Virginia Fire Services Board increases VDFP aid to localities for firefighter training, PPE

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The Virginia Department of Fire Programs has approved a 7 percent increase in the Virginia Fire Programs Fund that will put an additional $2 million to the Virginia Aid to Localities funding program.

The appropriation bumps up the total aid to $32 million for statewide distribution.

ATL funding comes from the Virginia Fire Programs Fund, which is derived from 1 percent of fire-related insurance coverage collected in Virginia, in the previous calendar year.

Approximately 75 percent of the total fund goes directly to counties, cities, and incorporated towns within the Commonwealth. 25 percent goes to VDFP’s operational budget, not including VDFP’s State Fire Marshal’s Office which operates from the General Fund.

In 2019, the VFSB pushed to increase Aid to Localities minimums for towns and cities in Virginia, to support training initiatives, construction of fire training centers, firefighting equipment, and protective gear. The Board’s request was made in response to increasing budget trends in Virginia’s Fire Service. During fiscal year 2021, minimum ATL funding levels will jump from $10,000 to $15,000 and $20,000 to $30,000 for towns and cities, respectively.

“We couldn’t have timed a request for an increase better than now. While we didn’t foresee the behemoth of COVID-19 and its impacts, the Board is certainly pleased that our timing aligned when Virginia’s fire departments are experiencing the greatest deficits,” said VFSB Chair Walt Bailey. “March through the late summer is usually spent by volunteer departments fund raising. COVID-19 has stifled many volunteers in their fund raising efforts. The Board hopes the increase funding minimums will soften the setbacks a little.”

VDFP administers the ATL program in conjunction with the Board.

“We value our commitment to providing localities with funding to support training to cultivate fire departments and the men and women who serve in these departments,” said VDFP Executive Director Michael Reilly.

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