DripDrop Hydration, a rehydration therapy company, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), the association representing the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services, announces a new partnership to provide dehydration relief to the nation’s volunteer firefighters. The need has never been greater amid a wave of summer heat, wildfire season, and a COVID-19 pandemic that has pushed the healthcare system to the limit of its capacity. DripDrop ORS will provide a one-to-one ‘buy one, give one’ product donation to volunteer fire departments across the U.S. for every 80-count, multi-flavor DripDrop ORS box purchased by consumers. Maintaining proper hydration levels The partnership coincides with the expansion of DripDrop’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) lineup to now include an 80-count, multi-flavor box of berry, lemon, watermelon, and orange flavors. We are proud to partner with the NVFC and provide these brave heroes with DripDrop’s ORS" This product is the latest in DripDrop’s arsenal aimed at combating dehydration, a condition affecting up to 75 percent of the U.S. population at any given time. Volunteer firefighters can request two 80-count multi-flavor packages of DripDrop ORS to use in their department during wildfire response, long incidents, or other strenuous work. Up to 100,000 units of product will be donated. “No one is immune to dehydration and the effects it can have on our bodies, particularly those who work in extreme conditions like firefighters,” said Eduardo Dolhun, MD and founder of DripDrop Hydration. “We are proud to partner with the NVFC and provide these brave heroes with DripDrop’s ORS to help them stay healthy and maintain proper hydration levels, especially as we head into peak wildfire season.” Providing dehydration relief “Firefighters exert an extraordinary amount of energy when responding to long incidents such as wildfires, and dehydration is a very serious threat to their health and safety,” said NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch. “We are pleased to partner with DripDrop to provide dehydration relief to our volunteer firefighters so they are able to respond at their best.” DripDrop ORS was developed by Dolhun, a Mayo Clinic-trained physician, upon return from a medical relief mission in Guatemala. The patented formula he invented is the most efficacious, great tasting dehydration remedy available to consumers, and an effective alternative to IV therapy for mild to moderate dehydration. DripDrop ORS improves on the World Health Organization (WHO) standard for an ORS with medical-grade electrolytes, making it both the ideal rehydration therapy for the general population and a mission-critical tool for firefighters and other public safety and emergency workers.
On June 26-27, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) held a virtual preview of the 2021 Training Summit. This two-day online training event featured keynote speakers and panel discussions, followed by breakout sessions to enable participants to ask questions and further discuss the themes that had been presented by that day’s speakers. In-Person Event postponed to 2021 The NVFC had originally planned to hold an in-person Training Summit in Orlando in 2020 but had to postpone the event to 2021 to ensure the safety and health of participants during the pandemic. The virtual preview provided a chance for participants to take advantage of online training and key take-aways for their department now while getting a preview at what will be covered at the full event in 2021. Day One focused on health and safety, with a keynote speech by NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch and a panel of presentations on critical health and safety topics by instructors Brian Focht, Nathan Stoermer, Jack Sullivan, and Keith Tyson. Day Two emphasized leadership and development and featured a keynote by Tom Merrill and a panel by instructors Dave Denniston, Bill Gardner, Robert Leonard, and F.R. Montes de Oca. Each panelist provided highlights from the full presentations they will give at the 2021 Training Summit. Recorded sessions viewing available On-demand The recorded sessions are now available to view on-demand. Below is the sessions list. Keynote on health and safety by Steve Hirsch Keynote on leadership by Tom Merrill Panel on health and safety Panel on leadership and development Registration for the Training Summit taking place May 21-22, 2021, in Orlando, Florida, is now open. Travel stipends will be available to eligible attendees to help offset the costs of attending.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is pleased to partner with TargetSolutions to provide additional operational training and education opportunities to the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue community at no cost. TargetSolutions is offering a cadre of 10 online firefighter continuing education courses to all members of the NVFC. TargetSolutions features more than 450 hours of fire department training based on NFPA codes and standards. The training catalog includes awareness and refresher level courses for Firefighter I, Firefighter II, and company officer; fireground evolutions; hazardous materials; safety and health; first responder operations; wildland firefighting; and much more. In addition, TargetSolutions offers an operations management system that enables department leadership to manage training as well as schedule, deliver, track, and report on critical compliance issues. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning The courses now available at no cost to NVFC members are as follows: Firefighting Foams Action Plan Implementation Hazmat Spill Prevention and Control Hazmat Transportation Combustible and Flammable Liquids Pre-Incident Planning Behavior Emergencies Basic and Advanced Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Assessing the Patient with Major Trauma Bariatric Patients stellar training catalog “Online operational training is an important resource in today’s fire service, especially now given the constraints placed upon departments during the pandemic,” said NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch. “By providing continuing education online, departments can supplement their in-person training program as well as provide a more flexible training schedule to their volunteers. We are pleased to partner with TargetSolutions to enable our members to take advantage of their stellar training catalog.” Instructions for taking advantage of the free training available through TargetSolutions are available on the Members-Only web site under Member Resources/Member Benefits.
