There are two government programs, the Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP) and The Firefighter Property Program (FPP) that allow surplus materials from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to be repurposed into firefighting equipment for state and local use. In both cases, the property passes through State Foresters who then distribute it to local agencies. Between both programs, over $150 million in former DOD inventory has been distributed between 2008 and 2012. Since the cost to acquire and refurbish a military truck is a few thousand dollars, but the cost of a brand new fire engine could run $150,000 or more, used equipment from these programs have the potential to save local fire departments considerable amounts of money.
The Federal Excess Personal Property Program
The sixty year old Federal Excess Personal Property program involves former Department of Defense property that is now owned by the Forest Service. They loan it out to State Foresters who often place it with local departments for wildland and rural firefighting. Materials can include trucks, tools, hoses, vehicle and aircraft parts, protective clothing, air craft, air compressors and other equipment.
The Firefighter Property Program
In the FFP program, similar DoD property acquired by State Foresters also gets passed along to local fire agencies. But ownership transfers to the recipient after it has been used for a specific period of time. Equipment must be used or modified for direct use in pre-suppression, suppression or fire service related emergency services. Physical fitness equipment, fit-for-duty health-monitoring devices, fabrication material and equipment are among the eligible uses.
Examples of Equipment Received
- In Texas, a five-ton military cargo truck got a new coat of bright red paint as it took on new life as a fire fighting vehicle for the Savory Volunteer Fire Department.
- Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources has given former DoD trucks, freightliners, and international tankers their own photo gallery of before-and-afters to highlight their makeovers.
- Big Horn County, WY received a furnished P -24 wildland urban interface truck for $514. The truck's original cost was $169, 108.
Highlighting the Differences Between FEPP and FFP
If you are interested in the specific differences between the two programs, this slide show by United States Forest Service Director Dan Olsen lays out the fine print for you, including how the property is to be acquired, maintained and disposed of.
Applying for FEPP and FPP
To find out about what type of used equipment is available for fire fighting, contact your state FEEP or FPP coordinator. E-mail information for Melissa Frey, point person and program manager for the U.S. Forest Service is listed at the bottom of the FEEP/FPP page for further questions.
The 26 Federal Grant Making Agencies
Need a way to familiarize yourself with the 26 federal grantmaking agencies? Download our complimentary word search puzzle: