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FEMA Fire Department Grant Funding: Volunteer vs. Career

When it comes to FEMA fire department grant funding, volunteer fire organizations face unique challenges. With limited resources and personnel, these departments often rely on federal aid to support their operations.

But what drives the size and scope of these grants?
We took a closer look at the numbers, and what we found was surprising.

FEMA Grants for Volunteer Fire Departments

Grants given to volunteer fire organizations generally fall into four categories:

  1. Recruitment and Retention
  2. Vehicle Acquisition
  3. Operations and Safety
  4. Fire Prevention

Here are some numbers across those categories for volunteer fire organizations:

Grant Type 2015-2023 for volunteer fire organizations

Keep in mind that some grants are spread across dozens of departments.

However, we noticed that there are incredibly large gaps between grant sizes.

Take, for instance, one of the most recent large grants.
12 volunteer departments West Virginia were recently awarded $3.8 million.
Most of this falls under “Operations and Safety”.
Two of the twelve departments received close to $1 million each.

What allows some departments to qualify for millions in federal aid while others receive anywhere from $500- $1,500?

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