Dammeron Valley Fire & Rescue (DVFR) has been awarded a second Rural EMS Training Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the amount of $198,562. SAMHSA, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced the “Rural Emergency Services Training Grant” opportunity in March 2023. DVFR applied in May 2023, and the awards were announced on 31 August. The grant period will run from 30 September 2023 to 30 September 2024.
The award was announced on the day DVFR’s first Rural EMS Training Grant completed. The first award, granted in August 2022 for $169,516, funded two EMS Academies, including the acquisition of state-of-the-art training props and an online learning system used across the department. In addition to training 12 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and 12 Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians (AEMT) to the standards required for testing and certification with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), the grant provided funding for comprehensive mental health and substance use training for all members of DVFR and DVFR’s Academies.
“This second Rural EMS Training Grant is key to our mission of growing DVFR’s EMS response capabilities in Dammeron Valley and our surrounding communities,” stated DVFR Assistant Chief Colleen Homer, who leads DVFR’s EMS division. “This funding provides us the opportunity to increase the number of certified first responders on our roster and provides both an entry point for those seeking initial EMT certification and progressive training for existing EMTs wanting to advance their certifications.”
The Rural EMS Training Grant requires grantees to incorporate mental health and substance use training into the grant-funded curriculum. To fulfill this requirement, DVFR’s Public Information Officer, Hunter Wolfe, and Chaplain, Kim Doster, obtained national certifications from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing to deliver Adult Mental Health First Aid training to DVFR’s members and Academy candidates. “SAMHSA’s mission to improve outcomes for those experiencing mental health challenges or crisis supports DVFR’s objectives to improve patient outcomes across the wide variety of EMS calls we receive, many of which include mental health and substance use components.”
The new award will allow DVFR to maintain the momentum achieved with the first award with additional EMT and AEMT Academies offered in 2024 through the Dammeron Valley Fire & EMS Training Center. “This grant, which focusses on rural first response agencies, allows us to offer best-in-class EMS training to those wanting serve our rural communities.” Chief Homer finished, “We are thrilled to have the support and confidence of SAMHSA as we deliver a second year of high-quality instruction and demonstrated results with our EMS Academies.”