1. #1
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    Default Award Funds Dilemma

    We were granted an award in the first round of 2007 to buy SCBAs for all seated positions on our apparatus, including the cost to upgrade two packs placed in service in 2002. When we wrote the grant, the cost for each SCBA was $5100 for a Scott AP50 Series 4.5 pack with a 30 minute carbon cylinder, Av-3000 mask, Pak alert and integrated PASS device and a Voice Amplifier with mounting bracket. This was the NJ state contract price at the time we wrote the grant award. As of today, the cost of the same pack is now being quoted at the state contract price of $5800.00.

    I called our regional grant point of contact at DHS and our grant management point of contact, and I was told to call the grant assistance officer tomorrow. But I wanted to see if anyone else had gone through this situation.

    If we do not get our order in by September 1, 2007, I was told that we would have to purchase packs that meet the 2007 standard, and that would jump the price to over $7,000.00 per pack. Our regional point of contact at DHS said that vendors still do have packs that meet the current standard, and that we should be able to beat the NJ state contract price. We will be calling around to see if we can do this and to get the best price. Our regional point of contact also said that we should not buy less packs than we described in our grant application because it is likely DHS will request us to give back money for the number of packs we did not buy.

    Here's the problem. It is doubtful that we will be able to get a resolution from our Borough within 30 days, but we are going to try to make sure this happens. Our Borough administrator said that if we do not go with the state contract price, we must advertise for bids, and that will take some time. We are fearful that we will not be able to get the packs at the price we were quoted back in February. Our worst fear is that we will have to purchase air packs that meet the 2007 standard, which will cost an additional $2,000 per pack, and over $50,000.00.

    Anybody else ever experience this and have any suggestions? Thanks in advance for any help.

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    An extremely tough position to be placed in. The POC is correct that you must fulfill the scope of your grant. You have a few options;

    1) Call around to see if any vendor can meet the original state bid. I would think some of the vendors would rather sell off the previous standard before the next standard takes effect. The vendors probably do not want to be stuck with the older standard units, that they may not be able to sell (at least to grant recipients).

    2) Make up the $700/unit difference through additional town funds. Cheaper than trying to make up $2,000/unit.

    3) (This one I don't like) If you can not fulfill the scope of the grant, you may have to look at declining the grant. Better to return and try again next year, than default on the grant.

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    Thanks Onebugle. I was hoping you, Brian or Kurt would have some ideas. Options 1 or 2 look best. Option 3 will happen over my dead body, but then again, some would like that one.

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    To be correct, you have to buy 2007 compliant packs because that was the standard at the time of application. Orders haven't been taken for some time for 2002 compliant packs for most vendors. Of course then again only one manufacturer has certified 2007 compliant packs, and most are estimating that it will be February before they have a 2007 compliant unit. Meaning either DHS needs to let us buy 2002 compliant packs or up the allowed price so that we can meet Presidential Directive #5 (must buy current NFPA). Working with the same issue with several clients. Still pending....

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    To be correct, you have to buy 2007 compliant packs because that was the standard at the time of application. Orders haven't been taken for some time for 2002 compliant packs for most vendors. Of course then again only one manufacturer has certified 2007 compliant packs, and most are estimating that it will be February before they have a 2007 compliant unit. Meaning either DHS needs to let us buy 2002 compliant packs or up the allowed price so that we can meet Presidential Directive #5 (must buy current NFPA). Working with the same issue with several clients. Still pending....
    Did the 2007 compliance take affect yet? I am being left under the impression it hasn't and that some dealers have received an extension to sell the 2002 packs. Also being told that the 2007's will not be available for awhile. We were basically told that we have to buy the 02's.

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    Whats new on the 2007 SCBA? $7000ea!!! Thats obscene.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imafireman View Post
    Did the 2007 compliance take affect yet? I am being left under the impression it hasn't and that some dealers have received an extension to sell the 2002 packs. Also being told that the 2007's will not be available for awhile. We were basically told that we have to buy the 02's.
    NFPA 1981-2007ed took effect in February and said that manufacturers can't build 2002 packs after Sep 1st or 31st. One of those. So you can buy 2002 packs with anything but grant funds if the dealers have them. PD #5 says that all grant funds must buy equipment that is NFPA compliant to the current standard at the time of application. Since the standard was in place prior to the application period opening (even the March one that it was supposed to be), we can only buy 2007ed packs with 2007 AFG awards. 2006 excess fund awards can still buy 2002ed packs but all 2007 awards have to be 2007ed.

    Or we need a ruling that says otherwise. You can't even take free upgrade offers to take 2002ed packs now and then upgrade them later to 2007 in the manufacturer doesn't have them available. Right now only one manufacturer passed the test and is 2007ed certified.

    Anyone that gets SCBA awards need to be in touch with their FPS immediately before doing anything so you don't get in trouble at audit time. And especially get everything in writing.

