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Reimbursement for Firefighting Costs on Federal Property

If your fire department responded to a fire on federal property within the past 90 days, it may be eligible for reimbursement of firefighting costs — from the federal agency which had the fire — under a program administered by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).

Your department may qualify for reimbursement if:

Personnel performed fire suppression activities. (Fire prevention, training or other activities are not eligible.)

It is a state, local, tribal, territorial, public or private fire department with career and/or volunteer firefighters.

The claim is for direct expenses or losses over and above normal operating costs, such as:

  • Overtime pay.
  • Pay for specially hired personnel.
  • Additional fuel expenses.
  • Food expenses.
  • Loss or damage of equipment.

Watch this short video for an overview of how the reimbursement program works. Transcript

How to file a claim

Claims for reimbursement must be submitted within 90 days of the incident. There isn't a claim form to submit but you must include the following information in your fire department's claim package:

Contact information

  • Name, address, jurisdiction and nature (volunteer, private, municipal, etc.) of the fire department.
  • Name, title, address, phone number and email address of the person authorized by the fire department to make the claim.
  • Name, email address and phone number of a federal employee familiar with the facts of the incident.
  • Name, address, and phone number of the federal organization having jurisdiction over the burned property. Proof of federal ownership of property involved must be clearly established. The cost for firefighting on non-federally owned property (leased) is not reimbursable regardless of the origin of the fire.

Fire department information

  • Evidence of authorization to initiate the claim.
  • Proof of authority to fight fire (source of alarm, requested or accepted by a federal official).
  • Information on mutual aid agreements with any federal agency.
  • A list of any money or grants the federal government has paid to your department in the past.

Fire information

  • Location of the fire.
  • Description of the property burned.
  • Copy of fire reports from the dispatch center, fire department, or other reporting organization.
  • List of personnel on scene and fighting the fire.
  • List of major firefighting apparatus on scene.
  • Complete list of direct expenses (losses) associated with the on-scene firefighting effort, such as overtime pay, food, additional fuel, etc. Loses are paid on the depreciated value of equipment damaged or destroyed.

Send your claim

Send a cover letter on fire department letterhead and your claim package to:

Reimbursement for Costs of Firefighting on Federal Property Program
c/o U.S. Fire Administration
Building E-115B
16825 South Seton Ave.
Emmitsburg, MD 21727

For more information, please contact the USFA's Cathy Broughton at 301-447-1854.