Rural Fire Department Resources for Local Officials
Information and Funding Resources Available for Rural Fire Departments
- Planning Resources
- Funding and Program Assistance
- Training Resources
- Statistics and Data Resources
- Additional Resources
There is a wide range of information available regarding all aspects of fire department operation including funding sources for operations, facilities, firefighter equipment, fire trucks and training, and first responder emergencies. This Online guide includes general rural fire information, training programs, statistical information and publications on fire-related issues. This online guide was originally developed by the Rural Information Center in 2006. This was updated and last modified: October, 2021.
The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this publication (or page) is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Agricultural Research Service of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable.
- Developing Effective Standard Operating Procedures for Fire & EMS Departments U.S. Fire Administration.[PDF 658.04 KB]
- Dry Hydrants Virginia State Department of Forestry
- Fire Department Operations, Management and Safety. United States Fire Administration. viewed 10/18/2021.
- Fire Research and Management Exchange System "...a method of exchanging information and transferring technology"
- Wildland Fire Learning Portal National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) Training Development Program library of courses.
- Firefighter protective equipment and clothing research U.S. Fire Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
- National Fire Protection Association Home Page
- National Volunteer Fire Council
- Fire Prevention and Public Education U.S. Fire Administration tools for public awareness, prevention, and detection tools.
- U.S. Fire Administration Blog - Planning. Information on various aspects of planning and fire resources.
- Water Supply Systems and Evaluation Methods Vol. I and Vol. II: Water supply is important to the fire service, fire protection engineers, and city managers. This manual is intended to provide a reference for concepts and terminology to facilitate communication and understanding between these organizations.
- Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Resources to help prepare for a safe wildland fire response and to create and sustain a fire-adapted community.
Funding and Program Assistance
There are different forms of funding programs available to rural fire departments including grants, loans, donations, and reimbursements. Consult grant writing resources for assistance in preparing successful proposals and in obtaining funding applications and information for obtaining a DUNS number that is required of all organizations/entities applying for a federal grant or cooperation agreement.
Guides to Federal Programs
- Assistance Listings (formerly the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance):
- Search using Keywords Emergency Preparedness and Fire Protection
- United States Fire Administration, Grants and Funding Alternatives
- Funding Alternatives for Fire and Emergency Services, 2012.[PDF 3.7 MB]
- Fire Service Funding - National Volunteer Fire Council list of programs and mobile Apps.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Forest Service Healthy Forests and Rangelands
- A joint program with the USDA, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Interior and the National Association of State Foresters for wildland fire issues. National Fire Plan projects included.
- Federal Excess Personal Property Program (FEPP) & Firefighter Property Program (FFP) - Federal personal property that was originally purchased for use by the DoD and/or USDA Forest Service for loan to one of the 50 States or 6 Territories for use in the State's rural or wildland fire protection program.
- Rural Development
- Community Facilities Loans and Grants Program Offers loans and grants to construct, enlarge, extend, or otherwise improve community facilities providing essential services to rural residents for projects that will enhance public safety such as fire stations, fire trucks, and rescue vehicles.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency
- U.S. Fire Administration
- U.S. Fire Administration Grants and Funding page
- Assistance to Firefighters Grant provides direct assistance to fire departments of a State or tribal nation.
- Reimbursement for Firefighting on Federal Property provides that each fire service organization which engages in firefighting operations on Federal property may be reimbursed for their direct expenses and direct losses.
- Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants "provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities"
- The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) is a cooperative asset-sharing program among Federal government agencies, state and local governments, and the private businesses and civilian volunteers to ensure resources are available to provide medical services following a disaster that overwhelms the local health care resources.
- Fire Prevention & Safety Grants "support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards. The primary goal is to target high-risk populations and mitigate high incidences of death and injury."
U.S. Department of Interior
- Forests and Rangelands
An interagency program with the USDA, Forest Service, U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Association of State Foresters for wildland fire issues. Includes National Fire Plan projects.
- Bureau of Indian Affairs-Branch of Wildland Fire Management "protecting lives, property, and resources while restoring and maintaining healthy ecosystems through cost-effective and creative fire-management programs, collaboration, and promoting Indian self-determination." Contact: 208-387-5575
U.S. Department of Justice
- Fire and Arson Investigation "Fire and arson investigators examine the physical attributes of a fire scene and identify and collect physical evidence from the scene. This evidence is then analyzed to help determine if the cause of the fire was accidental or deliberate."
- Guide for the Selection of Personal Protective Equipment for Emergency First Responders; NIJ Guide 102-00, Volume I | National Institute of Justice (ojp.gov) This volume of the guide presents information for the emergency first responder on the selection of personal protective equipment, focusing on technical overviews of both respiratory and percutaneous (skin) protective equipment.
