Guam gets $210K in DOI funding to buy advanced life support vehicles

(the funding will enable GFD to purchase more advanced life support vehicles. (File photo courtesy of Guam Fire Department)

The Government of Guam has been awarded $210,000 by the Department of the Interior to purchase two new Advanced Life Support (ALS) vehicles for the Guam Fire Department (GFD). The federal funding is for projects under the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) Technical Assistance Program (TAP).

GFD’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Bureau responds on average to 12,500 calls annually, often requiring ALS intervention. The past year has seen a rise in emergency calls for ALS services with individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, including difficulty breathing, body weakness, and chest pains.

“Emergency Medical Technicians and First Responders continue to fight COVID-19 on the frontlines. Keeping our people safe is paramount, and we’ll continue efforts to ensure GFD has the tools and resources to help save lives. These purchases will complement our first cohort of paramedics expected to graduate from the Guam Community College with nationally recognized certifications later this year,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero.

ALS vehicles are equipped with airway support, cardiac life support, and cardiac monitors allowing paramedics and EMTs to start IV, administer medications, and give injections to help stabilize a patient en route to the hospital.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen the impact COVID-19 has had on our island, including the elevated level of care our frontliners provide for patients with life-threatening symptoms. This funding will provide GFD with reliable emergency response vehicles that will enhance capabilities well into the coming years,” said Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio.

Additional ALS vehicles will also allow GFD more time to disinfect vehicles after use and still provide services, minimizing down-time to fulfill GFD’s lifesaving mission.

The $210,000 grant is part of an over $8.7 million TAP grant recently awarded to help Guam prepare, prevent, and respond to COVID-19 in the areas of health, safety, and addressing Guam’s homeless population.