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PREPARING FOR WILDFIRES
  • FIRE DEPARTMENT PROGRAMS: RURAL VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (HB 2604)

    The Texas Rural VFD Assistance Program provides funding to rural VFDs for the acquisition of firefighting vehicles, fire and rescue equipment, protective clothing, dry-hydrants, computer systems and firefighter training. It is a cost-share program funded by the Texas State Legislature.

    Since its inception in 2002, the program has been extremely successful in helping fire departments get the vehicles, training, and equipment that they would otherwise not have access to. Due to the usefulness of the program, we are experiencing significant demand in excess of $180 million in outstanding requests, while currently being funded at $17.3 per year. Therefore, while we would like to fund every request, it unfortunately takes some time to help every department in need.


    FY 2018 Funding Meeting #3 Announcement


     + News & Updates

    Registration for TEEX 89th Annual Municipal Fire School is now open. Please be sure to read our special announcement regarding requirements for submitting Training Tuition and Meal & Lodging grant applications for this program.

    Special Announcement -- FY2018 Changes

    Funding Meeting Summary: FY18 Meeting 2 -- June 20, 2018

    FFP Slip On Unit Summary: FY18

    Historical Funding Information

    Annual Reports

    Adopted Rules in the Texas Register.

     

     + Eligibility

    Recognized, non-profit VFDs operated by its members are eligible. Any part-paid, part-volunteer fire department with 20 or fewer paid members is eligible.

    Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program Federal Funding Requirements

     + Rates & Guidelines

     

     

     
    Rural VFD Assistance Program
    Cost Share Rates and Guidelines

    Element

    Rate 

    Guidelines 

     LARGE BRUSH TRUCK/TENDER
     

    90% of the actual cost no to exceed $200,000 in grant assistance per vehicle. For CAFS equipped vehicles, the maximum grant assistance per vehicle is $218,000 

    Minimum Standards and Specifications for Firefighting Vehicles 

     Notice Regarding New Fire Trucks 
     
    Suggested Specs. for Mid-Size CAFS  

    SMALL BRUSH TRUCK     

    90% of the actual cost not to exceed $100,000 in grant   assistance per vehicle. For CAFS equipped vehicles, the maximum grant assistance per vehicle is $118,000

    TRUCK CHASSIS

    90% of the actual cost not to exceed $45,000 in grant assistance per small truck chassis or $90,000 per large truck chassis

    SLIP-ON UNIT
     

    90% of the actual cost not to exceed $20,000 in grant assistance. For CAFS equipped slip-on units, the maximum grant assistance per unit is $38,000

    Suggested Specs. for Mid-Size CAFS  

    FIRE and RESCUE EQUIPMENT

    See Fire and Rescue Equipment Guidelines for a list of eligible items

    75% of the actual cost not to exceed $20,000 in grant assistance

    Fire and Rescue Equipment Guidelines

    STRUCTURAL GEAR

     
    See Structural PPE Guidelines for a list of eligible items   

    90% of the actual cost not to exceed $15,000 in grant assistance

    Structural - Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidelines

    WILDLAND GEAR
           
    See Wildland PPE Guidelines for a list of eligible items

    90% of the actual cost not to exceed $8,400 in grant assistance

    Wildland - Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidelines

    TRAINING AIDS
    includes:
    training library
    projector
    rescue mannequins
    smoke machines
    practice fire shelters
    equipment simulation devices
    computers (one per award)

    Other items may be eligible. Please contact TFS for approval prior to purchase.

    100% of the actual cost not to exceed $8,000 in grant assistance

     

     DRY HYDRANTS

    100% of the actual cost of components not to exceed $1,200 per installation with a maximum of $8,400 in grant assistance

     

     TRAINING TUITION

    100% of the actual cost of tuition not to exceed $125 per day up to a maximum of $625 per trainee per school. The ANNUAL MAXIMUM for all Training Tuition grant assistance per department is $12,500.

     Training Tuition Guidelines

     + Apply

    *Please note: forms have changed. Ensure you are submitting the most current revision (dated 2018). Old applications will no longer be accepted after Jan 1, 2018.*
    Complete the applicable form and submit by e-mail (preferred), mail, or fax.

    1. Application for Fire Department Assistance - EQUIPMENT GRANTS(TFS-FO-401) (PDF, 263KB)
    2. Application for Fire Department Assistance - TRAINING TUITION (TFS-FO-402) (PDF, 223KB)
    3. Application for Fire Department Assistance - TEEX ADDENDUM (TFS-FO-402-A) (PDF, 202KB)
      • Only applicable for students applying for Meal Cards & Lodging for TEEX Summer Municipal School
    4. Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (W-9) (PDF, 117KB) 


    To revise your application, complete the Revision Request Form (PDF, 215KB) and submit it via mail or fax. It is important to keep us up to date on changes relating to your department, such as changes in contact information, changes to requests, changes in population, etc. It is also important to keep us aware of the current size of your protection area. You can find guidance on how to update your protection area here.

    IMPORTANT: A W-9 form must accompany each application. Both forms must be signed and dated.

     + FAQS

    General


    Q: If my department is not reporting wildland fires in the Fire Connect Program, does that lessen our rating?
    A: No, the rating for your fire department will not decrease due to lack of reporting wildland fires in the FDD.