On June 29, a bi-partisan group of 36 U.S. Representatives, led by Representatives Cindy Axne (D-IA), French Hill (R-AR), and John Larson (D-CT), sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administrator Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma asking that they, “…allow fire departments and EMS agencies to receive payments for providing treatment-in-place to their patients as well as providing these agencies with direct reimbursement for facilitating emergency telehealth consultations.” Emergency telehealth consultations The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) was one of several major national fire and EMS organizations to support the letter. “I’d like to thank Representatives Axne, Hill, Larson, and all of the co-signers for their leadership on this important issue,” said NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch. “The fact that EMS agencies only get reimbursed by Medicare for transporting patients to a hospital has been a problem for years. The scope of services provided by fire and EMS departments is much broader than just patient transport, and because agencies only get paid for transporting patients to hospitals it creates a significant economic incentive to do that even if other treatment options are available.” “Now with COVID-19, as EMS organizations work with patients and hospitals to treat patients in non-hospital settings where appropriate, insurers need to step up to the plate and figure out ways to reimburse agencies for services rendered, including treatment-in-place and emergency telehealth consultations.”
In their second year of partnership with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), Anheuser-Busch has committed to donating more than 1.5 million cans of emergency drinking water in 2020 to volunteer fire departments across the country as they navigate unprecedented challenges. This month, the first wave of deliveries – totaling more than one million cans – will be delivered to 151 fire departments across 38 states to help ensure local volunteer fire departments have the resources they need to prepare for wildfire season. Emergency drinking water program “We are proud to partner with the National Volunteer Fire Council and deeply appreciate the critical importance of the volunteer fire service – those who selflessly volunteer to protect their communities when they need it most,” said Adam Warrington, vice president of better world at Anheuser-Busch. “Through our emergency drinking water program, we are able to utilize our production and distribution capabilities to provide necessary resources for members of the volunteer fire service. Alongside our wholesaler network, we will also continue to highlight the efforts and sacrifices of our nation’s brave firefighters and raise awareness on the challenges they face.” Anheuser-Busch teamed up with the NVFC in April 2019 to expand their disaster relief emergency drinking water program to provide critical hydration to the nation’s volunteer fire service. Corporate social initiatives It’s critical that firefighters are well-hydrated to ensure the proper level of response" Engage for Good awarded the program a 2020 Silver Halo Award in the disaster prevention/relief category in recognition of the difference the program makes in the health and safety of firefighters. The Halo Awards are North America’s highest honor for corporate social initiatives and cause marketing. Warrington and NVFC CEO Heather Schafer were recently featured on Engage for Good’s Cause Talk Radio podcast to discuss the initiative. “We appreciate Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to support our volunteer boots-on-the-ground responders in fighting our nation’s wildland fires, especially since many volunteer departments often work with limited budgets and resources,” said Steve Hirsch, chair of the NVFC. “It’s critical that firefighters are well-hydrated to ensure the proper level of response. Anheuser-Busch has been an outstanding partner, and we are excited to continue our relationship together through this invaluable program to support our volunteer firefighters’ health and safety.” Commitment to supporting communities Anheuser-Busch has longstanding commitment to supporting communities in times of need by providing emergency drinking water and supplies for relief efforts. Every year, the brewer periodically pauses beer production at their Cartersville, GA, and Fort Collins, CO, facilities to can clean, safe drinking water to be ready to help communities in times of disaster through their partnerships with the American Red Cross and the NVFC. Since 1988, Anheuser-Busch and their wholesaler partners have donated more than 83 million cans of emergency drinking water to communities impacted by natural disasters and other crisis.
