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AFG 2010 is for EMS, too

$7.8 million of AFG funding has been earmarked for nonaffiliated, independent EMS agencies

By Bryan Jack

With the opening of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program on Monday, I would encourage EMS agencies to fine-tune their application narratives and get them ready to go. That’s right — AFG is not just for the fire service, it also provides funding for EMS as well, though there are some additional rules for qualification.

In total, $390 million has been set aside for the AFG program this year. Of the total, $7.8 million has been earmarked for nonaffiliated, independent EMS agencies. As quoted from AFG, only the following types of EMS agencies qualify to apply for funding:

“Nonaffiliated EMS is defined as a public or nonprofit emergency medical service organization that provides direct emergency medical services, including medical transport, to a specific geographic area on a first due basis, but is not affiliated with a hospital and does not serve a geographic area where EMS is adequately provided by a fire department.”

In addition, there are several other ineligible EMS organizations. Some disqualified from participating include: EMS/Rescue Squads that do not transport, EMS Helicopters and Fire-Based EMS (Fire-Based can apply as a fire department).

As with fire agencies, EMS agencies that meet the qualifying criteria may submit up to three grant applications. Applications may be submitted under the following categories: Vehicles, Operations & Safety, and Regional.

Those of you that apply for a vehicle under the program will be fighting to secure a piece of just $1.95 million (only 25 percent of total EMS funding). The vast majority of AFG funding for EMS has been allotted to “Operations and Safety.” If you do choose to apply for a vehicle, make sure you pay close attention to the “priority” listing. For EMS, the only vehicle type listed with a number one priority is “Ambulances or transport units to support EMS.” Additionally, no equipment will be funded with vehicle awards.

If you decide to apply under the “Operations and Safety” activities, your request should be justified as one of the following listed categories: PPE, Training, Equipment, Wellness/Fitness or Modifications to Facilities. AFG’s focus continues to be on improvement and advancement. For example, your funding request may receive more weight if you are proposing to advance your training level from EMT-B to EMT-I, or if you are requesting cardiac monitors vs. AEDs. There is a strong undertone in the AFG PowerPoint that focuses on and pushes for an increase in the number of ALS agencies/responders.

Some of the ineligible items under “Operations and Safety” include: Expendable EMS supplies, Firefighting equipment, Structure/wildland PPE, SCBA’s, ALS items for BLS agencies, and Maintenance Contracts.

Now comes the fun part. After you have determined that your agency qualifies to apply and you have identified what you want to apply for, you can start to draft your narrative. Just like fire agencies, EMS agencies must submit a narrative with their application. The narrative must include the four essential categories, as identified by AFG. These categories are: Project Description and Budget, Financial Need, Cost-Benefit, and Effect on Daily Operations. Under each of the four sections there are typically four to five talking points that need to be discussed and addressed. These talking points are normally identified in the AFG Workshops and grant guidance documents. To begin planning for your narrative, you should review the AFG 2010 guidance document and write your narrative to meet the requirements.


  • Check to see if you qualify
  • Choose a program (Vehicle, Operations/Safety or Regional)
  • Check to see if your chosen equipment or request will qualify
  • Review workshop presentations and guidance documents
  • Gather all required data
  • Draft a narrative

For additional information or assistance please visit or

Bryan Jack is a grant consultant with and its sister site, A 15-year veteran of the fire service, Bryan is currently serving as Battalion Chief at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District in Monument, Colorado. A certified Fire Officer and Paramedic, Bryan has been successfully writing, reviewing and consulting on grants for more than five years. For any questions related to grants, you can contact Bryan at He will be featuring some of the questions – and his answers – in upcoming columns.