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Note: This is definitely a WTF moment! Apparently Dr. David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.knows more about firefighting than those doing the job [note the dripping sarcasm]. You have to love it when those who are not doing the job tries to dictate the needs of those that do. Now is the time for firefighters to join together and start being proactive instead of reacting when politicians and those with a political agenda tries to cut funding for those programs and/or firefighter jobs which in turn threatens the life span of a firefighter. Read the story below, taken from the website of The Heritage Foundation I urge you to clog the email and phone lines of your elected Representative, Congressperson as well as Barack Obama (who approved funding for SAFER Grants just a few months ago). They need to know directly from the firefighters themselves how these Grants prolong the lives through training, education and preventative tactics. Also, email Dr. David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D and let him know what you think about his findings. Please sign in and leave a comment. All comments WILL be forwarded to The White House and Congress!

Do DHS Fire Grants Reduce Fire Casualties?
by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.
WebMemo #2499

This Heritage Foundation WebMemo summarizes the findings of a forthcoming Center for Data Analysis (CDA) report that evaluates the effectiveness of the Assistance for Firefighter Grant (AFG) Program, Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grants, and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants. Collectively, these grants are commonly referred to as "fire grants."

In the near future, Congress will consider the fiscal year (FY) 2010 appropriation bills for the Department of Homeland Security (H.R. 2892 and S. 1298). Both appropriation bills call for $800 million for the fire grant program--$380 million for the AFG program and $420 million for the SAFER program. Before committing additional funding to the fire grants, Congress should first consider whether the programs are an effective use of taxpayer dollars.

Overall, the CDA report finds that fire grants, including grants that subsidize the salaries of firefighters, had no impact on fire casualties. Specifically the report finds that:

* AFGs used to purchase firefighting equipment, vehicles, and fitness equipment failed to reduce firefighter deaths, firefighter injuries, civilian deaths, and civilian injuries;
* FP&S grants that funded fire prevention and safety projects failed to reduce firefighter deaths, firefighter injuries, civilian deaths, and civilian injuries; and
* SAFER grants that subsidized firefighter salaries failed to reduce firefighter deaths, firefighter injuries, civilian deaths, and civilian injuries.

Fire Grants

In 2000, the FY 2001 National Defense Authorization Act established the AFG Program to subsidize the routine activities of local fire departments and emergency medical service (EMS) organizations.[1] Administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's U.S. Fire Administration within the Department of Homeland Security, fire grants consist of several types:

* AFGs provide funding for the purchase of firefighting equipment, vehicles, and fitness equipment;
* FP&S grants target high-risk populations and are intended to improve the safety of firefighters and the public from fire and related hazards;
* SAFER grants, created in 2003, are intended to increase staffing levels by funding the salaries of career firefighters and paying for recruitment activities for volunteer fire departments; and
* Fire Station Construction (FSC) grants, created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, fund the renovation and building of fire stations.[2]

From FY 2001 to FY 2009, Congress appropriated over $5.7 billion in funding for fire grants.[3]

Are Fire Grants Effective?

The forthcoming CDA report concentrates on finding evidence of whether fire grants affect fire casualties. Fire casualties are defined as firefighter deaths, firefighter injuries, civilian deaths, and civilian injuries.

Do fire grants reduce or prevent injuries and deaths to firefighters and civilians? This is a reasonable research question to ask, because the fire grant program has concentrated mainly on developing the capabilities of fire departments to react to fire emergencies.[4] By subsidizing routine operations, fire grants are thought to assist fire departments in becoming more proficient at fighting fires and providing emergency services. Thus, the improved operational proficiency of grant-funded fire departments should reduce fire casualties.

Using panel data from 1999 to 2006 for 10,033 fire departments, the CDA report used panel regression analysis to estimate the impact of fire grants on fire casualties. Of these fire departments, 5,859 (58.4 percent) received fire grant awards while 4,174 (41.6 percent) did not. The panel regression analysis used in the report controls for the level of risk fire departments face each year; the percentage of fire department responses to fires, hazardous conditions, service calls, and good intent calls; and county-level socioeconomic factors, such as age and race demographics, income per capita, and unemployment rates.

The Findings

Overall, the CDA report finds that fire grants, including grants that subsidize the salaries of firefighters, had no impact on fire casualties. Indeed:

* AFG grants used to purchase firefighting equipment, vehicles, and fitness equipment failed to reduce firefighter deaths, firefighter injuries, civilian deaths, and civilian injuries;
* FP&S grants that funded fire prevention and safety projects failed to reduce firefighter deaths, firefighter injuries, civilian deaths, and civilian injuries; and
* SAFER grants that subsidized firefighter salaries failed to reduce firefighter deaths, firefighter injuries, civilian deaths, and civilian injuries.