On April 29, National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chair Steve Hirsch asked President Donald Trump to exercise various legal authorities to assist emergency services organizations in dealing with challenges associated with COVID-19 and social distancing. Specifically, the NVFC is asking the President to: Exercise his authority under the Defense Protection Act (DPA) to encourage manufacturers to produce more personal protective equipment, like respirators, gloves, gowns, and face shields, to help address persistent shortages across the nation. Exercise his authority under the Stafford Act to waive the 25 percent local cost share requirement on assistance available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund. Direct the Small Business Administration (SBA) to modify the rules of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to make it easier for fire and EMS organizations to apply for assistance. Hirsch sent separate letters to the FEMA Administrator, Peter Gaynor, and the SBA Administrator, Jovita Carranza, providing additional details and offering to work with them directly.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), in partnership with the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA) and the American Psychological Association (APA), has released a new directory of behavioral health professionals that are equipped and ready to help firefighters, EMS providers, dispatchers, and rescue workers. Emergency responders are at risk of many behavioral health concerns, including anxiety, depression, burnout, post-traumatic and acute stress, addiction, relationship challenges, and others. Through the Share the Load™ program, the NVFC works to provide resources and tools to help responders struggling with behavioral health issues and to enable departments to support the mental well-being of their members. The new Directory of Behavioral Health Professionals is designed to provide local options for responders seeking assistance so they can get the help they need. Fire service providers with experience or training “Emergency responders are the ones rushing in when everyone else is rushing out, and that takes a toll on behavioral health,” said NVFC chair Steve Hirsch. “Add to that the stressors of balancing the fire service with family life and, for volunteers, another career. It is imperative that those who need help have access to mental health providers that understand the unique challenges and stressors they face. I encourage department leaders to make sure their members are aware that this important resource is available.” All of the providers listed in the directory either have firsthand experience with the fire and emergency services or have completed a training course through FBHA to educate them on the fire service and the specific challenges responders face. The directory will be updated on a monthly basis as new providers are added. Licensed healthcare professionals Information about each provider, their credentials, how to contact them, and what insurance they accept is included. In addition to licensed healthcare professionals, other resources for assistance are also included, such as chaplains and peer support specialists. The directory is part of the NVFC’s Psychologically Healthy Fire Departments initiative, which is being developed in partnership with FBHA and APA and is made possible through a Fire Prevention and Safety Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In addition to the directory, the initiative includes a toolkit and training to help fire department leaders promote and support mental well-being among their members. These components will launch later in the year 2020.
Anheuser-Busch and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have been named a 2020 Silver Halo Award winner in the Disaster Prevention/Relief category for the Emergency Drinking Water for Wildland Firefighters program. Keeping firefighters hydrated during long incidents or disasters such as wildfires is a critical need for fire departments, yet many volunteer departments struggle with limited budget and resources. To help departments meet this need, Anheuser-Busch teamed up with the NVFC in 2019 to create the Emergency Drinking Water for Wildland Firefighters program, which delivered over 1.5 million cans of water to volunteer firefighters across the country and will do so again in 2020. Protecting communities from Wildfires “We are honored to receive this award and for being part of this program that both fills a critical need for volunteer fire departments and highlights the amazing work of our nation’s volunteer firefighters as they protect our communities from wildfires and other disasters,” said NVFC chair Steve Hirsch. “We are thankful for Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to support the health and safety of our boots on the ground volunteer responders through this invaluable program.” “Over the past year, we have been incredibly proud to work with our partners at the National Volunteer Fire Council and many of the heroes across the country who are protecting our communities through the volunteer fire service,” said Adam Warrington, Vice President of Better world at Anheuser-Busch. “Together with our wholesaler partners, we are looking forward to continuing to build on this partnership to raise awareness of the challenges our firefighters face and provide critical resources to those who serve our communities.” Corporate social initiatives Presented by Engage for Good, the Halo Awards are North America’s honor for corporate social initiatives and cause marketing. This marks the 18th year that Engage for Good has honored businesses and nonprofits with Halo Awards for doing well by doing good. “This year’s recipients provide tangible examples of effective and innovative purpose-driven efforts and demonstrate the many ways companies and causes can collaborate to create meaningful business and social returns,” said Engage for Good President David Hessekiel.
