The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Division of Fire Safety (DSF) have partnered to pilot a new grant opportunity for volunteer fire departments to cover workers compensation and liability coverage for active fire-department members.

The grants will provide a maximum of $2,000 per year for a three-year period and will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to the MDC. 

“MDC staff still respond to wildland fires, but local fire departments respond to 90 percent of wildfires in Missouri now,” Missouri State Forester Lisa Allen said. “That’s a significant accomplishment, especially considering most are staffed by volunteers and operate on very limited budgets. That’s why we are pleased to support their efforts through this new grant program.”

Fire departments must have a signed, current mutual aid agreement with the MDC to be eligible for the grant funds. Fire departments must also appear on the DFS roster of registered fire departments for the grant application year and remain on the roster for the continuation of the grant period. 

“The majority of fire service agencies in Missouri and most firefighters in our state are volunteers,”  State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said.“They are selflessly sacrificing time with family and taking on risks to protect their neighbors and their communities. These grants will help provide much needed coverage for the times when they’re injured doing this vitally important work.”

Applications for the grants will be shared with eligible fire departments in December, and grant applications will be accepted starting Dec. 11. Fire departments must be 100 percent volunteer member based per the DFS roster of registered fire departments. 

Fire departments must be TAG, subscription or privately funded. Any fire department receiving funds from any tax is not eligible for this grant. 

For more information, residents can contact MDC Fire Program Supervisor Ben Webster at ben.webster@mdc.mo.gov.