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How to get grant money for EMS equipment purchases

Consider applying for federal, state and private grants to help your agency buy new equipment


Grant funding to purchase EMS equipment is available to anyone willing to put in the time and effort to seek the right resources for assistance and apply.


Sponsored by Stryker

By Jerry Lee, EMSGrantsHelp Contributor, for EMS1 BrandFocus

With the wide range of advancements in EMS equipment and technology that are now available, community expectations, and in some cases, the minimum equipment standard set by local regulatory agencies, are higher than ever – and for good reason.

Equipment such as automatic CPR compression devices, 12-lead EKG monitors and powered gurney systems have been field tested with empirical data to show improved delivery of patient care, improved patient outcomes and lower rates of injury for first responders. They are worth their weight in gold!

New equipment and technology, however, come at a high cost. There is no doubt fire and EMS agencies throughout the country often struggle with the ever-growing cost of EMS equipment. For those willing to put in the extra time and effort to seek and apply for grant funding, the outcome may be well worth it. Your organization may be able to obtain EMS equipment that would otherwise be out of reach.

The strategy for obtaining grant funding for EMS equipment begins with the following steps:

  1. Identify the specific project and cost for the equipment you are seeking.
  2. Search for available grants and understand the eligibility requirements.
  3. Use the right resources to help write your narrative and complete the application.

Step 1: Identify the specific project and cost for the equipment you are seeking

When considering potential projects for grant funding, the equipment should be able to produce a quantifiable operational benefit. Specific questions you should ask yourself about the project should include the following:

  • How will the equipment be used in daily operations?
  • What department problem(s) or community issues will this project address?
  • Is this equipment request for a specialized division/team?
  • What are five ways this equipment will strengthen or improve the agency and community?

Step 2: Search for available grants and understand the eligibility requirements

It is imperative that you research grants opportunities so that you fully understand eligibility requirements, eligible activities, local cash match (if required), etc.

This can be a daunting task. Luckily, there are some great resources out there. In particular,, and list grants available, the amount of funding available, key dates and eligibility requirements.

In particular, eligibility for EMS equipment can be limited due to industry testing or recognition requirements for federal or state grant funding. This is often encountered by agencies requesting EMS equipment that is new to the market. You should also ensure that use of the desired equipment is approved by your state and local EMS regulatory agencies before seeking grant funding.

Step 3: Use the right resources to help write your narrative and complete the application

For many applicants, writing the narrative part of the application is the most intimidating step. Preparation is key and should begin early. You want to build a strong case in your application by explaining how this new equipment or capability will enhance patient care and your agency’s response capabilities.

For grants like the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG), you should also focus on the health and safety of the first responders using this new equipment. Identify what the expected outcomes will be and explain the negative impacts if your project is not funded.

Pay attention to the “must have” items that can potentially eliminate you from the application process, such as a DUNS number, or NIMS and NFIRS requirements. Many resources are available to help guide you through drafting a successful narrative and sorting through the process. The resources on will provide you with direct links to utilities and information, grants basics, research, references and tools.

Grant funding to purchase EMS equipment is available to anyone willing to put in the time and effort to seek the right resources for assistance and apply. Here are just a few examples of what’s available:


Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG): The primary goal of AFG is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations. Priority for equipment requests is to replace old, non-compliant equipment or for first-time purchases.


Office of Emergency Management Homeland Security Grant Program: The Homeland Security Grant Program is a primary funding mechanism for building and sustaining national preparedness capabilities and comprises three interconnected grant programs:

  • State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)
  • Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)
  • Operation Stonegarden (OPSG)

Together, these programs fund a range of preparedness activities, including planning, organization, equipment purchases, training, exercises and management and administration.

Corporate Giving Programs

Private grant options will typically not fund your entire project cost, but they might be used to support a portion of the overall cost. Some examples include the Walmart Foundation, Georgia-Pacific Foundation and Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. Corporate grants are often limited to areas where the company has footing within the community.

Community Foundation Grant Programs and Civic Foundations

Writing a proposal directly to community foundations or civic foundations such as your local Kiwanis, Elks Club or church may yield sizeable results. These groups often provide funding for community projects.