The Easton Volunteer Fire Company was awarded a state Volunteer Fire Assistance
grant to help prevent, control and suppress fires that threaten humans, livestock and farms.

New fire equipment purchased with a DEEP grant. Photo by Emma Grimes

The grants, administered through the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, assist rural volunteer fire departments as they prepare for wildfires, which is important in a changing climate.

Fire Chief Robert Klem said the department has already utilized the grant. “It’s a smaller grant,” he said. “We received approximately $2,000 as part of a matching grant program. Essentially, we spent $4,000, and they’ll reimburse roughly half of it, about $1,900.”

The department used the grant money to outfit its new Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) with forestry equipment specifically aimed at tackling bushfires.

“We bought a forestry hose, forestry nozzles, different connectors, and various equipment of that nature to outfit our new UTV,” Klem said. “It’s a nice grant. You know, every year or two, we apply for it, and it just helps our budget go a little further and gets us the equipment we need.”

The VFA grant is funded through a federal program designed to support fire departments in towns with populations under 10,000 people. In this year’s allocation, a total of $105,393.76 was awarded to 46 local volunteer fire companies across the state of Connecticut, according to DEEP.

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