NVFC chair Steve Hirsch sat down with Side Alpha podcast host Marc Bashoor in February to discuss volunteerism in the fire service, how to stem declining numbers, strategies for recruitment and retention efforts, and the future of the fire service. The podcast is now available for download.
On May 15, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which would provide approximately US$ 3 trillion in assistance, to help the nation deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The bill includes a number of provisions to assist fire, EMS, and rescue departments, including: Provides US$ 500 million through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, for the purchase of personal protective equipment and related supplies, mental health evaluations, training, and temporary infectious disease decontamination or sanitizing facilities and Provides US$ 500 million for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, which provides funding to fire departments to hire, recruit, and retain volunteer and career firefighters. Waives the local matching requirements for AFG and SAFER funding provided in the HEROES Act, for AFG funding provided in the CARES Act, and for FY 2020 AFG and SAFER funding. Eliminates the 25 percent local match required to access disaster assistance from FEMA for pandemic-related expenses. Makes permanent the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act (VRIPA), which exempts nominal incentives that volunteer emergency responders receive as a reward for their service from being subject to federal income tax and reporting requirements. Repeals a requirement in current statute to reallocate and auction the ‘T-Band’ radio spectrum, which many public safety agencies around the country currently use for communications. HEROES Act The HEROES Act as introduced waived the following statutory requirements for AFG funding appropriated in FY 2020 and under the HEROES Act: That grant applications be subject to peer review evaluation. That maximum award sizes be capped based on population protected. That volunteer, combination, and career departments each receive a minimum of 25 percent of appropriated funds. NVFC’s letter to U.S. House of Representatives HEROES Act provides US$ 180 billion funds for ‘premium pay’ to ‘employees’ performing ‘frontline work’ National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chair, Steve Hirsch sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, the day after the HEROES Act was introduced, objecting to the waivers due to concerns that they would result in a significant reduction of funding to volunteer fire departments. In response to the NVFC’s objections, the U.S House of Representatives agreed to remove the waivers for the FY 2020 AFG funding, but not the funding appropriated as part of the HEROES Act. The HEROES Act also appropriates US$ 180 billion to provide ‘premium pay’ to ‘employees’ performing ‘frontline work’, during the COVID-19 pandemic. While volunteer fire and EMS personnel perform frontline work, as defined under the bill, they are not eligible to receive premium pay under the bill because they are not employees. Call for volunteer emergency responders to be included The NVFC believes that if the federal government is going to pay people, who are not federal employees for working on the frontlines, during the pandemic, then volunteer emergency responders should also be included. The HEROES Act passed the House on a mostly-party line vote, with 207 Democrats and 1 Republican voting ‘yes’ and 14 Democrats, 184 Republicans, and 1 Independent voting ‘no’. US President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the HEROES Act, and US Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell has indicated that the US Senate does not plan to take it up. COVID-19 relief legislation “There are a lot of valuable provisions in the HEROES Act, and I thank the House of Representatives for their work in developing it,” said Hirsch, adding “I am particularly pleased that the bill would make the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act permanent, resulting in approximately US$ 50 million in annual tax savings for volunteer emergency responders according to the Congressional Budget Office. Hirsch adds, “I thank the appropriators for working with the NVFC to improve the AFG waiver language in the HEROES Act on short notice. The NVFC will continue to work with the House and Senate on additional modifications to the HEROES Act and/or future COVID-19 relief legislation.”
