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Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants

Program Overview

Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) funds are part of a national allotment for rural fire protection under the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, as amended by the Forest Stewardship Act of 1990. This program is in accordance with the National Fire Plan. Payments pursuant to this grant are subject to the annual appropriation of funds by the United States Congress. VFA grants are competitive, so established scoring guidelines are utilized to evaluate all grant applications.

Federal guidelines for VFA require that eligible fire departments must be in a town with a population of less than 10,000 according to the most recent census. The program will provide assistance for the prevention, control and suppression of fires, which threaten human life, livestock, crops, pastures, orchards, woodlands, farmsteads and other improvements.

Annually the Division of Forestry receives notification of available VFA funds through the U.S. Forest Service. Notification is normally received in late February. The Division of Forestry applies for these funds and at the same time eligible fire departments are notified. Applications are scored and fire departments are notified after final approval of the grant request. These funds are a matching 50% reimbursable grant with a maximum cap of $2,500.

Criteria in the scoring of applications include the number of calls the department responded to during the previous year, the Town's Insurance Rating, whether there is a plan in place to reduce (improve) their insurance rating, grand list, percentage of the fire department budget that is paid for by town taxes and recent history of receiving the VFA grants.

Eligibility for the VFA Grant Program
  • Provide funding for projects involving training, prevention and equipment purchases.  Projects may be for prevention, control and suppression of fire. Projects do not have to be wildfire related. Medical and rescue purchases are not eligible.
  • Total population of the town that the fire department serves must be under 10,000 people per the most recent census.
  • Local funds must be available at the time of application.
  • Fire Departments must show proof of purchases.
Items eligible for the VFA Grant Program include
  • Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)
  • Protective clothing, turn out gear, nomex
  • Training and necessary equipment
  • Communication equipment
  • Prevention materials
  • Hose, suction hose, nozzles, adapters - all water handling equipment
  • Skid or slide in units
  • Foam proportioners, nozzles, Compressed Air Foam Systems

The application period for the 2020 Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Program runs through July 15, 2020.  Review the program eligibility requirements prior to submitting an application.  2020 Volunteer Fire Assistance Program Application - VFA 2020 Application

For more information, please contact: 

Kevin Grady
CT DEEP Forester
Phone: 860-455-0699

Content last updated May 2020