The Texas Forest Service has awarded the Rochelle Volunteer Fire Department with a cost-sharing grant totaling $585 from the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program, which is also known as the 2604 program. The money will be used toward training tuition for department members. House Bill 2604 enacted by the 77th Texas Legislature established the aid program, a $15 million annual cost-sharing program funded by contributions from the insurance industry and administered by the Texas Forest Service. Over $14.4 million in grants for equipment and training have been awarded under the 2604 program since September 1 of last year to volunteer fire departments across the state for equipment and training. “Requests for over $80.7 million in assistance have already been received, and additional requests are likely,” stated Joe Fox, program manager with the TFS in Bryan. “These requests clearly indicate that the 2604 program addresses an unmet need of the state’s volunteer fire departments. The program obviously will have a backlog of requests for several years.” The needs of the volunteer fire community are tremendous, Fox said. He indicated that he wished the program could immediately fund each and every assistance request that has been received. Because the requests far exceeded appropriation of funds, though, the TFS has had to implement a rating system to guide program decision-makers in allocating existing funds. For additional information about the program, contact: Emergency Services Grants Division, Texas Forest Service, 301 Tarrow, College Station, Tex. 77840, phone 979-458-6505. Fire departments can also obtain information via the internet at http://www.tamu.edu/ticc/.