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) joined with other major national fire service organizations in asking Congress to provide full funding, $750 million each, for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs in FY 2021. The letter also asks Congress to waive local matching funds requirements under AFG and SAFER and to increase flexibility for using SAFER funds to retain personnel in FY 2020, FY 2021, and for any supplemental AFG or SAFER appropriation. The NVFC separately asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Chad Wolf, to provide those same waivers for the FY 2020 AFG and SAFER funding. The DHS Secretary has the statutory authority to provide such waivers under existing law. emergency services organizations “The budget environment for thousands of emergency services organizations across the nation is deteriorating, due to COVID-19 and related declines in tax and private fundraising revenues,” said NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch. “Fire and EMS departments need help so that they can continue providing quality, life-saving services even as they grapple with these challenges.”
Steve Hirsch, Chair of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), has been named as an advisor to the Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award (STACVA) program. This new national award, scheduled to launch June 1, will honor extraordinary public service volunteers in small localities (under 5,000) nationwide and help shine a spotlight on a growing national problem: a decline in the availability of citizens to fill important public safety and service roles. Advisory team members will help design metrics for selecting the top 100 STACVA national honorees and develop strategies for promoting STACVA nominations by eligible localities across the country. The NVFC is one of the STACVA’s principal co-sponsors, along with the National Association of Counties, the National Association of Towns and Townships, and the volunteer nonprofit organization Points of Light. emergency medical services Civic volunteers are hometown heroes who serve in critical roles including firefighting, emergency medical services, municipal and county councils and boards, and on advisory committees supporting library, recreation, planning, environmental, and other important local government services. STACVA is being underwritten by CivicPlus, the largest local government technology company in the country Public service volunteerism is the lifeblood of small communities and rural counties; however, research shows that the percent of people volunteering in small communities dropped substantially for 12 consecutive years. The primary purposes of the STACVA are to focus national attention on this issue, highlight best practices to spur a new cadre of citizens to fill these vital roles, and support innovative local volunteer retention and recruitment strategies. civic volunteer retention STACVA is being underwritten by CivicPlus, the largest local government technology company in the country. Localities represented by the top three winning honorees will receive cash grants of $10,000, $7,500, and $5,000 respectively. Municipalities and counties represented by the top 100 STACVA nominees will receive custom CivicPlus web sites (and one year of web site hosting at no charge), featuring a unique module offering civic volunteer retention and recruitment resources. The program, which has an estimated total value of over $1 million dollars in donated services and grants, is scheduled to begin accepting nominations on June 1 via the STACVA web site. Hirsch is the training officer for Sheridan Country (KS) Fire District #1, Thomas County Fire District #4, and Grinnell Country Fire Department, all of which are 100 percent volunteer fire departments. first-hand the challenge He has a private law practice, serves as attorney for Decatur Country in northwest Kansas, and is also the attorney for 18 cities in nine counties in north central Kansas. The Barton Russell Group has been chosen to design and manage the STACVA program “I am honored to serve as an advisor to such an important and unique program that recognizes and supports our volunteers,” said Hirsch. “I see first-hand the challenge faced by so many communities in finding citizens willing to serve in first responder and other essential roles.” provide critical resources The NVFC is the renowned nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. It serves as the strong voice of these volunteers in the national arena and provides critical resources, programs, education, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. The Barton Russell Group has been chosen to design and manage the STACVA program. BRG has built and/or consulted on several national award and grant programs including the Best Small Towns in America contest, the American Hometown Leaders Award, and the America’s Best Communities competition. Bart Russell, former Executive Director of the National Association of Towns and Townships, founded the Barton Russell Group. He is a nationally recognized expert on “everything small town” - its 32,000 communities and 120 million people.
