Their are many great system out there but that's my two cent's worth....Any good luck to all have won!!!!

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    We checked the others, but since I haven't seen a firefighter proofed PDA, we figured that would be a constant re-buy after each fire. We spec'd Toughbooks working with the software to monitor the T3's. Less to wander around the fireground, less people handling small items. And it's not just other people, I haven't bought myself a Pocket PC because I'm afraid of sitting on my $500. At some point I'll get one, I can write software for the things, might as well be able to make my own stuff.

    Just remember: Friends don't let friends use Palm.

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    Sorry I miss spoke we have the PDA aka Pocket PC Symbol 8146 and MC9000 Ruggardized devices and they will not break our have been around the world an back without having any problems. We do have a MC50 at our command post that I only use.

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