Volunteer Fire Companies Face Funding Woes in Delaware

September 21, 2010

Volunteer fire departments across Delaware are having to scrimp and put off buying new equipment just to stay afloat as local, state and charitable funds are harder to find.

Kevin Wilson, president of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association, says government funds provide only about half of an average company’s budget.

State grants total $4.3 million, and an insurance fund provides $19 million each year. But that must be spread over 61 companies.

To fill the gap, some companies are holding as many as five fundraisers a month, instead of one or two in the past.

In Rehoboth Beach, the meager funds mean the department can’t buy new fire suits and gear as new firefighters come on board. The department’s treasurer says many residents don’t realize the fire department isn’t fully funded by the city and state.

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