Maryland State

FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION

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Volunteer Company Assistance Fund

The VCAF program is your company’s most affordable way to purchase, replace, or improve equipment and/or facilities.

Does your company have a need to borrow money to modernize firefighting equipment or the station?

The MSFA VCAF program is your answer. The VCAF program is your company’s most affordable way to purchase, replace, or improve equipment and/or facilities. Your VCAF representative can meet with your company representatives to offer guidance through the application process.

What We Do

Loans

VCAF loans are currently issued at 1% with varying terms based on whether the loan is for equipment or a facility.

Vehicle & Equipment Loans

All applications are prioritized based on financial need. Companies with the greatest financial need will be afforded an opportunity to receive VCAF loans totaling up to 75% of the total cost for the vehicle or equipment. Companies that have more stable finances will likely receive less than 75% and companies that have very stable finances and a raining day fund may have their VCAF loan application declined since they are reasonable candidates for commercial loans.

Facility Loans

The MSFA has placed a moratorium on general facility loan applications. However, should a company have a lower-cost facility project ($1MM or less), such as a small addition or renovation, the company’s president or corporate executive can contact the VCAF Committee chair to request approval to submit a facility project VCAF loan application.

GRANTS

The MSFA VCAF Committee will no longer accept general grant applications for vehicles, equipment, or facility projects.

However, should a Company be presented with a bona fide emergency requiring a VCAF grant as defined by the Maryland Code, the company president or corporate executive must contact the VCAF Committee chair to request approval to submit an emergency VCAF grant application.

Grants are reserved for Companies that have experienced a unique financial situation, which includes:

  • A natural disaster or other unforeseen event that substantially impairs the ability of the volunteer company to provide adequate and safe service
  • The volunteer company is unable to maintain the minimum level of performance for adequate and safe service established by standards of the MSFA, because of a demonstrated lack of financial resources

The MSFA allocates $500K per fiscal year for grant awards. This annual funding serves the entire MSFA company membership and awards are extremely limited.

Why the Restrictions?

These changes were made, effective July 1, 2018, by the MSFA, to protect the Fund’s fiscal viability. Keeping pace with the diverse funding needs is a challenge compounded by today’s costs for new vehicles and facilities. It is routine for new fire engines to cost $550K, new ladder trucks $1.2MM, new ambulances $250K, and new fire stations $5MM. Based on these costs and past fiscal outlays (CY2014-present, the MSFA approved just over $21MM in loans and $2MM in grants to 61 Maryland volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue companies), the MSFA leadership recognized that changes were required to avoid Fund liquidation and elimination of all opportunities to assist member companies with providing adequate volunteer fire protection and rescue services in the state of Maryland.

VCAF Information

APPLICANT REQUIREMENT

All companies applying for a loan and/or grant must have a representative attend the MSFA VCAF Committee meeting and MSFA Executive Committee meeting. Companies that fail to attend either meeting will be disqualified and the company will have to reapply during the next open application period.