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    Thumbs down Modification of Facilities?????????????????

    Noticed out of Round Thirteens 45 awards that 19 of them or 42% was to modify facilities. Can anyone out there give me their wisdom on how they rated higher than PPE or SCBA's, especially when the only thing asked for was the modification within the grant. If the modification was asked for along with other high priority and high dollar items, I could possibly see it be awarded, as the overall score would be pulled up by the higher priority items. How in most cases did the modification of facilities by theirself ever get past the computer grading to even make into peer review, let alone be awarded. Sorry but I as many feel that PPE & SCBA's rate higher than modification of facilities, wellness and fitness, or even trucks! Just my 2 cent worth!

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    The only thing that mattered was their expression of "need". A vehicle exhaust system, a wellness & fitness room, modifying a bay to house a new piece of apparatus all are things that can have relevance. Without looking at the individual applications it would be hard for most to pass judgement on the meriti of their applciations but obviously, at least two of your peers agreed that it needed to be funded or they wold not have recieved an award.

    Modifications, although not as frequently funded as PPE, are still nonetheless needed and can be considered in the best interest of health and safety of the individual fireifighter, which meets the programs priorities.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Kurt.
    I don't disagree with anything you've said, but didn't you first have to scored by the computer, that's where the sticking point with me is! Extra points should not have been garnished by the questions, such as will this grant benefit more than one organization? How can adding on to your facility help another dept.? On the other hand if SCBA's are used off of your rigs along with other equipment because you are the host dept. for training classes to get firefighters in the three county area state certified, then extra points could possible be applied. I'm just trying to understand how so many got out of the computer scoring stage as SCBA's and PPE was suppose to be of a higher priority and got flushed!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by fireman601; 11-27-2005 at 07:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireman601
    Kurt.
    I don't disagree with anything you've said, but didn't you first have to scored by the computer, that's where the sticking point with me is! Extra points should not have been garnished by the questions, such as will this grant benefit more than one organization? How can adding on to your facility help another dept.? On the other hand if SCBA's are used off of your rigs along with other equipment because you are the host dept. for training classes to get firefighters in the three county area state certified, then extra points could possible be applied. I'm just trying to understand how so many got out of the computer scoring stage as SCBA's and PPE was suppose to be of a higher priority and got flushed!!!!!!!!!!
    Let me jump in, if those FD's SCBA's & PPE scores were lower than the modification, there is no argument here. Also, the Program Guideline states the

    ..."The stated purpose of this grant program is to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighters. As such...we believe that each of the eligible measures, if incorporated, would make any facility safer for firefighters." (2005 Program Guidelines pg. 20 - top of page)

    The discussion in the paragraph of the PG is referring to the eligible measures of: installing sprinklers, vehicle exhaust removal systems, installation of smoke/fire alarm notification systems, and installation of emergency generators.

    I have worked on several of the above mentioned projects that have been awarded in previous rounds (and previous years) both as stand alone projects and attached to PPE and other items you deem more necessary. I am not going to get into an argument about what is more necessary a project.

    Let me throw this out at ya, though, if they didn't think these were worthy projects, they wouldn't be in the PG to start with (#1 argument), also, if you had to sleep in a station in quarters above toxic exhaust and run 3000+ calls a year (as some depts.) and were breathing cancer causing agents, and there was something out there your town or FD could do (although they couldn't afford it...) wouldn't you want them to apply? (argument #2), Emergency generators are a necessity in parts of the country where storms are a way of life. These generators often cost $20K or more to run a station - fully power a station. I'm talking raise the doors, run the radios, be able to run the station, keep the guys fed, while they were on shift (or volunteering, depending where you're at)...Maybe you're FD is an emergency shelter, but has no back-up generator. That's bad news. Or a generator that can't power anything (arg. #3).

    Those are all realistic situations FD's I know have found themselves in. Like I said, there's a reason it's in there. You're FD's need may be for PPE and SCBA. And, that is probably why more of those are written by myself (and I would hazard a guess that Brian and Kurt are in the same boat). But, that doesn't mean that the other requests aren't as needed or as important. This is also why they don't force you to apply for one thing.

    Until you have talked to folks that have been to peer or conversed with FDs from ALL over the US with all different needs and budget situations, just try to think about it from their stand point. Also, remember, these were funded pretty late in the rounds.

    They had the same chance to wow the peer panelist the guys with the PPE/SCBA apps did. Some did 'wow 'em' and some didn't. But, remember, everyone, can not be funded in a single year. There is simply not that kind of funds to go around. So, there has to be some way to weed out...I don't think it's the 'request' of a modification to facilities. Now, vehicle aquisition, yes, perhaps. But, exhaust removal or sprinklers, not likely. Just my opinion.
    Last edited by dixiechicknc; 11-27-2005 at 09:58 PM.

