MDC awards $338,490 in grants to 156 fire departments

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces grant awards totaling $338,490 to 156 rural fire departments in Missouri as part of the Department’s annual Volunteer Fire Assistance Matching Grant Program. The grants help these small-town, mostly volunteer fire departments buy personal protective gear and firefighting equipment.

“Rural fire departments that apply for the grants can receive up to $4,000 in grant funds from the Conservation Department and U.S. Forest Service to reimburse equipment costs specifically related to wildfire suppression,” said MDC Forestry Field Programs Supervisor Ben Webster. “To receive grant funds, fire departments must match every dollar they’re granted.”

To qualify for the program, fire departments must serve a population of 10,000 or fewer people. The program is designed to help them purchase equipment they would not otherwise be able to afford.

“These grants mean increased safety for the firefighters and better protection in forested areas of the state,” said Webster.

Grant funds are used on everything from radios and other communication equipment to chainsaws, hoses, and hand tools. While fire departments can also apply for equipment to fight structure fires, preference is given to those who need wildfire equipment.

Over the last 30 years, MDC has distributed more than $7.5 million to rural fire departments to help them increase the safety of their firefighters and provide them with better firefighting equipment. Funding for the program is provided by MDC and the U.S. Forest Service Volunteer Fire Assistance Program.

For more information on how MDC helps fire departments around the state, visit the MDC website at