Fire departments can, and should, apply for other
grants besides the FIRE grant. Fire departments can use all the hard
work they put into their FIRE grant applications to fill out other
Below is a listing of many sources of grants that
fire departments can qualify for, but don't be limited by these.
The federal government gives out billions of dollars
in grants, but so do private groups.
Last year 47,000 private foundations gave out $15.5
billion for programs in health, human services, education and public
benefit, and fire departments can qualify in several different ways in
these categories. Many foundations also support volunteerism, and
volunteer fire departments can take advantage of that angle.
Another usually untapped source of money is local
civic clubs. Groups like the Rotary, Lions and Elks may agree to help
their local fire department, and even if it's not a large sum of money,
it can help a small department get what it needs.
But the federal government is still the reliable old
standby, pumping out millions of dollars every year.
Here are federal grant programs that fire departments
might tap into:
Other Non-Federal grant programs
There are several different grant programs in the
National Fire Plan under several different federal agencies, all under
the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. The U.S. Forest
Service has grant programs to help volunteer and combination fire
departments across the country, even if they are not near Forest Service
land. Start planning now for next year's allotment.
$75 million was available in 2002 in State Fire
Assistance - grants that go to states and are funneled down to the
fire departments to build fire fighting preparedness. The money goes
to training and personal protective equipment. Fire departments must
apply to their state to get this money.
$13.2 million was available for Volunteer Fire
Assistance - money also funneled through states to volunteer
departments to buy equipment, conduct training and to help new
departments get started. Departments must apply to their states.
$5 million was available for Community Assistance
and Economic Action for communities to do wildfire risk assessments
and help themselves build buffer space to stop wildfires from burning
homes and businesses. This program is aimed at communities with less
than 10,000 people.
Four other federal agencies in the Department of
the Interior had another $10 million in the Rural Fire Assistance
program. Fire departments must serve communities near federal land
controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service,
Fish and Wildlife Service or Bureau of Indian Affairs to qualify for a
$20,000 grant for training, equipment or fire prevention. Departments
must apply to their local federal office in the BLM, Park Service,
Fish and Wildlife, or BIA.
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
States (and cities with more than 50,000 people) apply for CDBG grants
under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but the fire
department can often qualify for the money that will be passed on to local
communities. Most of the money that goes to fire departments is to build
or improve fire stations. In most states the Commerce Department or other
similar office is the contact point for applying in the larger cities,
city governments run the CDBG programs. For more information go to:
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program
The USDA's Rural Housing Service and Community Facilities Grant program
can pay up to 75% of costs for fire and rescue buildings and equipment
under certain circumstances. The grants are designed to make essential
community services available in rural areas with populations under 20,000.
Grant amounts depend on median household income and population.
Departments should apply to their USDA Rural Development field office or
state office or check:
Volunteer Fire Assistance Program
The purpose of the Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Program, formerly
known as the Rural Community Fire Protection (RCFP) Program under the U.S.
Forest Service, is to provide federal financial, technical, and other
assistance to state foresters to train and equip fire departments in rural
areas and rural communities to prevent and suppress fires. The state
forester passes the money along to the fire departments.
Departments must serve a community with 10,000 or less population. This
10,000 population limit helps gat available VFA funding to the most needy
fire departments. Most grants will be less than $5,000. Funding must be
matched on a 50-50 basis by non-federal dollars or in-kind, and can be
used for fire equipment, training and start-up organization of fire
Contact your state forester. For a list go to:
State, County and Municipal Agency Domestic Preparedness Equipment
The office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice provides
funding to the states and local governments to equip fire and emergency
medical services, law enforcement agencies, and hazardous materials units
to respond to weapons of mass destruction terrorist incident.
Office of Justice Programs
Department of Justice
810-7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20531
Indian Community Fire Protection
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) provides funds for fire protection
services for Indian Tribal Governments that do not receive fire protection
support from state or local government. Funds may be used to support
staff, train volunteer firefighters, repair existing fire fighting
equipment, and purchase additional equipment.
Office of Tribal Service
Bureau of Indian Affairs
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
Tel: (202) 208-3463
For More Information
New grant programs may spring up down the road that are not listed here
or your department may have special circumstances that qualify it for
other federal grants. For fire department leaders who want to do a little
grant research , there are two helpful web sites:
Check out the Federal Emergency Management Agency's list of grants at :
Also check out the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at:
http://www.cfda.gov It's a huge list of
grants for all kinds of agencies and groups, but it can be searched, and
may be especially helpful for fire departments with special circumstances
Fire departments can also get a free book, "Funding Alternatives for
Fire and Emergency Services" manual from the U.S. Fire Administration at:
Council on Foundations
The Minnesota Council on Foundations produces the
Guide to Minnesota Grant makers, a directory of foundation and
corporate grant making programs. They are dedicated to helping
non-profit organizations identify potential partners and financial
supporters to help sustain and improve Minnesota communities. For more
information about their organization, visit their website at
www.mcf.org or call them at