1. #1
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    Default Questions on Leftover Grant Money

    My department received money in this years grant for new SCBA's. It appears that we will have a significant amount of money left over ($10-$20K). My understanding is that you can use up to $5K on items in the same catagory. Anything more can be used for Fire Prevention or given back. I have read the grant rules over and over again and keep seeing it the same way. I have a vendor that came in and said that there is no limit on what we can do with the money. We are looking at adding a filling station for our new SCBA bottles with no compressor. Can anyone help me out here?

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    After buying our SCBAs we spent the excess funds on flashlights for the SCBAs, handheld & mobile radios. Just sent in for and amendment to our grant.

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    You are reading the PG correctly. Excess funds up to $5000 can be spent in the same catergory. Over $5000 must go to an approved fire prevention program.

    If the cascade bottles cost $5000 or less, it should not be an issue. Send an amendment or talk to your program specialist on what you are doing. This provides documentation so if it's an issue you have the proof of approval.

    Why would you purchase cascade bottles without the compressor? You still need to fill those bottles or do you already have a means to do so?

    Be very leary of what a vendor is telling you. They are not always looking out for your best interest. He sees those extra $'s and wants it all.

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    One Bugle is exactly right, heed those words of warning on listening to the vendors. You can't just start ordering stuff with the excess funds, unless you'd like to have an investigation or some serious bad business come down...

    Your department will have to decide to either spend the remaining balance (after the $5K) on the Fire Prevention items (with your match) or send it back, so that you can either stock up on enough Fire Hats and stickers and tattoos (along with a laptop & projector and some educational DVDs and posters and maybe some software) or send it back for the next department on the list. Or, there's always the Sparky robot car, that shoots water at the kids!

    Well, to explain, it gives each department a chance to fund an underfunded line item: Fire Prevention...without forcing the departments to send the funds back. Good Luck, and maybe those kids in your district can benefit from your excess funds!
    Alana Tomlin Denton
    Freelance Grant Writer/Consultant

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    Believe me, the grant specialists will try everything to get you to spend the money rather than give it back. We let close to 16k go back because our district trustees wouldn't cough up the 10% match for fire prevention. I was asked by 3 different people at DHS "Do you want to spend it?" My only answer was "yes, but they won't let me".
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jboczek
    trustees wouldn't cough up the 10% match for fire prevention.
    Gotta love it! Penny wise and pound foolish!

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    Thanks for the input. I thought that the vendor was full of it. As far as the cascade without the compressor, there are two reasons we want to go that route. First is the liability with a compressor system. You have to have it tested and certified every year. Second is we have a county cascade truck with an onboard compressor that can come and fill up the system whenver we need it. Also, thanks for the great ideas on fire prevention items.

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    I believe it can only help your department and district's children, but know how alot of Board's and Council's are...Although, technically, they voted to meet the match earlier (in my book) and just because you got a better deal, doesn't mean the kids should loose out. Although, the loss to that district means that another department is funded later on, so I guess it's win-win...

    Although, Jack is right, the RFPS and Grants Management people hate to see the money go back. It's more paperwork on both sides for them. Think about if every one of the 5,500 departments did it, and there's only like 30-40 Specialist. So, that's why it takes a week (or month!) for Ammendement request to get answered, and then, sometimes, another week for emails to get answered, and then the phone calls aren't always returned as quickly as the FDs would like...just more work on the already overworked RFPS and GMS.

    They'd much rather see it go to good use, helping promote the prevention of fires in your district! So, my recommendation is to put on your sales person hat and really try to sell the Board or the Officers...Where else can you get that kind of influx for 10 cents on the dollar to purchase something that will last 10 years + and tell countless children something educational about fire safety?

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    I believe it can only help your department and district's children,
    Remember though, that fire prevention is more then kids. It's disabled/handicapped persons, it's college students, it's senior citizens, and it's "regular" adults etc...
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
    -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

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    I'll second that. Most adults don't have any idea what fire safety is about, so they can't ensure that their kids remember anything we teach them. I did a b-day at the station a few months ago, and when I got into changing batteries, escape routes, escape ladders, etc, etc, all I got was blank looks from the kids and the parents. While we do what we can, if the parents aren't involved, then the kids won't make any progress.

    - Brian

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