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V-SAFE grants help Volunteer Fire Departments

For years now, the Volunteer Strategic Assistance and Fire Equipment grant program, known as V-SAFE, has been getting equipment funding into the hands of fire departments that are partially or completely staffed by volunteers. 

The grants, administered through the Office of State Fire Marshal, are available in amounts as much as $30,000 with no requirement for matching or in-kind funding. The 2022 grant cycle awarded more than $2 million in grants to a total of 70 fire departments among 29 South Carolina counties. 

Eligibility rules require the department to be chartered — sponsored by a public or governmental organization and provide at least a Class 9 rating from the Insurance Services Office. A minimum of 50% of the fire departments staffing must be volunteers — uncompensated or paid on a per-call basis. 

Funding is available for numerous types of equipment, including these:

  • Fire suppression equipment, rescue equipment and medical equipment
  • Safety equipment, including protective clothing, self-contained breathing apparatus, portable air refilling systems and decontamination equipment
  • Equipment for detecting hazardous materials, as well as repair and recovery equipment
  • Vehicles, including incident command vehicles and special operations vehicles
  • Training 
Learn more about the grant program, including how to apply, at the Office of State Fire Marshal website.