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Rural Texas volunteer fire departments receive $1.3M in grants

Over 70 departments were awarded funding from the Texas A&M Forest Service


Weatherford Democrat

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Silver Creek Volunteer Fire Department was among more than 70 departments to receive awards totaling roughly $1.3 million from the Texas A&M Forest Service.

TAFS last week held the second of three funding meetings for FY 2024 for its Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program.

Grant funding from the program will help Texas rural volunteer fire department recipients from this allocation purchase equipment such as dry hydrants, fire and rescue equipment, personal protective equipment and training aids.

Silver Creek VFD received $20,000 for personal protective equipment.

Tuesday’s funding meeting continued the program’s purpose of assisting eligible volunteer fire departments in Texas.

“We work diligently to utilize all available program funds to assist fire departments in acquiring the necessary equipment and training to allow them to better protect life and property across the state of Texas,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Capacity Building Department Head Jason Keiningham. “We’re proud to do everything in our power to help our partners in the fire service.”

The grants are applied for and distributed through Texas A&M Forest Service’s FireConnect website, providing Texas A&M Forest Service and rural volunteer fire departments with a streamlined grant portal and process.

The final funding meeting for fiscal year 2024 is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 14.

The Rural VFD Assistance Program, launched in 2001, provides grants to rural VFDs for firefighting vehicles, fire/rescue equipment, protective clothing, dry hydrants and firefighter training. Since its inception, the program has awarded more than $350 million to volunteer fire departments in Texas, including its award of more than $15 million to rural VFDs in October 2023. The Texas Legislature has allocated approximately $22 million to Texas A&M Forest Service for the fiscal year 2024 to award rural VFDs.

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