Volunteer fire fighters of Vernon Parish are now eligible to receive tuition reimbursement.

NEW ORLEANS–Volunteer fire fighters of Vernon Parish are now eligible to receive tuition reimbursement of up to $8,000 for a two year degree and up to $16,000 for a four year degree, according to a recent statement from the State Fire Marshal.
The Louisiana State Firemen’s Association (LSFA) applied for and was recently awarded a $980,000 “SAFER” grant through FEMA for the recruitment and retention of volunteer fire fighters in the State of Louisiana.
“One of the most pressing problems we face in Louisiana communities is the consistent decline in the ranks of our emergency volunteers,” said Butch Browning, State Fire Marshal. "Volunteers are the first line of defense in our communities.”
The purpose of the grant program is to increase public awareness of  emergency services and the importance of volenteerism in maintaining those services while also encouraging people to choose a career or volunteer path in the emergency services field, said Paul Gilmore, author of the grant.
To qualify for the tuition reimbursement, applicants must be active responding, certified members of a volunteer fire department for a minimum of two years.
Applicants must complete the academic requirements of a two or four year program in a state junior college, vocational technical school or a state college and receive a degree and diploma for that curriculum.
Volunteer service and education requirements need not run concurrent, but must be completed within the grant program life cycle.
The LSFA and State Fire Marshal’s Office is poised to launch an aggressive and comprehensive public awareness and marketing campaign targeted at 18 to 35 year old Louisianans in an effort educate the public and increase awareness of the need for volunteers, the value of volunteers and the advantage and benefits of becoming a member of a Louisiana Volunteer Fire Department while furthering their education.
For more information visit  www.vfdla.org or call toll free 1-800-FIRE-LINE (800-347-3546) or contact your local fire department’s fire chief.