196 Tennessee Volunteer Fire Departments Share $10 Million in State Funding
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (“TDCI”) and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (“SFMO”) proudly announce that 196 Tennessee volunteer fire departments will receive grants totaling $10 million in 2024 through the Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant Program.
Created through legislation overseen by Governor Bill Lee and approved by the Tennessee General Assembly, the Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant Program provides grant monies to volunteer fire departments across Tennessee’s three Grand Divisions. The grants are used by volunteer departments to purchase firefighting equipment or help meet local matching requirements for federal equipment grants.
Since the program’s launch in 2020, grants totaling $16.5 million have been provided to nearly 300 Tennessee volunteer fire departments. The allocation of $10 million in 2024 represents the largest amount yet for this vital, lifesaving program.
“Governor Lee and the General Assembly are committed to helping departments get the funding they need to help keep their firefighters safe,” said TDCI Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Carter Lawrence. “It is my honor to help serve the Tennessee fire service so that they can save lives and protect property across Tennessee.”
Volunteer fire departments are crucial to providing fire safety in Tennessee as over 70% 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, and it is crucial that they have the equipment they need to safely complete their mission,” 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.”
During the application period (Nov. 1 – Nov. 30, 2023), the SFMO received 301 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.