GFFR requesting CDBG funds to purchase new ambulance

City Commissioners will be asked during their July 6 meeting to approved a Community Development Block Grant request from Great Falls Fire Rescue for the purchase of a new ambulance for Station 1.

The request is for $355,042 and staff is recommending approval.

Because CDBG funding has requirements to serve low to moderate income populations, the new ambulance would be housed at Station 1 downtown.

The CDBG program is through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and city staff consulted with the agency’s Denver officer to ensure the request was eligible.

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If the grant request is approved, commissioners will also be asked to approve the purchase of one 2020 E-451 Life-Line Ambulance from Hughes Fire Equipment of Spokane, Wash. for $288,668.

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GFFR has once ambulance currently has one ambulance based out of the Fox Farm station and that rig will stay put. According to GFFR, when that ambulance is out of service for maintenance or mechanical issues, “GFFR loses the capability of providing surge capacity transport of medical patients in our community.” The ambulance at the Fox Farm station will remain the primary surge capacity equipment, but “but with the ever increasing call volume in our community, we will have the availability to transport the citizens of Fire District 1 when no private ambulances are available to perform the work,” according to the staff report.

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The remaining CDBG funds will be used to purchase EMS equipment for the ambulance and there will be no impact to the city budget, according to GFFR.

The ambulance will be purchased through a cooperative purchasing agreement with Houston-Galveston Area Council, which the city is a member of since commissioners approved membership in 2015.