Grants to fund EMS security, training and recruitment

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By EMSGrantsHelp staff

When it comes to securing funding through grants, many EMS agencies and service providers are already familiar with the Firefighter Assistance Grant (AFG) and Emergency Medical Services Training Grant. rural. AFG plays a key role in not only providing fire departments with the necessary equipment and training, but also funds unaffiliated EMS organizations. Even though this program offers an excellent funding opportunity, a small percentage of the scholarships are awarded to unaffiliated EMS organizations.

The Rural Emergency Medical Services Training Grant is a recent outcome of the Siren Act, which supports public and not-for-profit rural EMS agencies to recruit and train staff, while also securing eligible material. It’s a good program; however, as with any federal program, there are specific deliverables that must be achieved. Funding for this program is relatively low; only 27 agencies were awarded in 2020.

Many grant opportunities meet the specific needs of agencies, from vehicles to security, training, recruitment and retention.

Many grant opportunities meet the specific needs of agencies, from vehicles to security, training, recruitment and retention. (Photo / Hennepin EMS)

Although there have been successful calls to increase funding for these federal grant programs, EMS agencies are suffering the long-term effects of the pandemic. This includes dwindling sources of income, a lack of funding to purchase the necessary equipment, a low number of recruitments and concerns for current first responders and their mental health, as well as the need to continue training and maintain their physical security.

While considering the above federal grant programs, it is important that agencies be aware of the additional grant programs available to them. Below are examples of potential grant programs that focus on the specific needs of an agency as it navigates through an ongoing pandemic and budget shortfalls.

Recruitment and retention

Recruitment and retention is an ongoing problem for most public safety agencies, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. There are many non-traditional programs that an agency may not look for when looking for grants.

For example, the Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program focuses on communities, “identifying and responding to health needs while strengthening the local health system”. Eligible people include small rural hospitals, rural health clinics and other health care organizations located in counties and parishes designated by the Delta Regional Authority. An eligible program activity is the Emergency Medical Services Project, which aims to “create a local system of coordinated care comprising joint community partners working in collaboration with first responders”. This program offers an assessment to identify opportunities to improve processes and improve service coordination.


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Another program is the New Mexico Health Service Scholarship Program. This program “places and provides financial assistance to designated health professionals in rural and medically underserved areas of the state.”

Additional programs include the Rural Oregon Volunteer EMS Service Provider Tax Credit and the Minnesota Dual Training Scholarship.

Safety and well-being

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, first responders are still responsible for responding and mitigating the effects of the coronavirus. With this, responders also experience negative impacts on their mental health, as well as their overall physical health and well-being. When researching safety and wellness programs, it is essential to focus on foundations to expand an agency’s funding possibilities. Many foundations focus specifically on mental health and wellness. For example, the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation lists the priorities under Safety / Well-being for “Addiction, resources for people with disabilities, disaster relief, domestic violence, first responders, food insecurity, accessibility to health care, homeless support, mental health, initiatives security, veterans organizations, welfare and preventive care ”. The next deadline is December 15, 2021.

Another program is Colorado Emergency Medical and Trauma Provider Grants. Provider Grants for this program provide funding for EMS vehicles, communications, data collection, EMS and trauma equipment, injury prevention, personnel and services, and recruitment and retention.

Training and equipment

Over the past year and a half, training opportunities and equipment needs may not have been addressed due to budget deficits or a lack of time and resources to pursue. Below is a list of grant programs to consider:

It is important to note that these programs are state specific and require contacting the grant program administrator. Although the research varies from state to state, public health agencies in most states are focused on funding opportunities related to EMS.

Tips and best practices for obtaining grants

  • Locate your state’s grant administrator for public health personnel programs. Many health care-focused workforce programs are administered by ministries of public health.
  • Contact foundations in the region directly, including community foundations. It only takes a phone call to start building a long-term relationship with a funder.
  • Before applying, take the time to list the agency’s needs and prioritize them. For example, for grant programs that provide funding for various needs, such as recruitment / retention and injury prevention, a list will help determine which project to pursue.


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