     

    Q: How do we go about updating the size of our Primary 911 Protection Area?
    A: Please visit our page on Primary 911 Protection Areas to learn what we define as a primary protection area and how to change this information.

     

    Q: Once I've applied, how do I know where I stand?
    A: You can get a general idea of where you stand by examining the most recent funding meeting list.
    Historical Funding Information

     

    Q: When is the cutoff for applying for the next funding meeting?
    A: The cutoff for applying is always 30 days prior to the funding meeting. We recommend that whenever a need arises, please apply then, rather than waiting. While it is important to get your application in as soon as possible, we are currently funded at $17.3 million and have over $180 million in requests. Therefore, while we would like to fund every request, it unfortunately takes some time to help every department in need.

     

    Q: If my department was previously awarded a grant, but later canceled the request, can we reapply?
    A: Yes, the prior termination has no bearing on future grant opportunities.

     

    Q: Why would our fire department be passed over on the Funding Meeting List?
    A: To insure a wide distribution of funding, departments which are approved in one of the higher dollar value categories (vehicles, truck chassis, slip-on units, etc.) are not considered for additional approvals during the same funding meeting. Applicants may be skipped if they have received $10,000 or more in grant assistance during the previous 12 months. Training tuition grants are not included as part of this $10,000 prior approval amount.

     

    Q: Is my department required to order wildland and/or structural PPE from the Firesafe Program upon award of a cost-share grant?
    A: A grant recipient is not required to order wildland and/or structural PPE from the Firesafe Program.

     

    Trucks



    Q: If my department was awarded a grant in another category, does it lessen our chances to receive a grant for a truck?
    A: No, grants in other categories do not reflect on vehicle requests.



    Q: Does a large or small chassis count as a truck award?
    A: Yes, both would be considered truck awards.

     

    Q: Does the manufacturer of an apparatus have to be a Texas vendor?
    A: Please see Notice to Purchasers of New Fire Trucks (PDF, 6KB).



    Q: If my department receives an award for a large or small chassis, can we assemble an ambulance or other specialized vehicle?
    A: All vehicle awards must meet the Minimum Standards and Specifications for Firefighting Vehicles (PDF, 9KB).

     

    Q: How does our department receive a grant for a preowned vehicle or equipment?
    A: Approval is given on a case by case basis. TFS must give clearance prior to the purchase.


    Preferred maximum vehicle age
    5 years for vehicles rated less than 22,000 pounds GVWR 
    Age limits vary for vehicles rated greater than 22,000 pounds GVWR

    TFS must make an evaluation of preowned equipment in advance. Following the evaluation, a grant for a preowned vehicle or equipment will be authorized or denied.



    Q: How long must a grant vehicle be maintained in firefighting service by the original acquiring department?
    A: All vehicles acquired under this program must be maintained in firefighting service for a period of 10 years from the reimbursement check date. If a cost-shared vehicle is sold before the end of its 10-year service life under this program, the fire department may be required to reimburse the program for 90% of the proceeds from the sale of the vehicle. The fire department must notify the Texas A&M Forest Service in advance and must obtain clearance to sell or transfer a grant vehicle before the end of its 10-year service life. The Funding Committee may waive on a case-by-case basis the requirement that 90% of the sale proceeds be returned to the program.

     

    Training


    Q: How long does it take to get an approval letter for training tuition requests?
    A: We work diligently to ensure an approval letter is sent within one week of receiving an application. If there is a large number of applications in a given week, the approval process could take a little longer.

     

    Q: If my department cancels a Training Tuition grant request, does that penalize our department in any way?
    A: No, a cancellation does not affect future grant requests.



    Q: If my department is approved for a Training Tuition grant and the dates of the training change, do we need to submit a new application with the new dates?
    A: Please complete a Revision Request-Rural VFD Assistance Program (TFS-FO-410) and submit it via email or fax to 979-845-6160. In order for the revision to be approved, the Revision Request must be submitted before the course start date. 



    Q: What should my department do if the number of trainees change in connection with a Training Tuition reimbursement grant?
    A: Please complete a Revision Request-Rural VFD Assistance Program (TFS-FO-410) and submit it via email or fax to 979-845-6160. In order for the revision to be approved, the Revision Request must be submitted before the course start date.

     + Contact

    Texas A&M Forest Service     
    200 Technology Way, Suite 1162
    College Station, Texas 77845-3424
    Attn: RVFDAP

        

    Phone: 979-458-6505
    Fax: 979-845-6160
    Email: 2604@tfs.tamu.edu

               

     

    SUBMIT A SUGGESTION

    Texas A&M Forest Service places a high value on public input and participation. The public is welcome to submit suggestions regarding the Rural VFD Assistance Program (HB2604) by email, mail, fax or in person.

     

    pdf logo Suggestion Form

     

    Email:2604@tfs.tamu.edu


    Mail: Attn: RVFDAP Suggestions
             Texas A&M Forest Service
             Capacity Building Department
             200 Technology Way, Suite 1162
             College Station, Texas 77845-3424

    Fax: 979-845-6160

    Public Meeting...

    A public meeting is held each year to receive public input and suggestions regarding the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program. The meeting is publicized fourteen days in advance. It takes place at the TFS Headquarters and is open to everyone.

    For more information...

    Call: 979-458-6505

     

     

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