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  1. #1
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    Default Question for Pennsylvania Awardees

    I had a disappointing conversation with a grant specialist this afternoon.

    When we were awarded our grant last year, it was awarded to our department. I inquired if the SCBA purchased could be transferred to the department Relief Association for the purposes of maintenance. I was warned that if we did that, we would be in violation of our agreement and subject to repayment of the funds. The expert would not even try to understand the concept of the Fireman's Relief Association in PA. We could have just as easily applied as the Relief Association and then would not have this problem (lesson learned).

    Could I not turn that technicality against them for other equipment purchases? Since they consider that a separate organization completely, then my Department does not have any rescue tools, PPE, and lots of other essentials for a fire department, since the Relief Association owns most of that. Therefore, I should be easily able to rationalize new cutters/spreaders and PPE for the department, since 'we have none'.

    I agree, it is quite shady sounding, but it has to work both ways. If they say that the Relief Association does not count, then it doesn't count, right? They cannot have their cake and eat it too...

    Comments?
    Kevin Lubinsky
    Captain
    West Shore Bureau of Fire
    Cumberland County PA

    FTM-PTB-EGH


  2. #2
    Forum Member SLY4420's Avatar
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    No, you wouldn't be able to do that because of the "one roof" thing. Just like a career department and a volunteer department living in one house, they have to apply as one.

    For the purposes of these grants, we consider two or more separate fire departments or nonaffiliated EMS organizations that share facilities as being one organization. This determination is designed to avoid duplication of benefits. For example, it would not be cost-beneficial to purchase two firefighting vehicles for two fire departments that share a facility to serve the same community when so many other communities need new apparatus; nor would it be cost-beneficial to buy two sets of equipment for the same firefighters. We believe that two or more organizations that share facilities should be able to satisfy all of their operational needs with one program area application. Thus, if two or more organizations that share facilities each submit an application in the same program area, we will deem all of those program area applications as ineligible.

    Even moreso, the rules state:

    A “fire department” is defined as an agency or organization that has a formally recognized arrangement with a State, territory, local, or tribal authority (city, county, parish, fire district, township, town, or other governing body) to provide fire suppression to a population within a fixed geographical area on a first-due basis.

    The Relief Association technically is not recognized by your municipality to fight fires, but your Fire Company/Department is.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber lfdmichael's Avatar
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    Plus sleeping at night has it's advantages. Momma always said "you never want the man knockin' on the door"

  4. #4
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    SCBA isn't titled like vehicles, who owns it is an argumentitive subject. As long as it's in the station when they come out who pays for maintenance doesn't matter, and whose claims it as an asset on the balance sheet doesn't matter either.

    Yes the Relief could have applied on behalf of the department, would have excluded the department from applied. Basically 1 app per geographical area, minus the 1 roof exception.

  5. #5
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    You can use relief association funds for the matching portion of the grant, I checked with the auditor general, and Dustin Brosius a Fema Grant Program Spaecialist on this subject. The way it was explained to me is that when the grant is awarded the relief association must draw up a contract stating that when the 3(?) years are up that FEMA still has control of the equipment, that the fire company will give the ownership of the equipment to the Relief Association. Now the Relief cannot pay for maintnance on the equipment until the three years are up, but it can after it takes ownership. If you were already awarded the grant and paid the matching portion out of general funds the relief cannot pay for the maintnance after 3 years. But I dont know if my theory will work yet or not, but after fema cant come in and audit you on the equipment,why couldn't the fire company sell the stuff to the relief if its safety equipment? I'm calling to ask about this but I want to wait till the app. period is over because Im sure the fema reps are busy enough. If you wanna call a fema grant specialist on the matter I'll give you ones number that lives in PA and he is involved with a FD and Relief Association so hes pretty knowledgable on the ssubject. Just PM me if you want it.

  6. #6
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    You should be ok to do the maintanence under Relief either way. I don't believe that the equipment has to be owned by relief to provide upgrades or maintanence to it with your relief funds.

  7. #7
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    Read the relief guidlines it states in it that THE RELIEF ASSOCIATION CANNOT PAY FOR MAINTNANCE ON FIRE COMPANY OWNED EQUIPMENT.
    I called about this and this was one of my questions. You can try it, but if you have ever been through a relief audit you know as well as I do they will pick up on this.

  8. #8
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    A Relief Organization can apply for a grant (check the list of PA departments this year...a Relief Organization applied for and was awarded a grant). So according to some of the statements here, they are not eligible to apply, but they did just that, and were awarded an apparatus grant...

    According to FEMA we now have to wait 5 years before we can transfer ownership to the Relief Organization. Going forward, perhaps we will apply as Relief to prevent this problem.
    Kevin Lubinsky
    Captain
    West Shore Bureau of Fire
    Cumberland County PA

    FTM-PTB-EGH

  9. #9
    FH Mag/.com Contributor
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    Better tell them to extend the AFG first, only have 2 app periods by law after this....

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