Funds help Tennessee fire departments upgrade equipment
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) announces that 41 Tennessee volunteer fire departments were selected to receive funding through the Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant Program, including eight Upper Cumberland rural fire departments.
The program, which was created through legislation overseen by Gov. Bill Lee and approved by the Tennessee General Assembly, earmarked $500,000 for the purchase of firefighting equipment by Tennessee’s volunteer fire departments or to help volunteer departments meet local matching requirements for federal grants for purchasing equipment.
“This program was created by Governor Lee and the General Assembly in order to help Tennessee’s volunteer fire departments be better equipped to serve their communities and potentially reduce tragic fire fatalities,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Hodgen Mainda. “I believe the equipment purchased through this program will one day help save lives and make Tennessee safer. I commend the Tennessee fire service for their bravery and their commitment to serving Tennessee communities.”
The majority of Tennessee’s firefighters are volunteers. The 22,065 active firefighters that have been reported to the SFMO consist of 14,218 (64.4%) volunteers and 7,847 (35.6%) career firefighters.
During the application period (Feb. 14 – March 27), the SFMO received over 170 applications from Tennessee fire departments. The applications were scored internally and submitted to a seven-member committee which made the final decision and award selection. Per statute, funds will be awarded equally to fire departments across Tennessee’s three Grand Divisions.
Upper Cumberland departments receiving funds are Nameless Volunteer Fire Department, Moss Volunteer Fire Department, East 52 Fire Department, Flynns Lick Volunteer Fire Department, Fentress County Fire Department, Hermitage Springs Volunteer Fire Department and Mt. Vernon Volunteer Fire Department. The full list of fire departments chosen by the committee to receive funding can be found here.
“Having the latest equipment is crucial to protecting the lives of firefighters,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner of Fire Prevention TDCI Gary Farley. “As a member of the fire service, I am proud to be associated with a program that is helping protect Tennessee firefighters who risk their lives every day for their communities.”
Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville), who were instrumental in the bill’s passage, praised the program as well as the Tennessee fire service’s dedication to serving their communities.
“Our firefighters put their lives on the line for our communities every single day,” said Bell, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Just as they keep us safe every day, we need to make sure our volunteer fire departments have the resources they need to do their job safely and effectively. These grants will aid in these efforts by helping secure the equipment, training, and support they need. They will have a real and lasting impact on the safety of our communities. I hope to see many more of these grants awarded in the years to come.”
“These grant dollars will enhance support of the lifesaving services provided by our 41 award recipients across the state,” said Hill, who is the chairman of the House Commerce Committee. “Congratulations to all of our volunteer fire departments that were selected to receive the funds. I am pleased this program and its resources are now available so Tennessee’s volunteer firefighters most in need have access to additional resources that will help them better address unique needs within their communities.”