1. #1
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    Default AFG Program Perceptions

    For those that don't get the Washington Times:

    http://washingtontimes.com/national/...0852-8296r.htm

    Homeland Security grants spent on clowns and gyms
    By Audrey Hudson
    THE WASHINGTON TIMES
    Published April 21, 2006

    Fire departments are using Homeland Security grants to buy gym equipment, sponsor puppet and clown shows, and turn first responders into fitness trainers.
    The spending choices are allowable under the guidelines of the Assistance to Firefighters grant administered by the Homeland Security Department, which has awarded nearly 250 grants since February totaling more than $25 million out of the current spending pot of $545 million.
    Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff vowed to redirect grant spending based on risk of a terrorist attack, but Congress has ignored his pleas, federal officials say.
    "The administration has not supported the funding for physical fitness equipment as part of the fire grant program," says Marc Short, Homeland Security spokesman. "Physical fitness is an individual responsibility."
    The Bush administration has specifically asked Congress not to allow funding for physical fitness, but the members who run Congress' appropriation committees keep inserting the language into the department's budget, officials say.
    The House last year passed the Faster and Smarter Funding for First Responders Act by a 409 to 10 vote to require several first responder grants be based on risk, however the firefighter grant was excluded from the legislation.
    In Florida, the Plantation City Council recently voted to use its $28,000 grant for treadmills, stationary bikes and training machines for police and firefighters. The Crawfordsville Fire Department in Indiana is using its $55,000 to buy gym equipment, provide nutritional counseling and instruct firefighters on how to become fitness trainers.
    Congress also requires 5 percent of the grant be spent on fire prevention funding, says Brian Cowan, director of the fire grants program.
    Mr. Cowan says 18,000 applications for the current round of funding were reviewed by fire officials including fire chiefs, firefighters and association leaders, then recommendations are given to Homeland officials as to who should receive awards.
    The LAFS for Life program which received a $69,000 grant, partners with the Des Moines, Iowa, fire department to teach fire safety through puppet and clown shows. The Onalaska Fire Department in Wisconsin also has an $8,000 grant for clowns and puppet shows, and Grants Pass in Oregon will use a $22,000 grant to buy an educational robot.
    Virginia has been awarded the largest amount of funding through seven grants totaling $2,764,551; Washington, D.C., is second with three grants totaling $2,499,873; Massachusetts is third with $2,055,234; Indiana has eight grants totaling $2,040,064; and Maryland has five grants totaling $1,911,574.
    The Home Safety Council in Washington won a $1 million grant to study safety education needs and to train officials to teach fire safety during its first "National Fire and Life Safety Education Best Practices Conference" this fall.
    Other groups, such as the International Association of Firefighters and its burn foundation, received two grants for $1.5 million. A spokeswoman for the association, an AFL-CIO union, was asked how the grant will be used. She did not return the call.
    The Haitian American Cultural and Social Organization, which provides breast cancer screening for low-income Haitian immigrants and illegal aliens, in Rockland County, N.Y., received a $40,000 grant. The money will be used to provide smoke alarms and fire safety information and to report safety problems in rental housing.
    Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, said Congress and Homeland officials are "having trouble prioritizing."
    "They've spent billions since September 11, and while we've avoided another terrorist attack, it's clear a lot of this money could have been spent more effectively," Mr. Schatz says.
    "Even if fire departments are eligible, I would hope they would tell Congress what their real needs are and say 'please don't send us money for puppet and clown shows,' " Mr. Schatz said. "People in New York and other major cities will not find this funny at all."

    Besides being riddled with inaccurate statements, I'm offended at the part about Fire Prevention being just a "clown and puppet show". Professional educators recommend these methods to us as the fire service to get the point across to the kids so they don't become a statistic. I'm failing to see how keeping our kids safe is a waste of money. But this is the perception of the grant program, and further underscores my point that I have made here and in the PodCasts: the Fire Service doesn't market itself for all of the good we do. There's nothing wrong in taking pride in our successes or letting people know all that we do to keep them safe. When they make cuts we tend to just sit back and take it. We need to fight for our funding, and prove that it is needed. Write and call your Congressional Representatives now before they accept the $293 million for AFG and $0 for SAFER.

