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  1. #1
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    Default Grant Help--air packs--

    My department is going for air packs this year for the fire act grant. Does anybody know what they are looking for in the narrative?


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    The narrative must cover these 4 areas:

    1) Proposed project w/budget detail
    2) Financial need
    3) Benefits that would result
    4) Extent to which the grant would enhance daily ops and/or how the grant positively impacts your ability to protect life & property.

    For SCBA's you need to explain in detail the problem/issues such as:

    1) current units are older than god
    2) cylinders approaching end of useful life
    3) operating with more than 1 type
    4) using demand SCBA vs. postive pressure
    5) not all seated positions with SCBA
    6) SCBA do not meet current standards
    7) interoperability with mutual aid departments
    just to name a few

    As you address your SCBA needs do not forget to add a fit tested facepiece for each firefighter.

    Depending on age of the units look at upgrading the units to meet the current standard vs. new. There is a substantial savings involved and this looks good for the PR.

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    [QUOTE=onebugle]

    For SCBA's you need to explain in detail the problem/issues such as:

    1) current units are older than god
    2) cylinders approaching end of useful life
    3) operating with more than 1 type
    4) using demand SCBA vs. postive pressure
    5) not all seated positions with SCBA
    6) SCBA do not meet current standards
    7) interoperability with mutual aid departments
    just to name a few

    QUOTE]

    Here are a few more bullets for your gun:

    8) The packs will be placed into service by instructor led training.
    9) Quote NFPA Standards when applicable (ex. 1981-2002)
    10) Add a RIT Pack to the equipment list and the tools to make it operational.
    11) Make sure that you indicate that the packs will feature an integrated PASS.
    12) Explain how you will keep up a future replacement schedule so that your agency does not fall into this situation in the future.
    13) If you are asking for carbon cylinders, explain that they are less fatiguing and will reduce firefighter stress resulting in less chance of injury.
    14) If you are going for 4500 30 minute bottles, explain that these will offer a lower profile aiding in self rescue or rapid intervention situations.

    Good luck!

    rfd599
    www.IllinoisFireStore.com

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    One note of caution - be sure to have RIT training prior to asking for a RIT pack, or be in the process of doing that. And it will also depend on call volume and available personnel. And overall project cost. Remember when your request includes items that cost less than your matching for the whole project the admission is that you have cash to buy something but haven't done so. Not so much in this case b/c the RIT pack will have to match the SCBAs in service, but just for future reference.

    cserini - if you're in Desloge MO (only one that came up on Mapquest) wander past my web site (www.firegraphics.org), Grants section. There's a link to the only SCBA vendor providing free grant writing assistance.

    Lots of other goodies in the other sections like Hybrid Vehicle ERGs, laminated drywall reports, and of course freeware web site graphics. A bunch that would look good as tattoos but just can't convince the Mrs on that one. Especially since I like breathing.

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    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    As Brian has already stated - there are some good (and more current years) examples on his page (Including ours for PPE & Misc. Equipment for this year)

    Below is the Narritave from our grant in '02 for SCBA's and TIC's
    The grant was cut 1 TIC from the requested 2 due to the size of our department - the remainder of the grant was funded as requested.

    The project that you are requesting to be funded:

    The Ferrum (Virginia) Volunteer Fire Department respectfully submits this grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) “Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program” to request $86,900 for two projects; the purchase of two Thermal Imaging cameras, and the purchase of 12 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) Packs with spare bottles.

    Benefits to the community and/or the department:

    The Ferrum (Virginia) Volunteer Fire Department comprises approximately 20 members who protect an area of 78 square miles containing 5,300 citizens. This area is primarily rural farm and mountain land with a few industries and one private college. Also included in this area are a major freight and shipping rail line and an underground gas transmission pipeline.

    It has been suggested that it takes a minimum of 19 firefighters to handle a fire in a single-family dwelling (“Too Few Firefighters”, Fire Rescue Magazine, November 2001). This is provided that all rescue, extinguishment, and overhaul can be accomplished during the first 30 minutes of the incident and that no relief personnel are needed. Of these initial 19 persons, at least 14 will be required to be in full PPE including SCBA.
    Ferrum VFD only has eight serviceable SCBA packs and no Thermal Imaging equipment.

