Watson Fire Chief, Andy Spiegel, left, accepts the matching grant check from MDC representative Phillip Boyer, right.

Submitted by Ben Webster, Forestry Field Program Supervisor – Fire, Missouri Department of Conservation

Matching funds grant checks for rural fire departments are being distributed by the Missouri Department of Conservation, Forestry Division staff.  Watson Fire Department applied and recently received a check that is part of the Volunteer Fire Assistance Program.
One hundred sixty nine fire departments are receiving checks for up to $4,000 to help with the purchase of personal protective gear and firefighting equipment, for wildfire as well as structure fire suppression efforts. The total funding awarded to Missouri fire departments through the matching funds grant program this year is $361,564.30. Fire departments are required to match 50% of the funds which are provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S. Forest Service, Volunteer Fire Assistance Program. Throughout the last 30 years, over $8 million has been distributed to rural fire departments to help them increase the safety of their firefighters and provide them with better firefighting equipment.