    Roger - lots of changes, some minor, but mostly costly. PASS devices are now factory-sealed. No user changeable parts including the battery. Because of the water resistance requirement there can be no chance at leaks, so they are now throwaway devices thanks to the new standard. Battery dies, need a whole new pass. Voice amps have changed a good bit too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    NFPA 1981-2007ed took effect in February and said that manufacturers can't build 2002 packs after Sep 1st or 31st.

    Roger - lots of changes, some minor, but mostly costly. PASS devices are now factory-sealed. No user changeable parts including the battery. Because of the water resistance requirement there can be no chance at leaks, so they are now throwaway devices thanks to the new standard. Battery dies, need a whole new pass. Voice amps have changed a good bit too.
    So can someone explain to me what NFPA moron decided that we weren't smart enough to change a battery in a pass alarm. I am all in favor of the integrated pass systems that go on with the air , but give me a break. We change batteries in the pass and face mask heads up displays after each use. What will these new packs offer us to make them worth the PIA?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    NFPA 1981-2007ed took effect in February and said that manufacturers can't build 2002 packs after Sep 1st or 31st. One of those. So you can buy 2002 packs with anything but grant funds if the dealers have them. PD #5 says that all grant funds must buy equipment that is NFPA compliant to the current standard at the time of application. Since the standard was in place prior to the application period opening (even the March one that it was supposed to be), we can only buy 2007ed packs with 2007 AFG awards. 2006 excess fund awards can still buy 2002ed packs but all 2007 awards have to be 2007ed.

    Or we need a ruling that says otherwise. You can't even take free upgrade offers to take 2002ed packs now and then upgrade them later to 2007 in the manufacturer doesn't have them available. Right now only one manufacturer passed the test and is 2007ed certified.

    Anyone that gets SCBA awards need to be in touch with their FPS immediately before doing anything so you don't get in trouble at audit time. And especially get everything in writing.

    Roger - lots of changes, some minor, but mostly costly. PASS devices are now factory-sealed. No user changeable parts including the battery. Because of the water resistance requirement there can be no chance at leaks, so they are now throwaway devices thanks to the new standard. Battery dies, need a whole new pass. Voice amps have changed a good bit too.
    bc79er I dealt with this issue yesterday witha department and they were advised by their FPS that they COULD buy 2002 but I am leery of a carte blanche "yes or no" till I speak with Program Directors office, not just an FPS, but I have fired off an email to get a definitive answer. Stay tuned!
    Kurt Bradley
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    Sent one last week myself also. Still waiting.

    Island: it's changing the battery and ensuring the water tight seal that will pass the submersion and tumble tests that is the problem. Their engineers couldn't create one that could be taken apart and then put back together several times and pass the tests. Personally it's another mandate on equipment stemming from a small number of incidents that humans created themselves. No matter what when humans are involved, if you build a more idiot proof object, God builds a better idiot. Some changes were needed to solve tactical issues, others weren't.

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    Default 2002 vs 2007 SCBA

    I just got this response back from Tom Harrington at DHS fire grant support:ref. the issue of 2002 vs 2007 SCBA for current 07 AFG awardees:


    Question: Heated discussion going on with departments right now and need some clarification. A department currently awarded with an 07 AFG, can they buy existing stocks of 2002 complaint SCBA from remaining manufacturers stock if 2007 models are not currently available and still be in compliance with AFG rules?


    Response: "Absolutely! There is nothing about the new standard that will make much of a difference for most of our grantees - other than draining their bank account."

    I would take that to mean, get em while and if you can folks!
    Last edited by ktb9780; 08-02-2007 at 10:02 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    To be correct, you have to buy 2007 compliant packs because that was the standard at the time of application. Orders haven't been taken for some time for 2002 compliant packs for most vendors. Of course then again only one manufacturer has certified 2007 compliant packs, and most are estimating that it will be February before they have a 2007 compliant unit. Meaning either DHS needs to let us buy 2002 compliant packs or up the allowed price so that we can meet Presidential Directive #5 (must buy current NFPA). Working with the same issue with several clients. Still pending....
    Just spoke to our sales rep about this issue. He concurred that only one maufacturerer has a compliant pack. It's supposed to be a guarded secret, but rumors are that it's the most popular brand (which we use).

    He also stated as of July 1st, departments can not order 2002 compliant SCBA. Hence the rub. Even with one company with compliant SCBA, they can not put it onto the market until other manufacturerers become compliant. The reason; to prevent an unfair advantage in the market place.

    Which brings us to the 2002 SCBA. They are still available for sale as long as supplies last with the local vendor. As our sales rep said, they are between a rock and a hard place. If they sell off their stock and what do they do if an emergency replacement of SCBA's is needed, they can't even get the 2007 SCBA.

    As Brian and Kurt have pointed out, DHS needs to step up and provide direction for everyone. This is going to be a long term issue.

