CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) foresters are delivering Volunteer Fire Assistance Program (VFA) matching funds grant checks to rural fire departments during July and August. Of the 177 fire departments receiving checks, 31 of those fire departments are in Missouri's southeast region.
The checks, which range in amounts of no greater than $4,000 are purposed to help the departments' purchase personal protective gear and firefighting equipment. The gear and equipment is used in fighting wildfire as well as in structure fire suppression efforts, according to Joe Garvey, forestry regional supervisor for the MDC's Southeast Region.
"These grants are an example our mission to work with communities and citizens to ensure our forests are around for the long haul," Garvey said.
The total funding awarded to Missouri fire departments through the VFA matching funds grant program this year is $378,665. Fire departments are required to match 50 percent of the funds which are provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S. Forest Service, Volunteer Fire Assistance Program.
Throughout the last 30 years, more than $7.5 million has been distributed to rural fire departments to help increase the safety of firefighters and provide better firefighting equipment.
Fire departments and protection districts in southeast Missouri that received matching funds grants are:
For more information on the Volunteer Fire Assistance Program, go online to www.mdc.mo.gov. For specific information on matching grants in your local area, contact your local fire department.