U.S. Department of Transportation
- Hazardous Materials Grant (Hazmat) Programs and Pipeline Safety Grant Programs
- The PHMSA's Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) Grants Program is comprised of four grants
- Pipeline Safety Grant Programs include five programs
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Local Governments Reimbursement Program This program provides Federal funds to local governments for costs related to temporary emergency measures conducted in response to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances.
U.S. General Service Administration
- Federal Surplus Personal Property Donation Program For State Agencies and Public Organizations "enables certain nonfederal organizations to obtain personal property that the federal government no longer needs."
U.S. Housing and Urban Development
- Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG Program) Offers block grants to Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages to improve their communities including building or improving fire stations.
- Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) These offices distribute ICDBG funds
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Community Development Block Grant funds provide eligible communities with annual direct grants that they can use for community projects, including fire and life safety protection.
Private Funding Programs
- Gary Sinise Foundation - First Responders provide help to critical funding for emergency relief, training, and essential equipment to ensure these heroes perform to the best of their abilities.
- National First Responders Fund is a financial resource organization dedicated to First Responder programs and training to address awareness and recovery from work-related Post Traumatic Stress Injuries (PTSI).
- Robert Irvine Foundation provides funding in the form of grants to support military and first responder organizations, individual relief, and other critical projects to support the community we serve.
- Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation provides funding for first responder livesaving equipment, education, disaster relief, etc.
Staff training is an important part of all fire department programs. There are many sources of information and training available to the rural fire department, including libraries, networks, courses, and more. Below are links to get started in or enhance a training program.
- National Fire Academy (NFA) Training Assistance "There are no tuition fees for NFA courses. All instruction and course materials are provided at no cost. Most of the transportation costs and lodging for students who represent career or volunteer fire departments, rescue squads, or State/local governments attending on-campus courses are currently provided as part of funding under the student stipend reimbursement program. Students from other countries, other Federal agencies, private industry, or contractors of State/local fire departments or government entities must pay their own transportation and lodging fees."
- Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs "Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs provide funding for eligible mitigation activities that reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages. Currently, FEMA administers the following HMA grant programs": Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP); Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM); and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA)
- Preparedness (Non-Disaster) Grants Federal Emergency Management Agency "provides state and local governments with preparedness program funding in the form of Non-Disaster Grants to enhance the capacity of state and local emergency responders to prevent, respond to, and recover from a weapons of mass destruction terrorism incident involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive devices and cyber attacks."
- Fire Engineering / Firefighters Support Foundation – "free training programs that address basic and advanced fire service topics. Targeted at both agency trainers and individuals, most programs include a video and PowerPoint presentation."
- The Fire Academy Learn the latest tactics, techniques and technologies designed to take your knowledge to the next level.
- Coffee Break Training U.S. Fire Administration. "Fire and emergency medical services personnel with busy daily schedules often don't have time to attend valuable skill-enhancing training sessions, so the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) is providing Coffee Break Training bulletins for you to read and enjoy during your daily break. These one-page training notices provide technical training and administrative tips. Each notice includes a photograph or drawing that illustrates the point of the training lesson."
- Critical Infrastructure Protection, Emergency Management and Response - Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) "U.S. Fire Administration's Emergency Management and Response - Information Sharing and Analysis Center provides the Emergency Services Sector with threat, vulnerability and critical infrastructure protection information through Department of Homeland Security information sharing mechanisms, and provides no-cost technical assistance critical infrastructure protection consultation services to Emergency Services Sector leaders."
- National Emergency Training Center Library "...provides information and resources on fire, emergency management and other all-hazards subjects. With our collection of more than 208,000 books, reports, audiovisual materials and indexed articles, the Library supports National Emergency Training Center student and faculty research, classroom lectures, and development of course materials. We invite you to access our Online Public Access Catalog to perform literature searches of our collections."
- "Training Resources and Data Exchange (TRADE) program "...is a regionally based network designed to foster the exchange of fire-related training information and resources among Federal, State, and local levels of government."
- Wildland Fire Training USDA Forest Service offers a wide range of courses are available year-round all across the country for professional wildland fire professionals to update their knowledge and skills. Many of these courses are interagency in nature, others are specific to the needs of the Forest Service.
- FireFit Program National Center for Public Safety FItness provides health and fitness information and training for public safety personnel, to include: Police Officers, Sheriff’s Deputies, Corrections Officers, Firefighters, and Emergency Medical Technicians.
Statistics and Data Resources
- Fire on the Web National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
- Fire Statistics U.S. Fire Administration
- National Interagency Fire Center
- Rural Information Center's Rural Emergency Response
- National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC). National Multi-Agency Coordination Group (NMAC).
- Nation Fire News from the National Fire Information Center.
- Fire Safety Resources U.S. Department of Labor
- Congressional Fire Services Institute
- Fire Adapted Communities
- Firewise Communities
- Institute for Rural Emergency Management (IREM)