Thread: Whining Thread

  1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Richwood, Ohio
    Posts
    235

    Angry Whining Thread

    Since there's a thread for awarded departments to celebrate, I thought it would be appropriate to have a thread for guys like me to vent our frustrations. I'm not sure it will serve any useful purpose, other than give us a chance to blow off steam. I know there have been some similar threads in the past (like the "you've got to be kidding" thread), but they always seem to go off on a tangent like griping about grant writers. My hope is that this thread will focus on departments with stories similar to mine. I'm just curious how many of us are in the same situation.

    Mine is one of those lucky departments who have applied every year, have never been awarded, and have watched while our wealthier, better-equipped neighbors are getting all the $$$. Of course I may be jumping the gun, since we haven't gotten our "Dear John" yet this year, but I expect it won't be long until it arrives. I've heard that two of my neighboring department who were awarded megabucks for vehicles last year have already received their 10 questions for the 2005 grant (I think they're both getting exhaust sucker-outer systems for their nice new trucks).

    I am a regular reader of this forum. There are many helpful suggestions here, and we've tried them all, but so far no luck. I guess we'll just have to stop asking for what we need (a pumper) and focus on something truely important like an exhaust sucker-outer or some workout equipment (that's sarcasm, in case you didn't notice).

    Anyway, thanks for letting me rant. Feel free to join me, if you think it'll make you feel better.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    76

    Default Whining!

    Get a grant writer....it helps trust me!

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    1

    Default

    While I am not whining, I can not understand the way things are being done. To give you an example, last year a department in my town put in and won a new utility/brush vehicle. The department on the other side of town put in and won a grant for new SCBAs and other safety equipment. In my opinion good uses of the grant. This year in round 2 the department on the other side of town now gets a brush vehicle. Mind you, these departments go mutual aid to each other and the second grant is just a duplication of a resources.

    It has also been brought to my attention that there is a large amount of money sitting in a capital reserve fund. My question is why!!! It just does not make sense to me.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    EastKyFF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    3,082

    Default

    A couple of things:

    First, Chief310, just because others are receiving 10Q's/1199a's does NOT mean that those who haven't are out. It may not be the same this year, but I have had grants in previous years get down to mid- or late-February before finally being turned down. There is still a LOT of time left.

    And second, Fairview, having a mutual aid agreement with somebody who has a brush truck doesn't mean you don't need one of your own. With the exception of an aerial, nobody in our MA agreement has anything we don't already have ourselves. Sometimes you just need more of them.

    And finally, also to Fairview, the only fund the money might be sitting in is the one from which it's doled out. All the money has been accounted for through grants and reasonable administrative expenses, ever since the program's inception. Lots of that info available on the web.

    Remember...

    Until they say you're out, you're still in!
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    --General James Mattis, USMC


  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Richwood, Ohio
    Posts
    235

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by firegod101
    Get a grant writer....it helps trust me!
    Got one! Still no luck.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,678

    Default

    The only thing that upsets me (and does not seem to happen as much anymore) is a department getting money for physical fitness equipment while other departments are needing BASIC FIREFIGHTING EQUIPMENT. Sorry, but you can jog around the block, climb up and down a flight of stairs, do pushups/situps without any equipment.
    "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?

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Richwood, Ohio
    Posts
    235

    Default

    East Ky:

    I know it's not over until the fat lady sings, but our history of being turned down every time while other, better equipped departments get grant after grant has turned me into a bit of a pessimist.

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Richwood, Ohio
    Posts
    235

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    The only thing that upsets me (and does not seem to happen as much anymore) is a department getting money for physical fitness equipment while other departments are needing BASIC FIREFIGHTING EQUIPMENT. Sorry, but you can jog around the block, climb up and down a flight of stairs, do pushups/situps without any equipment.
    Amen brother!

    To quote another post from last year, the feds shouldn't be spending money to buy workout equipment as long as there are departments out there getting their exercise by push-starting their worn out fire trucks.

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ameryfd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    598

    Default

    I don't want to be argumentative here....but...... (we beat the Physical Fitness equipment issue to death a while back).......IMO , considering there are several times more deaths each year of Firefighters due to heart attacks than burns or smoke inhalation, it would seem to me that a wellness and fitness program IS basic firefighting. Look at the mission of the grant, to decrease the dangers and increase the safety of firefighters......seems to me you can have all the new SCBA and PPE in the world and it does not a single bit of good if your FF is keeling over from a heart attack while running to the truck. Worse yet, it seems to me that a two-person interior team outfitted with the best PPE in the world is actually in GREATER danger when one of the FF on the team has a heart attack while pulling the hose inside the building....