    The eight existing packs are used for attack, ventilation, and search & rescue. There is no life-support equipment available for back-up teams, RIT members, or interior supervision. These roles are currently filled as mutual aid units begin to arrive on scene. But it is general consensus that the greatest danger to firefighters occurs early in the incident. In our rural setting, mutual aid takes at least 30 minutes to arrive on scene. Based on industry criteria, most fires should be out by then. The Thermal Imaging and SCBA equipment we are requesting will enable Ferrum VFD to fully protect our entire firefighting crew in the early minutes of the incident before mutual aid arrives. It will significantly improve the safety and response time of search and rescue, resulting in greater protection of crew and citizens.

    Why this project cannot be funded solely through local funding:

    Eighty percent ($20,000) of Ferrum VFD’s $25,000 annual operating budget is received from the County of Franklin, Virginia. The remainder of our budget comes from fundraisers or donations. To date, the greatest net amount from any single fundraiser was approximately $5,000 raised last year from a direct mail campaign. Current cash on hand as of February 26, 2002 was $50,839. During Spring 2002, we will use approximately $40,000 of our savings to repair the firehouse and repave our apron and parking lot, leaving total savings at just over $10,000. The guidelines for the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program require ten percent local cost sharing, which in our case will equal $8,690 of our savings. We won’t have much savings left after this summer, but we believe these upgrades to our facilities and equipment are important to the health and wellbeing of our personnel and operations.

    How you plan to use the grant funds for each major budget activity:
    SCBA’s
    Nothing is more important to firefighter safety than the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). These units protect firefighters from harmful elements during the course of their assigned activities. The requested amount of $51,000 for 12 SCBA’s will enable Ferrum Volunteer Fire Department to protect 100 percent of our crewmen 100 percent of the time by fully meeting current NFPA and OSHA standards.

    We will buy SCBA units made by MSA. This state-of-the-art equipment includes a number of important features and improvements over our older units. Improvements include:
    ? Integrated, Automatic Personal Alarm Safety System (PASS) which automatically sounds when a firefighter becomes unconscious on scene. The audible alarm allows others to find and rescue the downed firefighter. The fact that these are automatic helps to alleviate the problem of Firefighters forgetting to enable the add-on PASS devices in the heat of the moment.
    ? New Technology Carbon Fiber cylinders reduce overall pack weight, thus helping to increase firefighter mobility and decreasing fatigue.
    ? New Technology light weight harness and pack frame. This too will increase firefighter mobility and decrease fatigue.
    ? Addition of Nose Cups to help combat the problem of fogging face piece lens during periods of extreme humidity and temperature differential.

    Thermal Imaging
    The two Thermal Imaging (TI) cameras requested in this grant will cost $35,900. They will impact the ability of Ferrum VFD to safely respond to fires in the aged structures in our rural setting. They will also be invaluable in crises management at the busy railroad line and gas transmission line that dissect our area of responsibility.

    There are many important benefits of Thermal Imaging cameras. On the scene of a fire, it’s difficult or impossible to “see” hidden fire or gaseous vapors. A TI camera can detect temperature differences of as little as .05 degrees centigrade. Firefighters used to crawl through burning buildings, feeling around for unconscious victims. A TI enables the firefighter to quickly scan a room for the change in temperature caused by a body, and move on to the next room. They can also detect different temperatures in walls and ceilings, revealing hidden fire. This allows the incident commander to intelligently use resources and direct crewmembers away from structural dangers. After the fire is out, a TI can pinpoint hotspots that can re-ignite, improving overhaul safety and effectiveness. TI units are useful in situations involving hazardous materials by pinpointing the source of vapor and gas leaks, and revealing liquid levels in containers. TI’s are effectively used in fighting brush and forest fires, always important in our rural setting.

    In addition to fighting fire, TI’s have great use in other rescue applications as well. In the rural settings of the Ferrum area, a motor vehicle accident in which an occupant cannot be readily located may leave Fire & EMS crews searching tall grass and wooded areas for hours. A quick and simple scan of the surrounding area with a TI would easily locate a missing victim in a fraction of the time. This not only means faster care to an injured victim, but also removes our crews from potentially dangerous areas and frees them to respond to other calls. Finally, the videotape function of the TI camera is a valuable asset for future training in all of these situations.

    Additional relevant information:
    Currently, there is (to our knowledge) no thermal imaging equipment available in the entire County of Franklin (Population 47,286 per 2000 Census data). Should we receive funding for these 2 thermal imaging cameras, we would be more than willing to provide them to other departments in the county (via Automatic Mutual aid or special call) as well as to any of the various specialty teams (Haz-Mat, Confined Space, etc.) Also, we would be willing to provide our equipment and manpower for use in training other departments in the use / benefits of thermal imaging.


