A highly successful state loan program to assist first responders is changing with the times under legislation (S.3728B) signed into law yesterday. The legislation was sponsored by Senator James Seward and increases the amounts of allowable loans under the emergency services loan fund.

Seward was the author of legislation in the 1990s creating the state emergency services revolving loan fund, which has awarded 439 loans worth more than $53 million since 1995 to fire and ambulance companies, municipalities and fire districts for equipment and capital improvements. The loans are repaid, with payments being recycled into new loans for eligible fire companies and districts.
In 2004, the size of the fund was expanded and new maximum loan amounts were established. The Seward legislation again boosts loan parameters to account for inflation and help departments with equipment purchases and other necessary upgrades. For example, the allowable loan amount for the purchase of protective or communication equipment will increase from $100,000 to $200,000, while the allowable loan amount for the purchase of an ambulance or rescue vehicle will rise from $150,000 to $225,000.