    Look, I'm not saying that Wellness and Fitness is more important than PPE or anything.....what I am saying is that in many cases it IS as important.

    Remember--with PT equipment also comes the FULL WELLNESS program. The AFG doesn't just hand out treadmills to anyone....the narrative and program must be complete including medical screening, immunization, fitness standards and more. It DIRECTLY is aimed at combating the #1 killer of firefighters.

    Regarding the often used argument....well you can walk around the block for your fitness training.....yep you sure can.....but you can also put out a fire with a garden hose......not a smart, safe nor effieient way to do it though.

    I understand the frustration of not getting a grant...BUT in 99% of the cases grant denial has nothing to do with why someone else was successful...it has to do with why you were not.

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Richwood, Ohio
    Posts
    235

    Default

    Amery, I think you're absolutely correct in everything you've written. Fitness and wellness programs ARE as imporant as PPE. I'm sure there is some reason why we haven't been chosen, I'd just like for someone to tell me what it is. FEMA sure won't. Instead, we just keep wasting our time and resources writing grant proposals that go nowhere while we could be walking around the block and training with our garden hoses.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Linwood, NC
    Posts
    469

    Default

    Chief,
    As someone who has written grants since the 90's and worked on AFG since the beginning, let me make a few suggestions:
    -When I begin working with a department that I have not worked with (but has written their own) I evaluate several things that you probably usually wouldn't think of looking at - your application - Q & A

    There are tons of mistakes departments often make in there on simple things, and often just answer the same way year after year.

    When I sit down with them and look over it, and start really hashing out the questions...sometimes the tiniest thing that a department interprets one way, they really should be answering another.

    For instance, there is a FD close by, that had applied on their own last year for funding. They were DJ'd. I worked with them in the off season, we really pored over the questions/application (in addition to me totally re-writing the narrative) and they were funded first round this year.

    Sometimes, everyone gets hung up on a great narrative (which is very good to have - and I believe strongly in them!) but don't forget those application questions. Can't just off the cuff with 'em...it will bite ya in the you know where if you do!

    By the way, Chief, if you don't mind my asking...when did you receive your DJ's?
    Alana Tomlin Denton
    Freelance Grant Writer/Consultant

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    1,419

    Default

    Alana speaks wisdom. Our guys were 0 for 3. I decided to give it a try, and started late by going to an AFG seminar on Valentine's Day. A few weeks later, as i was reviewing prior applications, i discovered that our entire township budget had been included in the past instead of the FD budget--huge difference. There were a few other little items.

    Odd thing, even by reporting more than three times the budget the in 2004, the application made it through the computer for a brush truck. DJ'ed at peer review on a very thin narrative. Had the narrative been average or a little better, we may have made it anyway. Go figure.

    No announcement yet, but we've gotten 1199 and 10Q's.
    earl

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Linwood, NC
    Posts
    469

    Default

    Thanks, Earl...I've seen everything from incorrect number of paid personnel (if you have the split schedules pt - shouldn't count them as FT) to similar budget issues as the one you've mentioned.

    In order to be really prepared for the AFG, I recommed that you print out last years AFG (2005) and pour over those Questions. If you don't understand something, Ask. If you aren't sure what they're really asking, or if you're properly recording something please double and triple check in the "off-season".

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Out and About
    Posts
    954

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief310
    Since there's a thread for awarded departments to celebrate, I thought it would be appropriate to have a thread for guys like me to vent our frustrations. I'm not sure it will serve any useful purpose, other than give us a chance to blow off steam. I know there have been some similar threads in the past (like the "you've got to be kidding" thread), but they always seem to go off on a tangent like griping about grant writers. My hope is that this thread will focus on departments with stories similar to mine. I'm just curious how many of us are in the same situation.
    We were in the same boat as you. Prior to this year we applied 4 times and got rejected 4 times. We watched departments with 1+ million dollar budgets (paid-on-call departments, hence most of the money for equipment) get 50k,100k,200k of money. Our biggest problem was we never had anyone actually study the guidance documents. The answers to our questions were bad, our narratives did not address the proper issues. I did some extensive research and studying. With help of another departments fire chief we were awarded $86k for new SCBA and Compressor this year.

  15. #15
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    To bolster the 'Off-season" part of it, that means that the 2006 application work is happening now, not later. The sooner you start working on your assessments, research, and hit some educational-type spots (on the Internet or in person), the better your chances. Note I'm not saying you'll guarantee yourself a win, no one can pull that off. But you'll have the best chance at solving your problem, which is all you can do in a competetive situation such as this. Most mistakes made are done in picking the wrong solution for the right problem, or the wrong solution for the wrong problem. You certainly can still pick the right solution for the right problem as still be denied, that's what competition is all about. The idea is to keep trying, and if the problem isn't getting solved in the AFG, there are other avenues to follow. You just have to keep an open mind and keep trying.

