Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants
The purpose of the Volunteer Fire Assistance
(VFA) Program, formerly known as the Rural Community
Fire Protection (RCFP) Program, is to provide federal
financial, technical, and other assistance to State
Foresters to organize, train, and equip fire departments
in rural areas and rural communities to prevent
and suppress fires. A rural community is defined
as having 10,000 or less population, or as defined
below. This 10,000-population limit for participation
in the VFA Program facilitates distribution of
available VFA funds to the most needy fire departments.
The funding must be matched on a 50-50 % basis
by non-federal dollars.
Eligibility requirements for the use of VFA funding are as follows:
Preference will be given to VFA Grant applications for the purchase of wildland and structural personal protective gear, communications equipment, water handling equipment, and training. The purchase of vehicles and high value equipment will not be funded due to the limited amount of funds available.
- A single fire department serving a rural
area or a rural community with a population of
10,000 or less is eligible (latest Census).
- Area fire departments (fire districts, townships,
etc.) may serve an aggregate population of greater
than 10,000 as long as the service area of the
fire department includes a rural area or a rural
community having a population of 10,000 or less.
The VFA funding must be used to benefit the rural
- A single county or town with a population
over 10,000 which is served by two or more fire
districts operating entirely within the bounds
of the county or town may qualify as long as
the service area of a given fire department includes
a rural area or a rural community or the population
of the fire department's jurisdiction is 10,000
or less. The VFA funding must be used for the
- A single community with a population greater
than 10,000 and having a single fire department
with one or more fire stations may qualify. The
fire department must have a service area that
includes a rural area or community that does
not exceed 10,000 population. The VFA funding
must be used only for the benefit of the rural
population. Similarly a single community with
a population greater than 10,000, which also
provide fire protection to an adjoining rural
community of 10,000 or less population by contract,
may also be eligible provided the VFA funding
is used entirely to support the rural community.
- A single community fire department serving
a population greater than 10,000 and not providing
protection to a rural area or to a rural community
is not eligible for VFA financial assistance.
- Fire Departments must be NIMS compliant. NIMS compliance information can be found at https://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-eligibility
Purchases made before the date of the VFA application are not eligible for reimbursement. Proof of Purchase documents, like invoices, and the Certificate of Expenditure Form (pdf) must be dated after the date of the VFA application.
Fiscal Year 2008 VFA Federal Funding Applications are being made available to rural community Volunteer Fire Departments through the local Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Forest Service, Field Unit Offices.
Please make every effort to return the completed applications to the Forest Protection Bureau of the Florida Forest Service. Grant applications will be approved regularly until funding is exhausted. Please take advantage of the program. You may participate multiple times in the grant process throughout the year.
- To request application and/or assistance with completing the application, contact one of the following:
- Or print and complete these forms
- Mail applications to:
VFA Grants, Suite A, Room 159
Florida Forest Service
3125 Conner Blvd.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650
- After Grant Application Approval:
Fill out the Certificate of Expenditure Form (pdf), attach proof-of-purchases, and then mail to same address above.
Grants run for one year after date of approval.