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:
Pay for specially hired personnel.
Additional fuel 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:
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.
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.
About the reimbursement program
To ease the financial burden on local fire departments, Congress authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)/USFA to review and approve requests from fire departments for reimbursement of suppression costs associated with fighting fire on federal property.