Chairman Maynard encourages fire departments to apply for new training & equipment grant funds

HARTS, WV (WOAY) – House of Delegates Committee on Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services Chairman Zack Maynard, R-Lincoln, today encouraged state volunteer fire departments to take advantage of a $1.8 million grant program designed to help volunteer and part-time fire departments pay for training and equipment.

“I hope every volunteer and part-time fire department in the state takes advantage of this program to help fund training, equipment and community risk reduction efforts for their firefighters and departments,” Chairman Maynard said.

Two years ago, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 625, creating the West Virginia Volunteer Fire and Rescue Act of 2018. Among its many provisions, that bill created a special Fire Service Equipment and Training Fund that would provide grants to train and equip volunteer and part-time fire companies across the state.

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed House Bill 4409, which transferred $1.8 million in unused VFD Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Funds to the Equipment and Training Fund. (The Legislature also left a remaining balance of $1 million in the workers’ compensation fund and extended that program to 2022.)

“With the help of Auditor J.B. McCuskey, we were able to identify and transfer a significant amount of money to help fund these critical grants to our state fire departments,” Chairman Maynard said. “Without House Bill 4409, these funds would have simply gone back to the General Revenue Fund for use elsewhere instead of assisting first responders in our state.

“Our volunteer and part-time firefighters are essential to the safety and well-being of rural communities across the state, and I’m glad we were able to step up this year and secure additional funding to help train and equip them,” Chairman Maynard said.

Applications for the grants are available on the Fire Department Services Division page of the website for the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

The application can be downloaded directly at: https://firemarshal.wv.gov/Divisions/Fire%20Services/Documents/WV%20VOLUNTEER%20FIRE%20DEPARTMENT%20TRAINING%20AND%20EQUIPMENT%20GRANT%20APPLICATION.pdf

A shortened version of the application link is available here: https://bit.ly/2RBPH6k

According to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, grant sizes typically range from $1,500 to $6,000, but can be larger based on a department’s needs and the availability of funds.

“I encourage every fire department across the state to look at this fund and see if it can help in any way,” Chairman Maynard said.

The House of Delegates created the Committee on Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services in 2018 to study and advance legislation benefiting the state’s fire departments, EMS workers and first responders.

Tyler Barker
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