In recognition of National Volunteer Week in April, First Alert, the most trusted brand in fire safety, is teaming up with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to show their gratitude and appreciation for volunteer fire departments across the country. With first responders facing unprecedented conditions nationwide, the donation of 1,000 First Alert rechargeable fire extinguishers will go to departments registered with the NVFC’s Fire Corps program to help fire service volunteers make an immediate impact in the fire readiness of their communities. Distributing fire extinguishers While millions of people across the country are spending more time at home – and as home cooking increases – it is important to educate the community about the essential role that fire extinguishers play in a home safety plan. For this reason, First Alert and the NVFC have partnered to develop the fire extinguisher donation program, which will allow volunteer fire departments to distribute fire extinguishers to keep homes and families safe. “With more people home and cooking, the risk of fire incidents increases,” said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert. “According to the National Fire Protection Association, the number one cause of home fires in the United States is unattended cooking, with ranges or cooktops accounting for 62 percent of home fire incidents. Many small kitchen fires could likely be resolved with a fire extinguisher if caught early.” Proper placement and maintenance of extinguishers Departments should practice recommended safety protocols and electronically share information Fire extinguishers can help save lives when used quickly and effectively. Yet, an astonishing 70 percent of fire extinguisher owners say they would not be comfortable using an extinguisher in the event of a fire according to recent research. The donation program is supplemented by an online training course, which will enable volunteer firefighters to educate their communities on how to properly and safely use this important line of defense. Departments should practice recommended safety protocols and electronically share information with residents under the current climate of social distancing. “When a fire starts, every second counts. Especially with the increase in people in their homes, knowing the proper placement and maintenance of extinguishers – in addition to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms – can help reduce the risk of severe fire incidents,” added Wey. Placing fire extinguishers in convenient locations It is important to place fire extinguishers in convenient locations in the kitchen and garage, and on every level of the home. A simple way to remember how to operate a fire extinguisher is with the acronym PASS: Pull the pin on the extinguisher. Aim the nozzle low toward the base of the fire. Squeeze the trigger. Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side. Carbon monoxide alarm installations The NVFC’s Fire Corps program utilizes community volunteers to assist resource-constrained fire departments with non-operational tasks such as community education and smoke and carbon monoxide alarm installations. The extinguisher donation program will enable these volunteers to equip residents with this important line of defense as well as provide instruction on how to properly use an extinguisher. “We are grateful to First Alert for this donation to help our volunteer departments keep communities safe and decrease the number of fire-related calls,” said NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch. “We also are thankful for our fire service volunteers and the commitment they make to keep their own neighbors safe from threats of fire and carbon monoxide.”
Thanks to Anheuser-Busch, volunteer fire departments who respond to wildland fires can now apply for canned emergency drinking water through the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) for their immediate or upcoming wildfire response needs. Fighting Wildfires The Emergency Drinking Water for Wildland Firefighters program supports volunteer departments across the U.S. fighting wildfires throughout the year by helping provide critical hydration when it is needed most. “We appreciate Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to support our volunteer boots on the ground responders in fighting our nation’s wildland fires, especially since many volunteer departments often work with limited budgets and resources,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chairman, Steve Hirsch. Supporting fire and emergency ground responders It’s critical that firefighters are well-hydrated to ensure the proper level of response" Steve adds, “It’s critical that firefighters are well-hydrated to ensure the proper level of response. Anheuser-Busch has been an outstanding partner, and we are excited to continue our relationship together through this invaluable program to support our volunteer firefighters’ health and safety.” This is the second year of the program, which is an expansion of Anheuser-Busch’s longstanding tradition of providing emergency drinking water and supplies for disaster relief efforts. In 2019, Anheuser-Busch teamed up with the NVFC to deliver over 1 million cans of clean drinking water to help hydrate our nation’s firefighters. This year, Anheuser-Busch has pledged to continue this support through a donation of 1.5 million cans of emergency drinking water to support fire departments across the country. Enhancing firefighters’ safety “Volunteer firefighters selflessly put their lives on the line to help protect our friends, families, and