    - Brian
    Last edited by BC79er; 04-21-2006 at 02:00 PM.
    Brian P. Vickers
    www.vickersconsultingservices.com
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    Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
    Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

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    I agree with you Brian, but all you need to do is run a quick search of the threads on this fourm and you'll find a number of our own who share many of the same misconceptions. If fellow firefighters have the same attitude it stands to reason that the uninformed public may as well.

    This is why we need to do a better job of not only making the public, but our own as well understand that true firefighter safety begins with physical fitness and true public safety begins with education.

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    ...another good reason why I don't read the Washington Times!
    Kurt Bradley
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    This article is so poorly written and researched, I can't believe that it was even published. Fire Prevention and Firefighter Health and Safety don't get enough funding as far as I am concerned. If it takes a puppet show to get one of the highest risk groups (young children) to understand what to do in the event of a fire and how to prevent fires in their homes, then kudos to the fire department for addressing the issue. That is why Sesame Street has been just a wee bit successful for a few years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by superchef
    This article is so poorly written and researched, I can't believe that it was even published. Fire Prevention and Firefighter Health and Safety don't get enough funding as far as I am concerned. If it takes a puppet show to get one of the highest risk groups (young children) to understand what to do in the event of a fire and how to prevent fires in their homes, then kudos to the fire department for addressing the issue. That is why Sesame Street has been just a wee bit successful for a few years.

    Let's not forget either that two of the biggest award winners for Fire Prevention Grants base their entire education programs on robots and costumes with Sparky and Pumper either. I bet they are just seething.
    Kurt Bradley
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    Default Which program(s) is the article talking about?

    Does anyone know which program funded the exercise equipment mentioned in the article?

    The 2005 FP&S program guidance included fitness equipment on the "not eligible" list.

    vfd cap'n

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    The AFG (Assistance to Firefighters Grant), but read the guidance and the Forum carefully. Best suited to a career dept because of the 24/7 staffing. I'd bet a few volunteer depts have been awarded though. You might have better luck looking at your state's DNR or perhaps a major retailer like Wal-Mart if you're a volunteer dept.
    I recently ran across a web-based dealer that has a lot of used commercial stuff at $1 plus shipping. One of our members just got home from 7 months in Louisiana and he's a certified trainer--so i'm gonna run that stuff past him and then see what they might do on shipping. We don't need pretty, just functional. Our guys would come to the station to work out, no doubt about that--my job is to get them the tools without the township having to pay for it!!
    earl
    Last edited by Greenacres2; 04-23-2006 at 07:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vfdcapn
    Does anyone know which program funded the exercise equipment mentioned in the article?

    The 2005 FP&S program guidance included fitness equipment on the "not eligible" list.

    vfd cap'n
    I think the bonehead who wrote the article actually was taking examples from the FP and AFG grants.... totally unresearched and written with an inherent axe to grind. (however, not a fireaxe purchased with AFG funds )

    My fulltime job is that of a journalist and this hairbag reporter wouldn't have made it through a reporting 101 class with this sort of idiotic slanted story. I think her bosses must have known this too.....notice there is no way to email her?

    Confucious says.....there is nothing more dangerous than a dork with a 1000 gallons of ink and a pen..... (Ok, I said that, but it still applies )

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    Default hmmm.

    You have to wonder about the media when they use Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, as a source of information.

    Perhaps, I could offer her a better source of information. America Burning Recommissioned (2002) in part

    Finding #3 Loss Prevention for the Public
    "...Education about fire hazard should reach children who are responsible for so many accidental fires. It has been the experience of the fire service that schools are one of the best venues for firefighters in providing safety information to children.

    Finding #7 Public Education and Awareness
    "... A public education approach should be mindful of two essential elements; first the public education must make the target audience aware of the hazards on both an intelllectual level and an emotional level. Second, the target audience must receive and accept the message that the problem is within their control."


    Finding #9

    Firefighter Health & Safety

    ..." Fire departments should provide a wellness/fitness propram to maintain the medical, physical and behavioral health of all personnel/ The federal government should provide funding for fire department adoption of fitness/wellness programs based on the Wellness-Fitness Initiative and the CPAT of the IAFF and IAFC."