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    Dixie,
    You've added some light to some areas of the modifications but on the other end you guys keep beating a dead horse about their needs. My arguement isn't whether they need modifications more than the SCBA's or PPE or even which one is more important, that is based on each departments individual needs at any specific time. I just somehow can't conceive how so many modification of facilities got past the computer grading and so many SCBA's and PPE didn't, especially when it's stated what the higher priorities will be. You state until I sit on a peer review or talk to other firefighters, well I know every fire chief in a 5 county area good enough to call them by first name. I am more than some what offended in your statement they don't force me to apply, I merely wanted some imput about the computer grading and you keep jumping to peer review, and then try to beat the drum. Everybody on here can play out different scenerios and what ifs all day long. I've wrote two grants, one for my dept. and another for a neighboring dept. that got funded.

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    You misunderstood my intentions...they weren't to put down your own situation or lack of experience in the least. In actuality, what I mentioned, or was trying to explain was reasons to justify WHY FDs apply for modifications and why it's in the PG. Also with the large amount of modifications coming in a lump here late in the rounds, it becomes evident that a stand alone modification wasn't as high a priority as a PPE might have been.

    Also, alot of the computer scoring weighs heavily on your FD's statistics when weighed in with your request in both the item requested and the dollar amount.

    The statement about looking at FD's all over the US and such certainly wasn't a knock JUST in your direction, I hear this all the time. I didn't say a word about anyone forcing you to apply...my statement was that they don't FORCE us to apply for a certain category...hence the reason there are multiple choices.

    My own volunteer FD is certainly not a prime candidate to meet the guideline specifications for the exhaust removal systems, so not a good match...although, we have successfully applied and been awarded a fixed station generator.

    That was my only intention on that comment. I work with other grant programs, and other organizations, than just FDs, although I work primarily with Fire Departments and Fire Organizations. Some grants force certain types of orgs. to apply for certain equip, or whatever. We are fortunate to have a grant that allows you and your FD (and my own FD and others) to work up a project that fits the needs of your FD best. Not what the 'government' thinks is 'best' for your FD. That's why this is truly my favorite grant and the best I have ever had the privilege to be involved with. Nothing towards you in the least...

    PS: Sorry for beating a dead horse...thought he'd take me for a ride!
    Alana Tomlin Denton
    Freelance Grant Writer/Consultant

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    Dixie,
    I'm always looking for good information, I have a tendency to always ask why or why not. I plan on attending another grant workshop for next years grant, just to make sure of any changes or of any information I may have missed.

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    Do you go to DHS' Workshop or others? Just curious... (I go to at least one or two every yr. myself...)

    Oh, and meant to add congrats on the success of your two grants.

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    [QUOTE=fireman601]
    How can adding on to your facility help another dept.? QUOTE]

    We were funded in the 2003 program for a sprinkler and alarm system under modification of facilities. Benefits to other departments were stated as follows:
    We run automatic mutual aid on all structure fire calls with 4 other Departments in the County and mutual aid when requested with 2 other Departments in the County. These 6 Departments plus our own Department cover over 95% of the people in the County. The installation of a sprinkler system and alarm system in our station will prevent a catastrophic loss of our apparatus and equipment. Protection of our apparatus and equipment benefits the other County Departments by ensuring that we are able to continue providing mutual aid to them. It further benefits them by not depleting their resources to cover for us because we lost our apparatus and equipment due to fire.

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    I guess if you can connect the dots you can make it work.

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    Dixie,
    Attended 3 DHS workshops. Neighboring chief and myself take turns driving as drive is usually 70-120 miles North or 100 miles in the East St. Louis area. We live right dab in the middle of no where, (makes it hard to give directions sometimes).

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    There are other workshops out there besides the DHS, although I receommend going to those as well. Problem with DHS is that it's to let folks know of updates to the Program & guideline changes. Nothing more. I see alot of my clients who have attended thinking they will be taught to write a narrative or taught 'secrets'. Which, unfortunately, can't happen in 1 1/2 or 2 hours.

    I drove out of state for a DHS workshop this year, as I didn't prefer the presenters/speakers in my state. Then, for the additional info, this year, I haven't been to any AFG workshops, but have been to so many other grant workshops, can't count any longer!

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    To avoid beating the dead horse, I'll keep it to the need statement: too many applying for SCBA and PPE rest on the laurels that they are high priority items and don't need to do anything but ask for them and think they'll be awarded. So many, many, many SCBA & PPE apps were scored very poorly in PR because they didn't do what was asked. It doesn't matter what you want, if you don't provide the info that is asked for, you're not getting anything. Many folks apply for PPE and can't show need because they have too much extra in the budget, and many even have 5 trucks newer than 10 years old. You have to remember that actions speak louder than words, so if you buy a lot of new trucks, it's kinda hard to explain why you did that instead of keeping your FFs in safe PPE with that available money. With the average truck costing $150K, that's at least 75 sets of gear. I'm not saying question your actions, but just remember that PR will question your actions, so it's not just about hitting the PG requirements, it's about answering the questions that reading your app will pop up when someone else reads it. The "why did they do that" questions are the killers. Those are the ones that you need to address to prove need.