    Hope this helps and good luck with your '06 application.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    Thanks for the reminder, I have to add yours. So many on the to-do list, only so many hours in the day.

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    BC--Any ideas what they're looking at on prices on SCBA this year? I just quoted some from our local Scott dealer and he's telling me $3,750 for a 45 min. carbon with integrated PASS and $795 for spare bottles. Seems a little high, but not sure what they've been allowing for packs. Thanks.

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    $5K per pack with mask & spare bottle. I believe voice amp also. That's what it was last year and since the things aren't getting any cheaper that's probably the limit this year again.

    It's probably higher since you're going 45min bottles. The prices you've been getting are in the ballpark I've been seeing.

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    We were successful last year getting SCBA's, a thermal imaging camera, and a RIT setup. Some of our major selling points were:

    - Operating with two different styles of SCBA (some nearly 20 years old) mix of belt-mounted and mask-mounted regulators. We also pushed the issue of simplifying training (new members having to learn to operate two totally different units)

    -NFPA compliance (Heads up display, integrated PASS)

    - Reduced testing costs (carbon fiber bottles get tested every 5 years, our old fiberglass bottles had to be tested every 3)

    - Regarding the RIT kit and the thermal imager....we emphasized that none of our neighboring departments had these items, and that therefore on mutual aid responses these items would benefit more than one department. We also said that we would make the TIC available to all neighboring departments (including the sheriff's office) as a special call item. If there's any way this grant can benefit more than one department, push that angle...they like to see the most bang for their buck.

    Also worth noting....our grant award was reduced from what we requested, not because of the cost per SCBA but because of the number of SCBA's requested....see, we have always carried 6 SCBA on every engine....we attempted to replace every unit, but they consider 4 the proper number of air packs for an engine, and 6 for a service unit (working with ISO's numbers, I assume), so that's the number of units we were awarded. So we didn't quite replace all our equipment, but all of our front-line apparatus are fully equipped, and we did manage to eliminate all the belt-mounted style.

    Hope this helps....I can forward you my narrative if you'd like.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Depends on how they're carried. Per PG you get 1 per seat on apparatus, so in their own words they can't make you take only 4 per truck if you have 5 SCBA seats. Or more. But if you have 2 person cabs, then it's 4.

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    Default You might want to wait a year

    You might want to wait a year on air pacs and see what the feds are going to do. I got this story from another post. It might help

    FEMA Wants All SCBA Replaced
    by C. Peter Jørgensen

    "We’re from the government and we’re going to make all your SCBA obsolete and non-NFPA compliant."

    "Don’t worry; we know what’s best for you. Just because you are located in Frackville, Pa., or Blackfoot, Idaho, don’t think you won’t be the next target for a terrorist attack."

    Far-fetched?

    Nope. A proposal by the InterAgency Board (IAB) for Equipment Standardization and InterOperability, which several people thought had died long ago, is about to be forced down the throat of NFPA in October. Under the plan, all Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) will have to use the same universal air bottle.

    Baby blue bottles for everybody; whether you want or need them or not.

    Although the "public comment" period won’t open until December to run through March 2006, the IAB is confident its planned change to NFPA 1981 will be adopted and is on schedule for "Mandatory Compliance" in August 2007.

    Although nobody will use the term on the record, the NFPA Technical Committee on Open Circuit Breathing Apparatus is being bulldozed into coming up with a proposal to satisfy the IAB and Homeland Security.

    Committee Chairman Ray Reed, battalion chief at Dallas (Texas) Fire-Rescue, says the Report on Proposal for NFPA 1981 changes will soon be available on the NFPA web site and additional efforts will be made to publicize it to fire departments across the country.

    Earlier this summer a federal government push to have this "interoperability standard" adopted as a Temporary Interim Amendment was rejected by the committee. Such an amendment would have put the proposed rules into effect immediately without waiting for "public" input and the scheduled August 2007 update to the NFPA Standard.

    Non-Compliant Bottles
    Even if you just purchased all new SCBA with a FIRE Act grant in the last few years, your masks, regulators and especially all your bottles will be non-compliant.

    The supposed "benefit" to your department is that eventually you will be able to exchange air bottles with mutual aid departments responding to a terrorist attack, or at a fire scene even if you don’t have SCBA made by the same manufacturer.

    Little does it matter to the IAB that a 30-minute air bottle provides air for about 18 minutes and then has to be refilled. Or that all air bottles have a standardized refill valve assembly making the quest for "compatibility" just a new answer to a problem solved long ago by the fire service itself.