    That sounds like they recommended Sparky, robots, puppets etc and fitness programs to me.

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    Some people never let facts get in the way of a good argument.

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    Default Most have forgotten...

    Most have forgotten that the “Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program” started in early 2001 and was managed by FEMA, prior to 9/11, and prior to the formation of the Department of Homeland Security. Obviously someone thought that Firefighter Safety and Fire Prevention were critical issues prior to 2002 when DHS was created and swallowed up FEMA. No, we don't spend the money on Terrorist Detectors, Bullet Proof Turnouts or Laser Guided Fire Streams. You know why? Because "The (Assistance to Firefighters Grant) program is designed to assist local fire departments in protecting citizens and firefighters against the effects of fire and fire-related incidents.”

    All of us need to remind folks that these are ASSISTANCE TO FIREFIGHTERS grants and not HOMELAND SECURITY grants.

    It must be nice to have a job where "half-@**" research and zero accountability is not only acceptable, but actually makes for a better end product (when I say better I mean more interesting story). I wonder how much the author would appreciate having an under-staffed, under-equiped, under-trained, under-educated, "half-@**" fire department protecting her loved ones?
    Last edited by Wolf8552; 04-24-2006 at 02:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf8552
    Most have forgotten that the “Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program” started in early 2001 and was managed by FEMA, prior to 9/11, and prior to the formation of the Department of Homeland Security. Obviously someone thought that Firefighter Safety and Fire Prevention were critical issues prior to 2002 when DHS was created and swallowed up FEMA. No, we don't spend the money on Terrorist Detectors, Bullet Proof Turnouts or Laser Guided Fire Streams. You know why? Because "The (Assistance to Firefighters Grant) program is designed to assist local fire departments in protecting citizens and firefighters against the effects of fire and fire-related incidents.”

    All of us need to remind folks that these are ASSISTANCE TO FIREFIGHTERS grants and not HOMELAND SECURITY grants.

    It must be nice to have a job where "half-@**" research and zero accountability is not only acceptable, but actually makes for a better end product (when I say better I mean more interesting story). I wonder how much the author would appreciate having an under-staffed, under-equiped, under-trained, under-educated, "half-@**" fire department protecting her loved ones?

    Wolf , good point and I understand what you are stating here but, I think you need a small clarification.

    The Fire Act Grants are actually Department of Homeland Security Grants, as they all come from within that budget appropriation every year now. I believe what you meant to say was that ,they are not "Terrorist Detection or Prevention" grants.

    What they are is " Recovery and Response" grants, but, they all still fall under the Department of Homeland Security umbrella.
    Kurt Bradley
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    Well, they're administered by DHS but still not in fact Department of Homeland Security Grants in the true sense of definition. The HGSP is as is CEDAP, but the FireAct (aka AFG) is only part of DHS because USFA, under FEMA, got sucked into DHS. AFG was created before DHS existed to handle basic firefighting needs, and was not and is not meant to handle homeland security issues. I believe that's what Wolf is talking about when he says AFG isn't a DHS grant program.

    Unfortunately since being taken over by DHS they are trying to shift the focus to homeland security away from basic FFing issues in order to pump more money into urban areas. The problem with this is that in major incidents the first and possibly second due agencies will be overwhelmed and need mutual aid from the suburban and rural agencies nearby. The same ones that the equipment and training haven't been sent to because "they aren't a target". It shouldn't always be about who is the target, in response grants it should be about who is coming.

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    BC79er between the three of us, I think we have a pretty good understanding now of what they are and are not. Eh? I think the "focus" should shift back to exactly what you said Brian.
    Kurt Bradley
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    I think we know but we probably just confused the bejesus out of everyone else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er
    I think we know but we probably just confused the bejesus out of everyone else.
    Personally , I think "confused" should be my middle name sometimes!
    Kurt Bradley
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er
    I think we know but we probably just confused the bejesus out of everyone else.

    Nope. You have to try harder that that to confuse me.

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    Ah, a challenge it is you seek, young Grant-i?

    Maybe I'll try harder tomorrow, it's 10 minutes until quitting time and I'm done thinking for today.

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    Somebody come over here and help me out.....

    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=80916

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