Application period for volunteer firefighter grant program open

Program aims to support Tennessee’s 575 volunteer fire Departments

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) announced that applications will be accepted starting Friday, Feb. 14 from volunteer fire departments for grants through the newly established Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant Program.

Created through legislation overseen by Gov. Bill Lee and passed by the General Assembly, the program earmarks $500,000 for the purchase of firefighting equipment by Tennessee’s volunteer fire departments or to help volunteer departments meet local match requirements for federal grants for purchasing equipment. Fire departments must hold a valid recognition from the SFMO and have a staff made up of at least 51% volunteers to apply. Grant proceeds may be used to purchase equipment used by a firefighter to extinguish fires and protect the life of a firefighter, other than fire trucks or vehicles.

“The backbone of fire safety in Tennessee is our volunteer fire departments, which are staffed by brave men and women who willingly give their time and sometimes, tragically, their lives to protect their communities,” said Tennessee State Fire Marshal and Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “This program supports Gov. Lee’s vision of strengthening Tennessee’s rural communities by providing more resources for our volunteer fire departments that help save lives and property.” 

The grant program joins ongoing lifesaving programs such as “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” and  “Close The Door!” while further expanding TDCI’s commitment to saving lives, protecting property and reducing fire fatalities in Tennessee.

Assistant Commissioner of Fire Prevention Gary Farley said, “As a lifelong member of the Tennessee fire service, I know the crucial importance of having reliable and effective equipment when responding to the scene of a fire. I am certain this program will help purchase equipment that will one day assist firefighters in saving the lives of homeowners and my fellow Tennessee firefighters.”

Members of the General Assembly who were instrumental in the bill’s passage voiced support for a program that will help strengthen Tennessee’s fire service. 

“Our volunteer firefighters are lifesavers,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville). “They embody courage and a selfless commitment to keep their neighbors safe. While they work hard to protect us, these grants will help modernize their equipment and get the training needed to protect them. I look forward to seeing the direct benefits of these grants on our communities.”

“I’m grateful the application has been approved and has been released,” said House Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville). “Now, we are able to fulfill the purpose of this grant program, sending resources to those volunteer firefighters most in need across our state.”

Applications received during the submission period will be scored internally and submitted to a seven member committee who will make the final decision and award selection. The committee is composed of three representatives from the Tennessee Fire Chief’s Association, three representatives from the Tennessee Firemen’s Association, and TDCI’s Assistant Commissioner of Fire Prevention. Per statute, the funds will be awarded equally among Tennessee’s Grand Divisions. 

Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. CT on Friday, March 27.For a full list of rules and an application form, visit our website.

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