Date: February 24, 2006
For More Information Contact:
Dan Bushnell - DNRC 406-444-0465
Paula Nelson - USFS 406-329-3472
Marilyn Krause - BLM 406-533-7617
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Process Changes in Contracting for Equipment Resources for the 2006 Fire Season
Missoula, Mont. – Federal and state agencies are taking a proactive approach to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Emergency Equipment Rental Agreement (EERA) program by adopting a new web-based application to streamline the incident business processes of acquiring, ordering, utilizing and paying incident resources.
The first step is to award emergency equipment rental agreements on a competitive basis. In 2006, the Northern Rockies Coordination Group (NRCG), the wildland firefighting overhead coordination element comprised of federal, state, tribal, and local wildland firefighting organizations in Montana, Northern Idaho and North Dakota, is implementing a competitive process for contracting privately owned water handling equipment (Wildland Fire Engines, Water Tenders, Skidgines, Soft Tracks and Pumper Cats) necessary for fighting large scale wildland fires in the region.
State and Federal agencies will also competitively contract other equipment this year. This includes contracting buses (coach and crew) from the Forest Service, portable water from the Bureau of Land Management and porta-potties and hand wash stations from the State of Montana . All other equipment will be signed up by local units for 2006, as done in the past, with the expectation that within the next three years, all agreements will be awarded on a competitive basis.
A new automated database, t he Equipment and Training Inventory System (EaTIS) , is being implemented to facilitate this new process. The EaTIS database will record and organize engine and water tender EERA's, document vendor equipment inspections and provide vendor personnel qualifications and performance evaluations. EaTIS will be used for the water handling equipment and buses this season, with incorporation of other types of equipment over the next three years. Vendors have access to EaTIS (www.eatis.net) as of February 21, to submit their proposals electronically.
The solicitation for water handling equipment is anticipated to be available on February 24. The solicitation for buses is scheduled for March. Potential contractors will find the solicitations posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website (http://www.fbo.gov). There will be informational meetings for potential bidders and the locations and dates information is in the solicitation. Information specific to the Northern Rockies is posted on the NRCG website www.fs.fed.us/r1/fire/nrcg/.
Additional changes include implementation of national standard equipment specifications and agreement language which will decrease differences throughout the country and improve operational efficiency.
Agencies cooperating in this effort include the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation, North Dakota Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Lands, U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Park Service.
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