Where to look for EMS grant opportunities

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By Janet Smith

After giving a presentation on applying for and receiving EMS grant funding at last week’s EMS EXPO trade show, an attendee noted in his evaluation, “I would have liked to have seen some more specific places to search for EMS grants.”

Well, he’s in luck. Our EMS Grants Help leadership group recently conducted a quick seminar for all its grant writers outlining the process for researching grants, so I have some great information — without giving away any company secrets.

Where to look
Where do they find all those wonderful grants? First, let me say, it’s not complicated. Rather, it’s overwhelming to wade through a sea of Internet searches and bookmark pages, check demographics, and consider geographic restrictions to find grant opportunities.

It takes time, some imagination and occasionally money since there can be a fee to search on certain websites. Regardless, you should keep an open mind and adopt a willing flexibility to tweak your EMS agency’s “ask” to fit an opportunity while still getting what you need.

The process can be mind boggling, and that’s why having the EMS Grants Help research staff there from the start saves time, energy and aggravation. They search, match opportunities with an EMS agency’s particular needs, and provide contact numbers and follow-up assistance to help y7ou find the perfect opportunity. And, if you choose to go at it alone, here are a few tips.

Get on Google
Start first on the EMS Grants Help website. There are numerous and new opportunities posted on a regular basis.

If you’re not paying for access to the big grant clearing houses, then almost every grant research project will begin on Google. So, get good at using the Google search tools by, yes, Googling “Using Google search operators” and “How to search on Google.”

Pay close attention to any instruction regarding key words and filters so that your search is broad enough to keep you innovative, but narrow enough to save you time.

  • GrantSpace.com offers instructions for finding private funding as opposed to government grants.
  • American Fact Finder will help you discover whether or not your particular service area’s demographics meet a particular grant’s requirements. It will also help you accurately describe your service area and its documented idiosyncrasies.
  • Google maps will help you search the distances that are often mentioned in grant eligibility requirements for grants that only fund within a certain amount of miles from the funding source.
  • Grants.gov is an excellent source for government grants. However, search broadly on this site since a lot of EMS opportunities cross over between public safety, highway safety, violence prevention, transportation, trauma prevention, and other fields.. Also, don’t forget to use key word synonyms when your initial search doesn’t produce good results.

Other government grant resources:

  • The Office of Justice Grants
  • Office of Violence Against Women
  • FEMA Preparedness/Non Disaster
  • NHTSA Highway Safety Grant Uniform Guidance

States are getting strict about which grants can be funded by the Office of Traffic Safety.

However, more EMS grant monies are available for extrication equipment than for other public safety agencies like police or fire. Keep in mind that requests to the Office of Traffic Safety for more than $5,000 per unit are looked at with more scrutiny. Also remember that traffic light preemption equipment grants are most likely funded through STIP grants (Surface Transportation Improvement).

Ok, so that’s it for now. This is a good starting place for you brave souls who will take the path less followed, but may lead to great personal satisfaction when you find and receive funding for your agency’s next big project.

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