Tuscaloosa County EMA to Apply for $500,000 Mobile Emergency Response Unit
The Tuscaloosa County EMA was granted authorization by the Tuscaloosa County Commission to apply for a a grant that would fund the purchase of a new mobile medical outreach unit for emergency response teams in West Alabama.
The max $500,000 award comes from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Community Development Block Grant CV Program (ADECA CDBG-CV). That would cover the approximate $211,000 cost to purchase the mobile unit (approx $183,482), as well as a new vehicle to tow it: a Ford F250 3/4 Ton 4x4 Crew Cab Towing Package (approx. $27,572)
Applications open November 1.
Tuscaloosa County EMA Director Nick Lolley addressed the Commission Wednesday to plead his case, citing EMA's in other counties throughout the state that have similar units including Jefferson, Calhoun, Colbert and Jackson Counties.
"This will be a good thing for the citizens of the county, especially during the bad year our citizens had to endure," he said. "I think our citizens in Tuscaloosa County deserve the best. We don't have this now, I think this would be great for them."
The interior of the approximately 31-foot trailer will be divided into four areas:
- Conference Room - seats seven people, and has a pocket door for privacy
- Workstations - four workstations with task chairs/8kwh generator with outdoor outlets and shade awnings
- Kitchenette Area - includes refrigerator, microwave and Keurig
Lolley said the design is not final, but the current schematics include everything the Tuscaloosa EMA will need when they go out into the field.
"Our employees will have a place to stay... This gives us a place to get out of the weather or things like that," he said.
With this new trailer, the County EMA will be able to more easily reach previously inaccessible areas within Tuscaloosa County, with more on-hand resources to better provide medical and disaster assistance to residents.
Lolley mentioned that the most immediate use for the truck would likely be to help register individuals and administer COVID-19 booster shots to unreached areas within the county.
In addition to the new truck and trailer, the Tuscaloosa County EMA would also use these funds to purchase a new ambulance for roughly $240,000, getting closer to that $500,000 max allotment. The specific model features a detachable back carriage, meaning it could be removed and placed on a new chassis regularly after a period of several years.
This new ambulance would therefore have a much longer lifespan than existing vehicles.
Lolley said the turnaround time for ordering the ambulance would be roughly six months, longer than expected. The next time the Tuscaloosa County EMA will hear about the grant award will be near the start of next year.