They are known to help when help is needed most, and now help is on the way to some volunteer fire departments in Alabama.

Following challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, the State of Alabama is offering grants of up to $10,320. The money is from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund, which was funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Fire Chief Matt Missildine, of Pike Road Volunteer Fire Department, said his department could use a little help. He said the greatest operational impacts during the pandemic were the changes in the number of medical calls they were answering and their use of personal protection equipment (PPE).

“Life is Different Now”

“Our use of PPE went through the roof,” Missildine said. “All of a sudden, we were using a lot of different pieces of PPE that we weren’t used to.”

Missildine said his department will have to verify what restrictions are included in the grant first, but, if possible, he would like the money to go toward new CPR devices, which will allow his first responders to maintain distance from patients while operating. He would also consider purchasing remote blood pressure monitors and related equipment for the same reason.

“Life is different now,” Missildine said. “It’s cliche these days to say, but it’s definitely different than it was before.”

How to apply

Recipients of the grant money will have to document the use of the grant funds. Grant money must be used for a purpose in line with the intention of the American Rescue Plan Act. It can’t be used to satisfy settlements or judgments, replenish financial reserves or offset a reduction in net tax revenue. It also can’t be deposited into pension funds.

Gov. Kay Ivey said in order to be eligible for the grants, volunteer fire departments in Alabama must be able to verify they have been operational as of March 11, 2021, and continue to be operational.

“I am proud to have worked with the Alabama Legislature to direct these funds to good use as our local volunteer fire departments recover,” Ivey stated. “I am pleased to support them and encourage them to take advantage of this grant program.”

The deadline to apply is noon on Friday, March 25. Applications may be submitted online through the Department of Finance. 

To learn more about the Alabama Fire Department Grant Program, visit the Fiscal Recovery Fund’s website here, or check out the program’s FAQs.