COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M Forest Service awarded 260 rural volunteer fire departments with more than $15.7 million in assistance grants last week through the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Grant Program.
“Our agency is very thankful to state leadership for allowing us the opportunity to assist volunteer fire departments in Texas,” said Jason Keiningham, Texas A&M Forest Service Capacity Building Department Head. “Without question, volunteer fire departments in Texas are among the best in the nation, and they make a huge difference in the lives of people on their worst days.”
The funds from these grants will reimburse rural volunteer fire departments for equipment purchased such as fire trucks, training aids, slip-ons and chassis and various fire and rescue equipment. This includes the purchase of 70 fire trucks.
“We have a shared mission to protect life and property, and therefore, it is our wish for our first responders to be equipped and well-trained to handle a wide array of emergencies,” said Keiningham.
The rural volunteer fire department grants are applied for and distributed through Texas A&M Forest Service’s recently released FireConnect tool, providing both Texas A&M Forest Service and rural volunteer fire departments with a streamlined grant process portal.
Created in 2002, the Texas Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program provides funding to rural volunteer fire departments for the acquisition of firefighting vehicles, fire and rescue equipment, protective clothing, dry-hydrants, computer systems and firefighter training. The assistance program is a cost-share program funded by the Texas State Legislature.
Texas Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program is currently funded to award $21 million to rural volunteer fire departments this year. Since its inception, the program has allocated more than $336 million to rural volunteer fire departments.
Volunteer fire departments interested in applying for future grants can explore grant processes and opportunities here: FireConnect.