62 Tennessee Volunteer Fire Departments Chosen to Receive Equipment Grants$1 Million Total Will Support Tennessee Volunteer Fire Departments
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) proudly announce that 62 Tennessee volunteer fire departments will receive grants as part of the $1 million Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant Program.
Created through legislation overseen by Governor Bill Lee and approved by the Tennessee General Assembly, the program awards $1 million total to Tennessee’s volunteer fire departments in all three Grand Divisions. The grants will be used to purchase firefighting equipment or to help departments meet local matching requirements for federal equipment grants.
“I’ve traveled across Tennessee and personally met many of the brave men and women who serve their communities as volunteer firefighters. I have seen the pressing needs faced by Tennessee’s volunteer firefighters who continue to steadfastly serve their communities. They show great courage and bravery despite using often aging equipment that needs to be replaced,” said TDCI Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Carter Lawrence. “I commend Governor Lee and the General Assembly for having the vision to launch this program in 2020 and then increase the program’s funding from $500,000 in 2020 to $1 million in 2022 in order to increase the assistance to volunteer fire departments. Lives will be saved and property protected because of the equipment purchased through this program.”
During the program’s inaugural year in 2020, 41 departments were awarded $500,000 for equipment purchases through the program. A list of the 62 fire departments receiving grant money in 2022 can be found here.
The grant program strengthens Governor Lee and the SFMO’s commitment to protecting property and reducing fire fatalities in Tennessee.
Volunteer fire departments are crucial to providing fire safety in Tennessee as over 75% of the Volunteer State’s fire departments are staffed entirely by volunteers. Of Tennessee’s 19,510 active firefighters, an estimated 11,229 are volunteers.
“Volunteer fire departments are the backbone of fire protection in our communities,” said Assistant Commissioner for Fire Prevention Gary Farley. “As a lifelong member of the fire service, I am proud to be associated with a program that is helping protect Tennessee firefighters who risk their lives every day for their communities.”
During the application period (Jan. 18 – Feb. 28, 2022), the SFMO received 172 applications from Tennessee fire departments. The applications were reviewed, scored, and submitted to a seven-member committee for the final award selection. As required by law, the grants were awarded equally to fire departments across Tennessee’s three Grand Divisions.
Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) praised the program as well as the Tennessee fire service’s dedication to serving their communities.
“Every single day, Tennessee firefighters put their lives on the line for their communities,” said Senator Bell, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We must do our part to ensure our volunteer fire departments have the modern resources and equipment they need to save lives and safely return to their families. The grants distributed through the State Fire Marshal’s program will aid in helping secure the equipment, training, and support firefighters need to have a real and lasting impact on our communities.”