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    Brian,
    I am usually the grant writer for our dept. At first I as the chief of the dept. ask for opinions from the officers, we sit down and go over the program guidance and decide what our needs are and go from there. A rough narrative is written and then we meet again to more or less tweak, add or remove parts.
    I like this forum as the majority of the information posted is right on target.

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    What a minute: what are you doing making sense? And following a good process? You'll never get anywhere doing things properly.

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    Brian perhapd fieman601 needs some of your information on the algorithms used by the computer in the scoring process. I think that is where he is driving at or wants input. He understands the process, he just does not understand the "weighting" of the computer scoring.
    Kurt Bradley
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    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Kurt,
    And from the back of the room someone yells, BINGO!!!!!!!

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    If I had a few weeks to type out all of the ifs that the software has I could probably clear up quite a bit. And then like Tom Clancy after he published The Hunt for Red October, I'd probably get a visit from some dark-suited people wondering how I came up with that...

    One of the scariest phrases ever heard: "We're from the government and we're here to help."

    Anywho, like some others posted before, scoring depends on many, many, many factors. Certainly having 24/7 inhabitants is a priority for backup generators and exhaust systems. So is being a public shelter during severe weather, the communications center for the area, etc, etc. Where there are higher populations and call volumes, these projects can end up with a higher score than a low volume department asking for PPE. With more people to benefit, it is very possible this happens all of the time.

    The most difficult part about the scoring is that it truly is comparing apples and oranges, or any other fruits and vegetables of your choice. You really have to remove yourself from your local situation to see how these puzzle pieces fit together. All I can really say is it takes lots of time invested in analysis (continually) and lots of shades of gray.

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    .... and then of course there is the logic that if WE had all the answers ,every one of our clients would actually have been funded too! The process is very subjective and complicated. I defer to the computer brainiacs out there who know how to spell "algorithms" let alone, tell me what that is, or what it does. LOL!
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    If you guys ever get tired of writing grants, you could probably get a job writing comedy. Some of the cracks you guys post have me laughing my @$$ off.

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    The ability to laugh at yourself and also to enjoy the irony of situations in life is a trait that all good grant consultants ( and probabaly a few Fire Chiefs)need to have and should excercise freely. It is either that, or constant crying and bellyaching; the latter being a sure fire way to a prescription for Nexium and Valium or is that the other way around? Wait, I have to look at this bottle! Oh,my mistake this is Jack Daniels. AHHHHH! relief is just a good swig away!
    Kurt Bradley
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    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Thought about it, but since I like to eat and my mortgage company likes to get paid, I'll have to wait until I'm independently wealthy to try that pursuit. Since they took Last Comic Standing off the air, I'd say my chances are even more slim of the latter happening. And since I'm tone deaf and have self-respect American Idol is out along with nearly every other reality show for that matter. I did have an app ready for The Apprentice but missed the deadline.

    I must admit I was on my way to being on one reality show though, but they decided not to do a US version. Was down to the last 50 for a Rally Racer show and was supposed to go to Florida for the final interviews but since rally racing isn't popular in the US, they dropped the idea. Details. Would have been neat, 16 contestants racing weekly with eliminations, and last driver left got their own Rally team and traveled on the tour for a year.

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    ....and your wife lets you do those things? Wow, and I thought I was the only one with "strange hobbies". I think I'll stick to the karaoke stage, thank you!
    Kurt Bradley
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    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Hey if there's prize money to be made and she thinks I could do it I'll get hand prints in my back from her pushing me out the door. College is expensive, and with the kid being 18.5 years away from getting to one, it will be even worse then. Which is why I'm hoping for the full athletic ride scholarship. I'm still saving up for it, but if the kids get scholarships Daddy can blow the savings on his mid-life crisis classic 57 Corvette Convertible.

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    Hey, been there, done that. The "better half" is who pushed me onto the first karaoke stage and she is always putting me into contests all over the place. Of course , it has paid off with several nice cruises and some rather expensive new "bling" for her ( yea, alright I bought my hunting ATV too with it). Has me worried though, I saw a slip for an appointment at the " Nip & Tuck" place with a $20K price tag attached to it. I have a feeling that her middle age crisis is about to begin. Guess I better start planning a seminar in Nashville and get into one of those high dollar contests. If this "Goodyear" was not around my waistline and the "Grecian Formula" lasted longer maybe a run at "American Idol". " Biggest Loser" came on after the gastric by-bass so that is out the door too! I have come to the realization that "reality shows" are still not "reality", otherwise they would have something for us geezers to do. Hey, maybe I hit on something there. "Hello, Dick Clark; how about "American Bandstand -Geezer Edition"! LOL!
    Kurt Bradley
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