The blare of a fire alarm calls firefighters to gear up and dash to their vehicles. When this occurs, it’s important that they have the proper facilities, equipment and training. Firefighter grants take several forms, including general purpose or operating support grants, planning grants, facilities and equipment grants, and endowment grants.
Firefighter grants for general purpose or operating use provide funding for the function of an organization. They are the least-restrictive of the grants, but the grant providers must have faith that the money will be put to good use. These grants could be used for such things as transportation costs, utility bills or living quarters for the firefighters. The money also could be used to provide increased staffing of firefighters and cover the expenses of their training.
Planning grants provide fire departments with the funding to develop new programs. This money can be used for such things as writing proposals, researching community needs and paying the fees for seeking consultation about new programs. A fire department that wanted to implement solar energy as means of enhancing emergency preparedness could qualify for this type of grant. Planning grants fund the initial development of such programs, and then other grant sources would be sought to maintain the programs.
Facilities and equipment grants are firefighter grants that provide money for the purchase of permanent equipment such as buildings, computers or vehicles. These grants would be provided to departments that show valid need, and items such as extrication equipment and more up-to-date fire rescue vehicles could be purchased with these grants. The department typically must prove that the purchase will provide better protection or service to its patrons. It also will need to prove that it will remain financially stable for years to come. The grant provider might not want to invest in a department that will be forced to close because of a lack of revenue.
Providing firefighter grants in the form of endowments allows organizations to spend the interest of the money that was invested through the endowment. Endowments generally are provided to larger organizations. The financial backers expect that the fire department will be able to maintain the balance of the endowment fund and even add to the balance of the endowment. Commonly, the departments will hold fundraisers to increase the balance of the endowment. The financial solvency of the fire department will be critical in determining the awarding of such grants.