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    Found out that they have until August 31st to ship 2002 packs, but the other issue is that since the standard changed they can't put NFPA compliant stickers on the 2002 packs they've made since Feb. But DHS apparently won't care at an audit. Not sure who might. OSHA?

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    I think that given the responses from Fire Grant office AT THIS TIME, those that have SCBA awards right now, can go ahead and buy 2002 in complete confidence that they will be within AFG guidelines. Should they change their tune at any time in the future I am quite sure that we will find out about it in here rather quickly. Can anyone say "cost savings"!
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    bc70er did I understand you to say that the rep had related that 2002 units would NOT be able to be retrofitted to 2007 standards?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktb9780 View Post
    Can anyone say "cost savings"!
    According to the sales rep, good deals on 2002 SCBA.

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    Kurt, on the original ruling if a manufacturer wasn't 2007 approved right now it was said that you couldn't buy their 2002s and upgrade them when it came available. You had to either pick someone else or wait to spend the money when the 2007s came out. Physically all packs are supposed to be able to be upgraded.

    And now that things have changed people can buy the 2002s and then pay for the 2007 upgrades later. Probably all with grant funds. Nothing like saying we can't do something and then changing it all up.

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    Thanks for all of the info. We have an odd situation in pricing. Some of the vendors from one region of NJ are quoting a higher price on the 2002 compliant AP50 packs than a couple of suppliers have quoted us on the 2007 compliant AP75 pack. All of the quotes are based on the NJ "state contract price", which is supposed to be 10% off "list price". The quotes on the 2007 compliant AP75 packs are coming in under $6,000.00.

    We are also getting conflicting information on "upgrading" our existing 2002 packs. In our project description, we alloted $7,000.00 to upgrade 2 packs, with the balance of our grant to purchase 26 new packs. One supplier told us the 2002 packs cannot be upgraded, and one supplier said that a kit will be available to upgrade 2002 packs.

    How should we handle the upgrade packs if it turns out that they cannot be upgraded? Contact our DHS rep and work it out?

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    I have it from an 'inside source' that the 2007 upgrade kits for the '02 Scotts will be available in about a year (maybe a little less...) I'm wondering if the dealer who said the '02s are not upgradable was just trying to sell new packs?

    The 02s will be able to be upgraded... I'm also told pre 02 will not be upgradable (soon the 02 upgrade kits will not be sold) And, there is a point where it would cost as much to upgrade a pack as buying new, even if you are an in-house repair center and can do the work yourself to save the labor costs...

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    Default Put it out to bid even though based on state contract

    I don't know if this helps at all but we were awarded in the first round of 2006 for all new SCBA for our department plus three RIT packs. We put our application together based on state bid pricing. After we were awarded we put the entire project out to bid anyways. We saved $60,000 by bidding it out to the vendors. Yep, the vendors beat state contract pricing by $60,000. It's worth putting it out to bid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    Kurt, on the original ruling if a manufacturer wasn't 2007 approved right now it was said that you couldn't buy their 2002s and upgrade them when it came available. You had to either pick someone else or wait to spend the money when the 2007s came out. Physically all packs are supposed to be able to be upgraded.

    And now that things have changed people can buy the 2002s and then pay for the 2007 upgrades later. Probably all with grant funds. Nothing like saying we can't do something and then changing it all up.
    Yea, beginning to think that DHS is kind of like a woman; " they reserve the right to change their mind at will, without reason and without warning".LOL!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksmith31 View Post
    I don't know if this helps at all but we were awarded in the first round of 2006 for all new SCBA for our department plus three RIT packs. We put our application together based on state bid pricing. After we were awarded we put the entire project out to bid anyways. We saved $60,000 by bidding it out to the vendors. Yep, the vendors beat state contract pricing by $60,000. It's worth putting it out to bid.
    Sounds right to me. We purchased in 2005 and did a heck of a lot better than the NJ contract of 10% off list. 10% off? That took some major nogotiating by some bureaucrat.

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    Althought the price is sometimes a little bit cheaper, in most cases I have found that the final price can almost always be negotiated lower than a state contract price by using a vendor. The only advantage in usingt he state ocntract price for most agencies is that their state/local procurement policies alllow foregoing the "formal bid process" if you are using a pre-negotiated state contract price. If you are looking to try and get some cost savings, bid it out and see what gets sent in to you.
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    As mentioned above, our total budget was $140,000, for 26 new packs and to upgrade 2 packs at an estimated cost of of $3500 per pack. It appears that we will hit the budget number of $140,000 with 26 packs, since we will be over budget by about $300/pack. If our refurbish cost is less than $3500 per pack, will there be any problem when we try to close out the grant? Basically, we will be over budget, but if the town or the Department covers the overage and we meet the project description, will DHS care?

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    No, as long as the DHS portion is at or less of a % than required on the total project then you're good.

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