    Bottle Refilling
    Bottles are now refilled from on-scene air supply trucks that carry high-volume air cylinders arranged in a cascade system to ensure full and uniform pressure. Each bottle is refilled in less than five minutes—a lot quicker than it takes a firefighter to use up the air inside the bottle presently on his back.

    Any large fire scene involving mutual aid departments has one or more refill stations set up where bottles are charged and sorted by color. Since all departments now must carry a spare cylinder for each SCBA unit in service, running out of full bottles is rarely a problem.

    In 2007, manufacturers will begin selling only baby blue SCBA bottles, regardless of the color you have now. And it won’t make any difference whether you now have two or 200 or 2,000 air packs — or many thousands like New York City — the new baby blue bottles won’t fit your present air packs. And FDNY, for example, won’t be able to buy any more yellow bottles. It will be forced to switch colors — and type.

    FDNY doesn’t like the idea. Their representative on the NFPA Technical Committee, Richard S. Tobin, said in a letter to the committee chairman this year, "Interoperability was never an issue for the FDNY at the World Trade Center on 9/11/01."

    No matter. White, green, gray, black or whatever color bottle you now have will be incompatible with SCBA sold after August 2007 under the IAB-FEMA sponsored "interchangeability" program.

    It may take the life cycle of a new carbon fiber cylinder to replace all your present SCBA with a "universal" model. In the meantime you’ll just have to play "mix and match" on the fireground for the next 15 years.

    Instead of enhancing interoperability, a dictated change will ensure that SCBA bottles in the same department won’t be compatible with each other. Pre-2007 air packs will take one type bottle and post 2007 packs will use the baby blue bottles. This will guarantee confusion during routine operations and even during training within a single fire department.

    Underwrite The Cost
    Tobin adds that the FDNY feels "if the InterAgency Board, an element of the Department of Homeland Security, sincerely believes SCBA bottle interoperability is vital to our national security, then that Department should present a plan for the federal government to underwrite the costs associated with this undertaking." His opinion is backed up by FDNY Chief of Operations Sal Cassano.

    But there’s not much chance of that. There’s an estimated 1.2-million air bottles now in service. At $700 apiece for a carbon fiber lightweight 2216 psi cylinder, that’s $840 million, or more than the entire FIRE Act grants for one year. With masks and regulators coming under new standards as well, the figure could rise to $2.6 billion.

    Fairfax County Fire-Rescue, Fairfax, Va., doesn’t like the idea either. Lt. Paul Bull, committee representative, wrote of the IAB and FEMA demand to NFPA that, "Never asked or answered was ... what area of the fire service community brought this item forward as a concern that needs to be immediately addressed?"

    Fairfax County Fire-Rescue was the Incident Commander for the Pentagon air crash and fire on September 11, 2001.

    Another problem identified by the Technical Committee members was that this type of change will violate the federal NIOSH standards under which entire SCBA models are certified to comply with OSHA standards. At present, using one company’s air bottle on a different manufacturer’s SCBA violates the NIOSH and OSHA standards even if the bottles will interchange.

    Bottles Look The Same
    While outwardly air bottles in the 30, 45- and 60-minute sizes all look the same, internal liners from various manufacturers have differences. There are three approved bottle pressures, 2,216 psi, 3,000 psi and 4,500 psi. But some really ancient steel bottles with round bottoms in 1,800 psi and 2,015 psi capacities are still found in some small rural fire houses today.

    Lt. Bull of Fairfax County has further objected to the "11th hour push ... by the NFPA Technical Committee "under threat that IAB and/or FEMA will do something if we do not." And he’s concerned about the enormous cost to fire departments and little or no benefit.

    Part of the proposal also requires that all SCBA be Chemical-Biological-Radioactive and Nuclear certified (CRBN) — even in Frackville and Blackfoot.

    None of the SCBA manufacturers has issued a statement in favor of the proposed changes to NFPA 1981, even though they would benefit from huge sales of new cylinders.

    A spokesman for Scott pointed out that government standardized cylinders would stop research and development in its tracks. Scott recently introduced the patented Snap-Change® cylinder attachment that doesn’t require a screw-type connector hose and allows bottle changes in under five seconds. The Snap-Change has both audible and LED indicators to show cylinder status during a change and it meets all current NFPA requirements and has an integral PASS device.

