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For Release: Wednesday, May 25, 2011

DEC Accepting Applications for Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants

Funds to Assist Rural Fire Departments

Applications are now being accepted for federally-funded "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 is June 15.

"Fire departments in rural areas are the backbone of fire protection for thousands of New Yorkers," Commissioner Martens said. "Rural fire departments work with state Forest Rangers to fight wildfires that threaten our natural resources and these grants will help them prepare for the challenge of fighting wildfires."

The grant program is funded by the U.S. Forest Service and administered by DEC. Last year, the program allocated $466,000, which provided $1,000 grants to 466 fire departments. It is anticipated that the federal funding will be decreased for 2011.

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 companies include those that serve a single town with a population of 10,000 or less and those that serve multiple communities one of which is a rural town of less than 10,000 residents. Fire companies in towns with a population of 10,000 or more may be eligible if they meet the requirements listed on the application. Fire departments must provide half the cost of the project being funded. All funded projects should be completed by October 31, 2011.

Preference will be given to fire departments that have not received funding in the past five years under the Volunteer Fire Assistance/Rural Community Fire Protection Program.

For applications or further information about the grant program you may visit the DEC website, or contact DEC at (518) 402-8839, or write to NYSDEC, Division of Forest Protection, 625 Broadway 8th Floor, Albany, NY, 12233-2560.

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