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For Release: Friday, May 22, 2015

DEC Accepting Applications for $400,000 Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants

Funds to Assist Rural Fire Departments

Rural fire departments can now apply for $400,000 in Volunteer Fire Assistance grants, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The grants help rural fire departments enhance their wildfire fighting capabilities. The deadline for applications to the federally funded program is June 30.

"Fire departments in rural areas work diligently in their fire protection efforts, serving thousands of New Yorkers," Commissioner Martens said. "Rural fire departments pool resources with state Forest Rangers to fight wildfires that threaten local communities and natural resources. This grant program helps these communities prepare for the challenge of fighting wildfires."

The Volunteer Fire Assistance grant program is funded by the U.S. Forest Service and administered by DEC. If awarded, fire departments will receive 50/50 matching funds up to the amount of $1,500. Last year, the program allocated $400,000, which provided $1,000 grants to 400 fire departments. DEC received a federal appropriation of $400,000 for 2015.

Only expenses directly related to fire suppression efforts are eligible for funding.& These include the purchase of portable pumps, portable backpack pumps, hand tools, hoses, light-weight fireproof clothing (Nomex), hard hats, turnout gear, portable radios, generators and dry hydrants. Expenditures not directly related to firefighting, such as search and rescue, acquisition of land, construction of buildings and facilities, major apparatus purchases and maintenance items are not eligible for funding.

Eligible fire departments include those that serve a single town with a population under 10,000; those that serve multiple communities, one of which is a rural town of less than 10,000 residents; and fire departments in towns with a population of 10,000 or more that meet the requirements listed on the application. Fire departments that receive a grant award must complete all required grant paperwork by October 30, 2015.

For applications or further information about the grant program, contact DEC at (518) 402-8839, or write to NYSDEC, Division of Forest Protection, 625 Broadway 3rd Floor, Albany, NY, 12233-2560 or, visit the DEC website.

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