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,678

    Default

    Personally, I'd be happy getting past the computer scoring.
    "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?

  17. #17
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Talking And...................

    To all of you folks who worked your butts off, did everything right, and got your grant, Congratulations. Now, please Leave the rest of us alone. This is America. WE HAVE A RIGHT TO WHINE! Thank You. Now, down to business. We have submitted a request every year, and we have not been funded yet. Each year, I become more convinced that this is a waste of time, that if you only need one thing, then there's no point in going after it. Our need is a replacement Heavy Rescue. We do not need exercise equipment, Fire Prevention material, Exhaust Suckers, (Side note, is an Exhaust Sucker anything like a Dark Sucker?) and other stuff. Vehicles should come first, Equipment second, and no third. I have a problem with funding exercise equipment when people who need apparatus aren't getting it. I attened a VIP Course at the National Fire Academy a few years ago, and, like everyone there, got to talking shop with a Chief from West Texas. He told me about a small rural area west of him, where the Fire Station was a 2 car Wood Frame garage with a gravel floor, and the apparatus "Fleet" was Two F250 4X4 Pickups with skid tanks. This is just plain Wrong. I wrote several congressmen about this last year and their office replied with the standard "we'll look into it" form letters. I remain totally in favor of a 1 Billion per year Grant Fund, restricted to Apparatus and Equipment only. This would not solve all problems, but the poorest would certainly be helped much more than now.
    Last edited by hwoods; 09-08-2005 at 10:05 AM.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  18. #18
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    But I don't wanna! You can't make me! Are we there yet?! I have to go to the bathroom!

    And that's just me, I hope my kid isn't that bad.

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Willington F.D., CT
    Posts
    141

    Default

    We are batting 2/4 so far with the AFG grants and are hopefull this year since we received our 10 questions a week ago.

    The 1st year, I applied for SCBA upgrade and did NOT get it. The second year I did. The difference? My narrative was simply much, much better written. Many hours were spent reading other departments narratives (thanks to everyone who has shared!), all of the guidance documents and tutorials. Most narratives where well written, but some were just terrible. Hopefully I learned from the good as well as the bad.

    I also attended a grant writing workshop and went to a meeting where a peer reviewer explained the process from the FEMA side of things. Every single word of the narrative was scrutinized. In the end, I made a better argument to get what we were requesting.

    Free money is never free. You have to work at it. And sometimes you just have to be lucky as well.

  20. #20
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Smile That Too.............

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    We are batting 2/4 so far with the AFG grants and are hopefull this year since we received our 10 questions a week ago.

    The 1st year, I applied for SCBA upgrade and did NOT get it. The second year I did. The difference? My narrative was simply much, much better written. Many hours were spent reading other departments narratives (thanks to everyone who has shared!), all of the guidance documents and tutorials. Most narratives where well written, but some were just terrible. Hopefully I learned from the good as well as the bad.

    I also attended a grant writing workshop and went to a meeting where a peer reviewer explained the process from the FEMA side of things. Every single word of the narrative was scrutinized. In the end, I made a better argument to get what we were requesting.

    Free money is never free. You have to work at it. And sometimes you just have to be lucky as well.
    Stu, Thanks for posting. We pretty much did the same things that you have mentioned. Our grant application was reviewed by several people who wrote successful applications and they all said they did not see why we were not funded. One guy asked "What politician did you pee off?" He was of the opinion our request should have been funded ahead of his. 2 of the folks who said we had done things right were Peer Reviewers from the previous year. So, we don't know where to go.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  21. #21
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    Problem is Harvey, you can't take your application at face value when trying to say it should have been funded. Why? Competition, it's as simple as that. Heavy Rescues are a Priority 2 truck, and there are too many Priority 1 requests. Part of the argument for that is the job of a heavy rescue (carry tools and cascade) can be done by other trucks. Plus, if you bought a new truck within the past 5 years, and all of your frontline trucks are less than 20 years old, any vehicle app is more than a long shot. The argument that they use is, if you needed the heavy rescue that badly, why didn't you buy it instead of the one you bought in ####? Those are the kind of arguments you have to overcome if you even make it to Peer Review. If you don't make it to Peer Review, 90% of the time that means that the project didn't meet the highest priorities, and I don't think Priority 2 trucks will do that for a few years.

    I said it in another thread, our heavy rescue award in 2002 was the last Priority 2 award given out, and it will probably be the last until 2010. There were 6,818 vehicle apps this year. In 2002, close to 7,000, 2003 around 5,800, and 2004 around 6,400. So even though they're giving out 1,000 trucks a year on average, thousands more jump into the vehicle category every year, and close to 3/4s of those are asking for Priority 1 trucks. That knocks P2 trucks off the scoring chart from the beginning.

