AFG help: EMS vehicle acquisition
An organization can apply for vehicle funding even if they are applying for funding under EMS Operations and Safety
By Steve Buckner
To conclude the series on AFG for EMS, the second category of "Non-Affiliated EMS Only" opportunities is "EMS Vehicle Acquisition." An organization can apply for vehicle funding even if they are applying for funding under EMS Operations and Safety. However, it will need to be a separate application. Projects that could be funded include the purchase of a new vehicle, a used vehicle, or a refurbished vehicle. Also included could be the cost of refurbishing a vehicle that is already owned by an agency.
There are many standards that any purchase, including parts, must meet to qualify for grant funding. For more on these standards, the "Guide for Emergency Medical Services and Systems is referenced in the 2010 AFG guidance document and they have posted the following link: www.apps.fss.gsa.gov.
The DHS states that priority number one will be given to EMS transport vehicles and also since there was so little funding for EMS Vehicles, in 2010 at least, they did not anticipate funding past the first priority. This is due to the benefits of transport vehicles and the cost involved with placing support or specialty vehicles in service.
The second priority is for non-transport and operations vehicles such as HAZMAT or rescue, and the third and lowest priority will be specialty apparatus such as hovercraft or command vehicles. This is important to be aware of for the success of your grant because if your agency is considering a support or specialty vehicle, the application would most likely be unsuccessful and your time would have been better spent either exploring other ways of funding your project or applying for a transport vehicle if there is a need.
Organizations may apply for more than one vehicle in an urban or suburban setting, however, the award would be limited to one vehicle per station in those cases. This limits rural departments to one vehicle for an award. If there were a request for multiple vehicles by a rural agency, that application would become ineligible for consideration. Furthermore, in the guidance document it is stated "the highest consideration will be given to organizations that have never owned the vehicles they are requesting or to organizations seeking to replace used or obsolete vehicles.
A secondary priority will be to fund EMS organizations seeking to add more vehicles to their existing fleets within their existing mission areas. The lowest priority is funding new apparatus to expand an applicant's services into 'new mission' areas."(From the 2010 AFG guidance document at www.firegrantsupport.com/docs/2010_AFGguidance.pdf). New mission is explained as expanding into a service or area not previously offered such as specialized rescue or HAZMAT. These would also be priority two and would most likely not be considered anyway.
Because safety to first responders is the priority of any funding from AFG, the DHS will give the "highest consideration" to agencies seeking to replace modified vehicles that are being used in an EMS capacity but were not intended for that use originally or without seatbelts. Regardless of the feature or multiple features that may be unsafe, if attempting to replace an unsafe vehicle, there is a requirement to permanently remove the unsafe vehicle from any type of emergency service if awarded funding. The vehicle cannot be donated to another organization or used in any way by any organization for emergency services. This should be acknowledged in the narrative portion of an application to show an understanding and a plan to adhere to these criteria.
Also along with the subject of safety, a "high competitive advantage" will be given to an organization that has a driver training program that meets NFPA 1002-(Standard for Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator) or an equivalent. If a program is in place, that organization will receive a higher rating. Applicants that do not have a program in place should clearly state a plan for the implementation of a driver training program. Funding for training could be part of the AFG application or the utilization of other resources is acceptable. However, if there is not intent and a plan to implement driver training, the application will not be considered.
There are many further details that are stated in the AFG guidance document found at http://www.firegrantsupport.com/docs/2010_AFGguidance.pdf. Prior to submitting an application, or even deciding on your needs, this should be thoroughly reviewed. Another very user friendly resource is www.EMSgrantshelp.com for latest news and advice on the AFG process and deadlines. Good luck with all of your 2011 AFG applications!