Thread: Safer Question

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    Default Safer Question

    I work at a moderate sized combo department that is a dual service (fire and ems) that does everything (haz-mat, water rescue, and even eod). We were awarded a Safer grant to hire 12 new F/F, we currently have 26 per shift FT on 3 shifts and close to 30 active vols. We run 7 ambulances, 5 engines, 2 tankers, and 2 brush trucks. Our ambulance personell have firegear (which is carried on the ambulance) and on fire scenes are used as firefighters.

    Our "grant guy" is throwing confusing stuff at us. He said that we get 4 slots per shift for a total of 12. He then says that even if we hire paramedics that they are strictly for riding the engines, which if true will P/O a bunch of paramedics that have worked long and hard "earning their bones" and training their butts off.

    The question is can folks that hired under the safer grant rotate or even be assigned to the ambulance so our experinced medics can ride the engine or are the existing medics screwed?

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    From www.firegrantsupport.com:

    Purpose of Grants

    The purpose of the SAFER grants is to award grants directly to volunteer, combination, and career fire departments to help the departments increase their cadre of firefighters. Ultimately, the goal is for SAFER grantees to enhance their ability to attain 24-hour staffing and thus assuring their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. The SAFER grants have two activities that will help grantees attain this goal: 1) hiring of firefighters and 2) recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters.

    Grant Activities

    The Hiring of Firefighters Activity involves a five-year grant to assist fire departments pay a portion of the salaries of newly hired firefighters. These newly hired positions must be in addition to authorized and funded active firefighter positions. Grantees must do everything in their power to maintain the number of authorized and funded positions as declared at the time of application PLUS the awarded new firefighter positions throughout the period of performance (five years). Grantees that fail to maintain this level of staffing risk losing all or a portion of their grant. Volunteer, combination, and non-profit career fire departments are all eligible to apply for assistance in hiring new firefighters. These grants require the awardee to match an increasing proportion of the salary over a four-year period; in the fifth year of the grant, the awardee must absorb the entire cost of any positions awarded as a result of the grant.

    The Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters Activity provides assistance to awardees for periods of up to four years. The purpose of these grants is to assist with the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. Volunteer departments, combination departments and local or statewide organizations that represent the interests of volunteer firefighters are eligible to apply for assistance under this activity.

    http://www.firegrantsupport.com/safe...q_elig.aspx#q1 -- FAQ may actually answer your question.

    I would call the grant folks directly since it does not say anything about EMS/Medic requirements. Based on the website and FAQ's, I would assume no, but you know where assuming gets you.
    Last edited by DianeC; 01-24-2006 at 10:35 AM. Reason: add clarification
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    Hopefully that's a mistype on your part about hiring paramedics and you mean paramedic-FFs. Sounds like that's the case.

    Either way, your case had to have been made on the need for additional FFs, not paramedics. So if your plea was to increase shift staffing to provide for 4 person crews, then of course you need to hire people to make 4 person firefighter crews on the suppression vehicles. I don't think there would be any problem with rotating people through the various vehicles, so a medic/FF you hired could ride the box as long as there are still 4 FFs on the engine at the same time. The goal of SAFER as mentioned was to hire FFs, so the spirit of that says to me that as long as there are 4 FFs per crew, the hired FF acts as a FF, then the actual person hired does not need to only ride the engine/ladder/rescue. But you couldn't hire a medic/FF and they only ride the ambulance. If the normal SOP is to rotate crews, then it might fly. But it also depends on what was written in the application. If it was only mentioned about adding FFs, and it was inferred that these hired folks would only be riding the engine, then that's where they must ride since you got the award on those premises. Changing now could amount to fraud.

    Hence the reason for putting everything past the FPS before hiring anyone.

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    Default Safer

    did you see the article about the town returning the $255k SAFER grant?
    from a business persepective - why devote the resources into applying if you do not have and probably can't get the matching funds? never mind the fact that another dept. that probably had the funds was told no.......

    article states the they have "deobligated" themselves from grant acceptance so that they remain eligible for future grants. what guarantee can they offer that the same thing will not happen in the future? this shoudl be like credit ratings...you have to go a long way to clean it up....

    just venting - my business background coming out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonyg26
    did you see the article about the town returning the $255k SAFER grant?
    from a business persepective - why devote the resources into applying if you do not have and probably can't get the matching funds? never mind the fact that another dept. that probably had the funds was told no.......

    article states the they have "deobligated" themselves from grant acceptance so that they remain eligible for future grants. what guarantee can they offer that the same thing will not happen in the future? this shoudl be like credit ratings...you have to go a long way to clean it up....

    just venting - my business background coming out.

    They probably didn't get approval from the City Manager and Council before pushing the submit button and they could not commit to the increasing matching rquirement which is why I pounded people to have a "local resolution" passed and include that information in their narrative to show the "committment of local goverment" to the requirments of the grant program. This is alo mentioned quite prominently in this years workshop presentation as well ;so DHS is serious about this.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er
    Hopefully that's a mistype on your part about hiring paramedics and you mean paramedic-FFs. Sounds like that's the case.

    Either way, your case had to have been made on the need for additional FFs, not paramedics. So if your plea was to increase shift staffing to provide for 4 person crews, then of course you need to hire people to make 4 person firefighter crews on the suppression vehicles. I don't think there would be any problem with rotating people through the various vehicles, so a medic/FF you hired could ride the box as long as there are still 4 FFs on the engine at the same time. The goal of SAFER as mentioned was to hire FFs, so the spirit of that says to me that as long as there are 4 FFs per crew, the hired FF acts as a FF, then the actual person hired does not need to only ride the engine/ladder/rescue. But you couldn't hire a medic/FF and they only ride the ambulance. If the normal SOP is to rotate crews, then it might fly. But it also depends on what was written in the application. If it was only mentioned about adding FFs, and it was inferred that these hired folks would only be riding the engine, then that's where they must ride since you got the award on those premises. Changing now could amount to fraud.

    Hence the reason for putting everything past the FPS before hiring anyone.
    Also, in one of the more moderate sized city FD's very close by me, ALL FF's are REQUIRED to be Paramedics (by a certain date, as this is a new policy). SO, theoretically, depending on your apparatus and staffing needs assessments, you could staff your new personnel (as Brian said) on a rotation, or on whatever apparatus needed the assistance, after a NEEDS ASSESSMENT. If their primary duties were defined as FF, their job title was FF, and the SOG's reflected it, there probably wouldn't be a problem. HOWEVER, in light of the recent problems with other towns, I too would caution someone to run it by a Regional Rep. who could make the call.

    The area that would make the difference, I think, would be if there PERMANENT assignment was Ambulance, AND if the other riders of the Ambulance were called FF's as their title. Far smarter to just staff those folks with some pt (or promote them up, as you have positions come open, if this is the case) and then just look to SAFER for the traditional fire apparatus personnel. YMMV, just a thought.
    Alana Tomlin Denton
    Freelance Grant Writer/Consultant

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