Texas volunteer fire departments received more than $6 million in grants Wednesday through the Texas A&M Forest Service Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program.
In the last of two funding meetings for the fiscal year, the RVFDAP awarded 62 grants to 59 volunteer fire departments for firefighting vehicles, training and safety equipment.
“Volunteer fire departments make a tremendous difference all across this great state in our shared mission to protect life and property,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Capacity Building Department Head Jason Keiningham. “We must do whatever it takes to help them succeed.”
Texas A&M Forest Service has administered the grant program under the Texas Legislature since 2002, having awarded 1,768 fire engines, 69,243 pieces of protective clothing and 73,944 training tuitions since the program’s inception.
Although over $24 million has been awarded to Texas fire departments this year, the need for training, safety, equipment and vehicles is great, leaving over $193 million in requests outstanding.
In Texas, local fire departments are the first line of defense against disaster and more than 85 percent of our fire departments are volunteer. State funding helps maintain well-trained, safe and equipped firefighters.
“We are extremely excited, to receive a grant for a tender,” said Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Billy Vaden. “We will be better prepared to fight fires with this tender.”
The RVFDAP is one way Texas A&M Forest Service helps build the capacity of local fire departments.
The next funding meeting is scheduled for Nov. 1, 2017.
Established by the 77th Texas Legislature, RVFDAP, commonly known as House Bill 2604, provides funding to eligible volunteer fire departments. This grant program allows Texas A&M Forest Service to build capacity of Texas communities by providing funds to purchase life-saving equipment and training, including firefighter protective clothing, rescue equipment, dry-hydrants and firefighting vehicles.