A fair amount of confusion shrouds the AEL and the SEL—what these two lists are and what their combined purpose is. First, neither of these equipment lists are composed of commercially available products. Instead, they’re similar lists of generic product types, so you won’t find a specific product on them, such as the Masimo Rad-57 Pulse CO-Oximeter. What you’ll find is entry number 09ME-03-BCNI, a Non-Invasive Blood Chemistry Monitor. Beyond that, what you find will depend on which list you’re reviewing.
Authorized Equipment List (AEL): This list is produced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is used to determine which types of equipment can be purchased under the major Homeland Security grants (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/grants_equipment.htm). Fifteen grant programs are currently covered by the AEL, such as the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS), and Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC). The information you’ll find on the AEL will usually be limited to a broad description and grant allowability information.
Sticking to the examples used so far, you would find the Non-Invasive Blood Chemistry Monitor mentioned above may be an allowable purchase with MMRS grant funds, but not allowable under the LETPP or the PSIC. This makes sense. Such products aren’t normally used for law enforcement and they certainly aren’t interoperable communications equipment. The use of the word "may" earlier was intentional. These federal grant programs are administered by the states, and the states distribute them in ways consistent with their overall homeland security plan. Applications for these grants should be prepared in consultation with your State Administrative Agencies. Your state's (SAA) State Administrative Agency contact information can be found online at www.fema.gov/government/grant/saa/index.shtm .
Standardized Equipment List (SEL): This list is written by the InterAgency Board (IAB) for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability (www.iab.gov). The IAB is a group of federal government representatives and senior-level emergency responders from all disciplines who meet three times a year to update and consider additions to the list.
Because the IAB doesn’t control federal grant money, this list doesn’t contain any grant allowability information. However, it does contain details about each type of equipment for potential buyers. These are listed under the headings "Important Features" and "Operating Considerations."
Again, using the Non-Invasive Blood Chemistry Monitor example, the list provides such information as batteries required, training necessary to interpret instrument data, decontamination of probes and options for multiple functions in one unit. Although these are two different lists with different purposes, there’s a great deal of overlap in the equipment types covered. Conveniently, equipment types are identically numbered on both lists. For example, 09ME-03-BCNI is a Non-Invasive Blood Chemistry Monitor whether you’re looking at the AEL or the SEL. Interactive versions of both the AEL and the SEL can be found on the Responder Knowledge Base (RKB) site at www.rkb.us. The RKB site allows you to display the lists together, so you can view the DHS grant allowability information and the IAB’s helpful hints at the same time.
If you still have questions about either of these lists or their application, you can contact the RKB by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 877/336-2752.