Volunteer firefighters in White County will be among those who can potentially benefit from recent legislation that will fund $600 annually to each volunteer who completes a required 30 hours of training.
According to the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office, the new program was created to recognize and support Tennessee’s volunteer firefighters.
As part of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s commitment to serving rural communities, legislation (HB 772/SB 778) that created the Volunteer Educational Incentive Program (VEIP) was passed this previous legislative session. The program, which is overseen by the state Firefighting Personnel Standards and Education Commission, recognizes volunteer firefighters and encourages them to increase their training and earn additional certifications in order to provide greater safety to their communities and fellow firefighters. As part of that training, the VEIP will provide $600 annually to volunteer firefighters who complete the program’s required 30 hours of annual training with educational directives related to achieving Firefighter I certification.
At this time, more than 12,500 volunteer firefighters comprise approximately 63 percent of the total number of Tennessee firefighters. Of those volunteers, only an estimated 2,063 receive a small payment or stipend for responding to emergency calls.