    Personally, your best bet would be to slap a 1000gpm pump and 500 gal tank on that truck to make it a Priority 1 app as a rescue/pumper. A rearmount with a rescue body for all of the goodies. But depending on the rest of your vehicle inventory, you still may not make it far doing that either.

    I'm just throwing ideas for brainstorming, not trying to knock the application or belittle your need. Shoot me an email, I think I have another solution to help you out.

    - Brian
    Last edited by BC79er; 09-08-2005 at 10:39 AM.

  22. #22
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Richwood, Ohio
    Posts
    235

    Default

    Alana:

    I can't remember exactly what month we received our DJs (I don't have the files with me), but the first year we applied for a pumper (our most pressing need) and were cut by peer review. The second time, with a very similar request, we were cut by the computer. Since we seemed to be headed in the wrong direction, we switched gears and tried for SCBAs the following year and were turned down by the computer again. This year, we are involved in a cooperative request for SCBA with the rest of the departments in our county and again requested a grant for a truck on our own. Still waiting on those DJs.

    I've read your many contributions to this thread and have taken all of your suggestions to heart. I have had a grant professional assist with our application to check for those mistakes you were talking about, so we'll see what happens. I'm not getting my hopes up.

  23. #23
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Richwood, Ohio
    Posts
    235

    Default

    BC: Thanks for all the help and suggestions that you've made in this forum. I've pretty much tried them all, but still no luck. Keep it coming, and I'll keep trying. Also, I hope you and others aren't too offended by my whining. I find it very therapeutic to have the opportunity to blow off a little steam. It helps me maintain whatever sanity I may have left.

    Woods: It sounds like my situation is exactly like yours, except my vehicle requests have always been for priority 1 trucks. I've had similarly qualified people look over my proposals and gotten the same response: They couldn't figure out why we didn't get funded.

    I absolutely agree with you that FEMA should focus their attention. I suggest that they should decide on a single priority item (be it pumpers, PPE, SCBAs, TIC, whatever) and make sure every department in the country has that priority item, and then move on to another. For example, if someone in Emmitsburg decides that the 1st priority should be Thermal Imaging Cameras, then they should fund TICs until every department in the country has a minimum number of those devices (1 per company, 1 per station, 1 per department, whatever the standard is). If the priority is PPE, then they should fund PPE until every firefighter in America has a complete set of compliant gear. If the priority is health/wellness/fitness, then they should fund those projects until every station in the country has one. The way the system is designed now, departments that have class A fleets, excellent PPE & SCBA and TICs out the butt are being funded for exhaust suckers & fitness programs while departments with crappy apparatus, non-complaint gear, absolutely no TICs, are being turned down for these basic items. Not only that, but they're also breathing exhaust while they're getting their exercise by push-starting their crappy old trucks.
    Last edited by Chief310; 09-08-2005 at 01:29 PM.

  24. #24
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    This year, we are involved in a cooperative request for SCBA with the rest of the departments in our county and again requested a grant for a truck on our own.
    DHS reps said this was the fastest way to get a denial on your own app, requesting another, more expensive project while being part of a regional app. Especially if requesting a truck on your own app. I see the regional SCBA getting good scores and passing the computer, but I don't think the truck will make it.

    For your sake, I hope I'm wrong, I like seeing awards not DJs. I'm not here to bring doom and gloom, just keeping it real.

  25. #25
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    BC: Thanks for all the help and suggestions that you've made in this forum. I've pretty much tried them all, but still no luck. Keep it coming, and I'll keep trying. Also, I hope you and others aren't too offended by my whining. I find it very therapeutic to have the opportunity to blow off a little steam. It helps me maintain whatever sanity I may have left.
    Glad to be of help. And I'm not offended in the least. I don't consider this a whining thread anyway. Constructive criticism is always good, that's how things get improved.

    I'm glad you have sanity, I can't even remember when I lost mine let alone where.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. New Thread vs. New Reply
    By FFTide in forum Firehouse.Com Site Comments
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-05-2005, 01:13 PM
  2. Celebration Thread...
    By BC79er_OLDDELETE in forum Federal FIRE ACT Grants & Funding
    Replies: 91
    Last Post: 07-28-2004, 12:52 PM
  3. New Thread Button
    By N2DFire in forum Firehouse.Com Site Comments
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-15-2004, 08:54 PM
  4. American hydrant thread name
    By BryanLoader in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-08-2003, 01:00 PM
  5. When to close a thread!?!?
    By gfdtrk4 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 01-26-2002, 11:18 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register