The findings of this evaluation were foreshadowed when a 2007 report by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) concluded that the "program's strategy of improving firefighting response capabilities, however effective it is at doing this, may not represent the most cost-effective way to reduce either public or firefighter deaths and injuries."[5] In addition, the NAPA report noted, "One argument that has been made forcefully by experts on the fire problem over the last four decades is that dollars used to reduce the number of fire incidents are likely to have greater impact on fire safety relative to their cost than dollars used to improve response to fires when they break out."[6]

Nor do fire grants appear to fulfill a homeland security function. The NAPA report acknowledges, "Basic fire incidents are usually well-handled in the U.S. and have been for some time, whereas large-scale, complex incidents are less well addressed and usually require cooperation of organizations and across jurisdictions."[7] However, the fire grant program "mainly funds local entities and isolated projects not tied to improving regional capabilities."[8]

An Ineffective Program

The strength of the CDA report's methodology resides in its use of panel data that compares fire departments that received grants to fire departments that did not receive grants. In addition, the evaluation compares the impact of the grants before and after grant-funded fire departments received federal assistance. After analyzing over 10,000 fire departments from across the nation from 1999 to 2006, the CDA report reaches a clear conclusion: Fire grants are an ineffective way of reducing fire casualties. Consequently, Congress should eliminate funding for the fire grant program.

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., is Senior Policy Analyst in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.
Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Analysis

E-mail David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.

areas of expertise:
Police and the criminal justice systems, job-training programs, and program evaluation
view all papers by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.


David B. Muhlhausen is a Senior Policy Analyst at The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis.

Muhlhausen has emerged as one of the top Washington experts on criminal justice programs, particularly law enforcement grant programs administered by the Justice Department. He has been called on to testify before Congress on the new challenges and needs of local enforcement as they take the lead in homeland security, as well as on the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program and other initiatives that fall under the department.

In 2001, U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs Chairman Joseph Biden called a hearing specifically to discuss a Muhlhausen analysis of the COPS program that found the program to be ineffective in reducing violent crime. "I want my motive straight out front so everybody understands," Biden at the hearing. "I want to have a hearing on what has been, from The Heritage Foundation and other places, criticism that the COPS program does not work."

An expert in not only criminal justice policy but in evaluating the performance of government programs, Muhlhausen came to Heritage from the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he specialized in crime and juvenile justice policy. Before that, he served as a manager at a juvenile correctional facility in Baltimore.

Muhlhausen's essays on crime have appeared in Forbes, The Washington Post, and The Washington Times. His television appearances include the PBS "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," CNN's "Lou Dobbs Moneyline," and FOX News Channel's "O'Reilly Factor" and "Special Report with Brit Hume."

He earned a doctorate degree in public policy in 2004 from the University of Maryland- Baltimore County. He has bachelor's degree in political science on justice studies from Frostburg State University in 1993. He also has written on the privatization of juvenile justice services and juvenile justice policy for the Calvert Institute for Policy Research in Baltimore. He is an Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University.

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Just because this guy has a PHD in policy management doesn't make him a pro. He doesn't walk the talk I know these grants have helped a lot of rural fire departments become more safer. Anyone who boastes that he is an expert in a feild that doesn't associate with the work they are doing (looking for ways to cut grants) in my opinon should be a expert in that field not I know it all because i have a PhD in criminal stuff so therefore I am an expert in fire fighting. What fire departments are we talking about ? What kind of injuries are we looking at ? Actuall injuries such as over come by smoke ? cuts ? bruises ? heart attacks ? New gear and scba does prevent firefighter injuries I have seen the results I started back in 1982 and we have come a long way when i joined upstate NY. Rural upstate the Dept had the same old stuff I havent used in over ten years down state. They applied for grants and were able to upgrade thier SCBA. Why don't we ask this Mr. Muhlhausen to attend a fire academy and use a old SCBA and a modern one and tell us the difference. This is only one example i can think of there are many many more I am sure you fire fighters can come up with.
I am not sure where the people in Washington keep their wits, but they are not where they should be. I am not a firefighter, but I am a "First Responder". The old adage, "Don't criticize a person 'til you have walked a mile in their shoes", does make sense. The "So Called Experts" need to go into the field and "Grunt It" with firefighters before making a significant call on any type of funding. It is not just about the four categories this gentleman mentioned, it is about the types of injuries, the severity, to whom these injuries occur and the conditions during the incident plus much more. There are too many areas to consider and I think the "Bean Counters" need to follow up with a very in-depth analysis........... in a Firefighters shoes. What might have happened if these grant programs had been terminated before now?????????
will as a MFR and a fire fight i call tell you if thay cut thes grants you will see the Lots more respons time when going on call
i seen if frist hand with are EMS thay close all the bass in montcalm county .now a call that only takes two to 3 mins taks 5 and up. and the safty of us firefighter is in danger


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