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Grants to Kentucky Volunteer Fire Departments in Rural Areas for Disaster Relief Efforts

21’ Tornado and 22’ Flooding Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Grant

GrantWatch ID# 207539
Agency: State

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

Geographic Focus
USA: Kentucky

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

Grant Description
Grants of up to $5,000 and in-kind technical support to Kentucky rural fire departments in eligible communities for assistance in the wake of natural disasters. Funding is intended to assist volunteer fire departments in communities with a population of fewer than 10,000 people that have been impacted by flooding and tornados. Eligible equipment purchases include Nomex clothing, pumps, hoses, tanks, fire shelters, small fire suppression equipment, and wildland personal protective equipment.

The program's objective is to improve the capability and effectiveness of Kentucky’s rural volunteer fire departments that have been negatively impacted by the tornados and flooding that occurred in 2021 and 2022. This will be accomplished through organizing, training, and equipping local firefighters for fire protection in rural areas, including communities of 10,000 persons or less. 

Program Objectives:

  • Organize, train, and equip fire departments in unprotected rural areas and rural communities for suppression of wildland fires.
  • 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 wildland fire prevention techniques.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Rural fire departments in communities with a population of 10,000 persons or less that have been negatively affected by the recent tornados and flooding may apply.

- A single fire department that has been negatively affected by the recent tornados and flooding.
- A single fire department serving a rural area or a rural community with a the 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 in population may also be eligible provided the VFA funding is used entirely to support the rural community.
- A single community fire department that is at least 80% volunteer.

All fire departments with a 501C3 status must include an IRS Determination letter with grant submittal.

This cost-share program is not intended to be a substitute for existing funding levels. The focus of this program is to support new initiatives that would not otherwise occur without grant funds.

A single community fire department serving a 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.

VFA funding is not authorized for:
- A single piece of equipment with a purchase value of $5,000.00 or more.
- No trucks, cars, ATV’s, UAVs, or utility type vehicles.
- Capital improvements such as fire stations or pressurized water
- Land acquisitions.
- Medical equipment.
- Fire hose greater than 2½ inch 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 duel use extrication
- Cut off saws/rescue saws, rescue saw blades.

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

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

Grants are currently available on an annual basis and applications are generally available during the first quarter of the calendar year.

This is a cost-share grant. The federal government and the grantee share the total cost of the project. Funds are awarded on a 50/50 matching basis. The grantee must match the amount awarded by providing at least 50 percent of the total project cost. The grantee’s share of the match must be in either cash or in-kind services. The grantee’s share cannot come from a federal source, and the grant cannot be used as a match for any other federal cost-share project.

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

Term of Contract
Once the Memorandum of Agreement is returned and finalized within the date guidelines, grants will be assigned an official start date (TBD), and an ending date of June 1, 2024.

Contact Information
Applications must be received at:
The Kentucky Division of Forestry
300 Sower Blvd.
Frankfort, KY 40601

If you have any questions, please contact Michael Harp, Rural Fire Technical Advisor, at (502) 782-7164 or

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