    All SCBAs manufactured since the last NFPA update in 2002 have provisions for sharing air with a downed firefighter, but competition between manufacturers keeps up development of new technology. The IAB proposal would outlaw the Scott Snap-Change, replacing it with an inferior system. In effect, all SCBA development would be frozen at 2005 Standards as it is unlikely the government itself would undertake research and development.

    The InterAgency Board for Equipment Standardization and InterOperability (IAB) was founded by the Department of Defense’s Consequence Management Program Integration Office and the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation Weapons of Mass Destruction Countermeasures. It is also charged with working on communications interoperability and, not having any success there, is apparently looking for an easy "win" on the SCBA bottle standard.

    Pro-Forma Exercise
    It matters little that the fire service has had no opportunity for input and that internal documents and notes between committee members suggest that the so-called public comment period from December though March will just be a pro-forma exercise.

    While most fire departments have adopted the mobile cascade system to refill cylinders on the fire scene, FDNY operates differently. It has trucks spotted around the city filled with spare cylinders. Its cylinder inventory is in the thousands and replacement would have a significant financial impact. Any gradual changeover would create an interchangeability problem for years to come, canceling out the benefit available to them on September 11 with a single system of similar air bottles throughout the city.

    Note: This is Part I of a two-part story on proposed changes to NFPA 1981. Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Magazine will publish comments from readers and fire chiefs received before our next issue. Thus far there has been no "user input" on the proposed changes. E-mail may be addressed to news@firemagazine.com. All letters will be verified and must contain names, affiliation and contact telephone numbers for checking purposes.
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    We discussed this at one of my seminars and one of the guys there said that it's almost a moot point since one manufacturer makes 95% of the bottles for everyone anyway.

    I don't see this getting too far. Besides that, if you can't afford the SCBA now, and the SCBA isn't safe now, then it needs to be replaced now. Looking a the cost estimates, the AFG isn't going to have enough money to handle everyone applying the "compliant" equipment anyway. And look for a lot of resistance from almsot every department and manufacturer in the country. This is not some little thing like integrated PASS.

    Besides, DHS themselves describes interoperability as being compatible within a smaller region like a county. So as long as all of the SCBAs within the county are interchangeable, or fillable, who cares? I know a few areas that have different SCBAs, so they carry adapters so they can refill anyone's bottles. I don't need to be able to wear someone else's bottle on my pack. I just need to be able to refill it on scene. So if you want to solve the problem in the most cost-effective manner (like they require us to do in the grants), require all manufacturers to make and sell adapters for cascade systems so you can refill anyone's bottles. That's the REAL problem, not bottle compatibility on the packs.

    Sheesh, and they scream at us to be cost-effective? Who comes up with this stuff?

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    Default puzzled???????

    Depending on age of the units look at upgrading the units to meet the current standard vs. new. There is a substantial savings involved and this looks good for the PR.

    Where in the guidence does it state that above statement actually helps. I asked at our regional DHS meeting and the rep said "that upgrades are not always a good idea because firefighters read these and they know new is better than an upgrade".

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    Not entirely an accurate statement at all. When it costs $1000 to upgrade a unit to current NFPA compliance, and $3000+ per unit for a new one, the cost-benefit is 3 times higher on the upgrade. Same solution, same end result, lower cost = more awards available.

    Now if the units are very old odds are they can't be upgraded anyway so claiming that it can be done isn't probably an accurate statement. But in the 8-10 year old range there isn't much ground to stand on to claim new instead of upgrade unless the units really are beat, which would requrie a lot of evidence in terms of call volume and training hours.

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    This is how upgrading worked for us.

    For any grant proposal you need to explore all options or alternatives, whether new, used or upgraded. We would all like to have new equipment, but is it feasible or justifiable.

    Upgrading SCBA to the current standard is the most cost effective way to do so vs. new. Case in point; our Scott SCBA were 9 years old and 2 standards out of date. The SCBA were in excellent condition and well maintained. After reviewing cost figures for new and upgraded the only choice was to upgrade. To provide the best cost vs. benefit scenerio new was out upgrading was in.

    In the end we paid $4,233 for each new (4) SCBA (for riding positions with out SCBA) and $1,356 per upgrade (21) w/integrated PASS.

    25 new = $105,825
    new + upgrade = $45,408
    SAVINGS = $60,417

    The total funded project was just over $94,000, to also include TO and spare cylinders.
    Everyone needs to look at their own situation and decide what is the best route for them. Upgrading is one solution when you know that getting new will be a long shot.

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