FY2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act: What does this mean for your agency?

Breaking down significant updates to grant programs and next steps for obtaining funding


This December, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed the FY2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 133). Along with COVID-19 relief, this also includes funding for the federal government until Sept. 20, 2021. But, what does this mean for EMS agencies? Many first responders do not have the availability to comb through the 5,000 plus page document. However, EMS agencies should take note; below is a breakdown of significant updates to grant programs and funding sources, and their previous funding levels:

Assistance to Firefighters Grant (FEMA)

From (FY20) $319.5 Million

This December, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed the FY2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 133). Along with COVID-19 relief, this also includes funding for the federal government until Sept. 20, 2021.
This December, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed the FY2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 133). Along with COVID-19 relief, this also includes funding for the federal government until Sept. 20, 2021. (Photo/Getty Images)

To (FY21) $360 Million

Description: (Currently open) The AFG enhances the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire-related hazards. This funding is for critically needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards. Fire departments, non-affiliated EMS organizations, and state fire training academies are eligible to apply.

New to AFG: Authorization for FEMA Administrator to waive the local match requirement for the AFG grants and the maintenance of expenditure requirements.

Rural Emergency Medical Services Training Grant (SAMHSA)

From (FY20) $5 Million

To (FY21) $5.5 Million

Description: (Currently open) SIREN Act

  • Provide initial and re-certification training for EMS personnel
  • Train EMS personnel on caring for patients with mental and substance use disorders during emergency situations
  • Acquire EMS equipment for training purposes
  • Obtain naloxone and training EMS personnel on the administration of naloxone

Additionally, there are a few other changes that EMS agencies should pay close attention. As part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, Health and Human Services’ Public Health and Social Services Emergency fund received an additional $3 billion in grants for hospitals and healthcare providers. Hospitals and providers are to be reimbursed for, “healthcare related expenses or lost revenue directly attributable to the public health emergency resulting from coronavirus.”

Also, an additional $250 million was appropriated to the FCC for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program that was authorized under the CARES Act.

Finally, an extension of the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which extends the date by which state and local governments must make expenditures with CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund awards, was extended to Dec. 31, 2021. These funds can be utilized for a number of COVID-19 response, recovery and planning efforts.

Next steps in obtaining grant funding

There are steps you can take to plan for FY21:

  • Contact your city or county government to determine if there are any remaining funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund
  • If there are remaining funds, inquire about the request for funds process
  • Follow, awarding agencies’ websites or social media accounts for updates on their grant programs
  • The Assistance to Firefighters Grant, at the FY20 funding level, and the Rural Emergency Medical Services Training Grant are currently open for applications. Take this time to apply to or familiarize yourself with the application.

Read next: CARES Act and grant funding: How it will benefit local fire and EMS response

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