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Grants to Kentucky Fire Departments to Enhance Services in Rural Communities

Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Grant Program

GrantWatch ID# 180543
Agency: State

Funding Source
Commonwealth of Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC)
Kentucky Division of Forestry
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Kentucky

Important Dates
Deadline: 03/17/23 4:30 PM EST Receipt Save

Grant Description
Grants of up to $5,000 to Kentucky fire departments to increase the capacity to serve rural communities throughout the state. Funding is intended to improve fire protection in communities with populations of up to 10,000 people. Grants may be used to purchase items such as training materials, Nomex clothing, pumps, hoses, tanks, fire shelters, small fire suppression equipment, and personal protective equipment.

Program Objectives:

  • Organize, train, and equip fire departments in unprotected rural areas and rural communities;
  • Assist qualifying fire departments in saving lives and protecting property in unprotected or inadequately protected rural communities;
  • Prevent or reduce loss of life, protect financial investments, and enhance environmental quality to revitalize rural America;
  • Increase the opportunity for rural fire departments to acquire training and current information on fire prevention techniques.

Examples of VFA Projects:

  • Conversion of FEPP/FFP vehicles and UTV/ATV to water tenders, engines, brush trucks, and equipment trucks.
  • Purchase of wildland fire prevention/education or training material.
  • Purchase of wildland fire fighting Nomex (yellow jumpsuits, yellow shirts, green pants).
  • Purchase of wildland fire equipment and supplies to enhance wildland suppression capabilities.
  • Upgrade inter-department radio communications system, including mobile and handheld radios, base stations, and repeaters.


  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria
- A single fire department serving a rural area or a rural community with a population of 10,000 or less (latest Census) may qualify.
- A single fire department that is currently using the National Integrated Incident Management System (NIIMS).
- Area fire departments (fire districts, townships, etc.) may serve an aggregate population of greater than 10,000 as long as the service area of the fire department includes a rural area or a rural community having a population of 10,000 or less. The VFA funding must be used to benefit the rural population.
- A single county or town with a population over 10,000 that is served by two or more fire districts operating entirely within the bounds of the county or town may qualify as long as the service area of a given fire department includes a rural area, a rural community, or the population of the fire department’s jurisdiction is 10,000 or less. The VFA funding must be used for the rural area.
- A single community with a population greater than 10,000 and having a single fire department with one or more fire stations may qualify. The fire department must have a service area that includes a rural area or community that does not exceed 10,000 in population. The VFA funding must be used only for the benefit of the rural population.
- A single community with a population greater than 10,000 may also be eligible provided the VFA funding is used entirely to support the rural community.
- A single community fire department serving a rural population greater than 10,000 and not providing protection to a rural area or to a rural community is not eligible for VFA financial assistance.
- A single community fire department that is at least 80% volunteer.

VFA funding is not authorized for:
- A single piece of equipment with a purchase value of $5,000 or more.
- No trucks, cars, ATVs, or utility-type vehicles.
- Capital improvements such as fire stations or pressurized water systems.
- Land acquisitions.
- Medical equipment.
- Fire hose greater than 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
- Items not used in the suppression or protection from wildland fire.
- Turn-out gear/ Bunker gear, structural boots, structural gloves, structural hardhats, and face shields.
- Extrication-type equipment and PPE, including dual-use extrication equipment.
- Cut off saws/ rescue saws, and rescue saw blades.

Pre-Application Information
Grant proposals must be received at the Headquarters of the Kentucky Division of Forestry by 4:30 PM EST on March 17, 2023.

The Director will notify grantees of funding approval by July 1, 2023.

The grantee must match the amount awarded by providing at least 50 percent of the total project cost.

All fire departments are required to obtain a Vendor Code number from the Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of the Controller for the fire department. Information and the application needed to obtain this number can be found in the Vendor Registration Application document in Supporting Documents, below.

Estimated Size of Grant
Grant funds ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 are available through a 50/50 reimbursement system.

Term of Contract
Grants will be assigned a start date (TBD), and an ending date of June 1, 2024.

Contact Information
Submit applications to:
Kentucky ​Division of Forestry
VFA Grant Program
300 Sower Blvd
Frankfort, KY 40601

Direct questions to:
Mike Harp, Rural Fire Suppression Technical Advisor

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