State Grant Program Will Provide $5 Million to Purchase Equipment for Tennessee Volunteer Fire Departments

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (“TDCI”) and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (“SFMO”) proudly announce that applications will be accepted starting Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, from volunteer fire departments for $5 million in grants through the Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant Program.

Created by legislation approved by Governor Bill Lee and the General Assembly in 2019, the program earmarks monies for the purchase of firefighting equipment by Tennessee volunteer fire departments or to help volunteer departments meet local match requirements for federal grants for purchasing equipment. Grant proceeds may be used to purchase equipment (other than fire trucks or vehicles) used by firefighters to extinguish fires and protect the lives of firefighters. The grants may also be used to help fire departments pay or reimburse the cost share for federal grants that have already been awarded.

Since the program’s launch in 2020, grants totaling $1.5 million have been provided to over 100 Tennessee fire departments. The allocation of $5 million represents the largest amount yet for this program.

“As we have seen in our outreach visits across all 95 Tennessee counties during the past three years, the men and women of the Tennessee fire service have no lack of bravery or courage, but in some cases, they have a pressing need to replace outdated firefighting equipment,” said Tennessee State Fire Marshal and TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “This program will help provide resources to Tennessee’s volunteer firefighters while fulfilling Governor Lee’s vision of strengthening Tennessee’s rural communities.”

Said TDCI Assistant Commissioner of Fire Prevention Gary Farley: “Volunteer fire departments embody the Volunteer State at its best. These men and women willingly put their lives on the line for their communities for little or no compensation or recognition. It is incumbent on our team to provide these firefighters with a way to acquire reliable and effective firefighting equipment to protect themselves as they protect their communities.”

Eligible fire departments must hold a valid recognition from the SFMO and have a staff comprised by less than 51% full-time career firefighters.

Applications received during the submission period will be scored internally and submitted to a seven-member committee who will oversee the award selection. The committee is composed of three representatives from the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association, three representatives from the Tennessee Firemen’s Association, and TDCI’s Assistant Commissioner of Fire Prevention. Per statute, the funds will be awarded equally among Tennessee’s Grand Divisions.

Applications will be accepted until Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. CT. Applicants with questions about the grant should contact Director of Education and Outreach Michelle Price by email at or by calling (629) 259-1713.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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