neighbors,” said Adam Warrington, Vice President, Better World at Anheuser-Busch. “We are proud to provide valuable hydration support through our emergency drinking water program to our nation's brave firefighters and to work alongside our partners at the NVFC, highlighting their efforts and sacrifices for the continued safety of our communities.” Departments will have two key opportunities to request water in 2020 to support immediate and upcoming wildfire-related incidents. Application Period 1: March 15 – May 15. NOW OPEN! Application Period 2: July 1 – August 31 Applying for emergency drinking water Departments in a declared emergency due to wildfire will also be able to request water outside of the application periods to help with their immediate wildfire response needs. To apply for emergency drinking water from Anheuser-Busch and the NVFC, departments must meet the following requirements: Responded to wildfires in 2019 and plans to respond to wildfires in 2020 Be all-volunteer or mostly-volunteer (over 50%) Serve a population of 25,000 or less Be located in the U.S. and be legally organized under state law Must be available to accept the water delivery, store requested amount, and utilize amount by ‘best by’ date on package (canned water has a shelf life of 365 days from the packaging date) Demonstrate a need for the water Departments are encouraged to submit one application per year. Subsequent applications received for that department will be subject to additional review. NVFC members will have priority to receive the water donation.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), the non-profit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services, has announced a partnership with DRONERESPONDERS – the world’s fastest growing program supporting public safety – to help coordinate, cooperate, and co-promote efforts to enhance the use of drones in the pursuit of public safety. Drone Operations The memorandum of understanding outlines the key initiatives under which the NVFC and DRONERESPONDERS will collaborate together to assist America’s volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services in adopting and perfecting the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to help save lives. “Our members are increasingly interested in learning more about how they can use drones to enhance their ability to serve the public,” said Steve Hirsch, chair of the NVFC. “At the same time, we are also hearing concerns from members about privately operated drones interfering with their operations. Our partnership with DRONERESPONDERS will focus on both of these issues, providing information to the volunteer emergency services about drone operations, and educating public safety and the public in general about the benefits and challenges associated with drone use at emergency scenes.” Drones represent an amazing new capability to help these departments conduct a wide-array of operations" Aerial First Responders The partnership works towards the common goal of enhancing public safety and furthering the capabilities of emergency responders. DRONERESPONDERS was created to unite aerial first responders, emergency managers, and search and rescue specialists to maximize drone operations for public safety. With volunteers comprising 65 percent of the nation’s fire service, it is important to educate this segment of the emergency responder community on this growing technology. It could also benefit departments struggling to meet staffing needs by helping them be more effective and efficient in their operations. “Volunteer firefighters are the backbone of our nation’s fire service, providing life-safety services across most smaller towns and rural communities in the U.S.,” said Charles Werner, director of DRONERESPONDERS and retired fire chief from Charlottesville, VA. “Drones represent an amazing new capability to help these departments conduct a wide-array of operations, ranging from search and rescue missions to structure fires to HAZMAT incidents.” Drones For Good Werner says DRONERESPONDERS and the NVFC will work together to provide resources to help volunteer fire departments adopt and implement Drones For Good™, a program designed to utilize unmanned aviation capabilities in disaster response.
On January 28, Senators Jacky Rosen and Deb Fischer introduced the HERO Act, S. 3244, companion legislation to H.R. 1646, which was introduced last year by Representatives Ami Bera and Brian Fitzpatrick. The HERO Act establishes a series of programs to address public safety behavioral health issues, including: Creates a grant program for peer-support behavioral health and wellness programs at fire departments and EMS agencies Directs the U.S. Fire Administration in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and make publicly available resources to be used by the federal government and other entities to educate mental health professionals about the unique behavioral health issues that firefighters and EMS personnel face Establishes a system for collecting data on suicide deaths of public safety officers Firefighter behavioural health “I’d like to thank Senators Rosen and Fischer, as well as Representatives Bera and Fitzpatrick, for introducing the HERO Act to assist emergency responders and public safety agencies dealing with behavioral health issues,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chair Steve Hirsch. “For too long the challenges facing our nation’s firefighters and EMS providers associated with behavioral health have been underappreciated. Passage of the HERO Act will focus much-needed attention and resources on helping to address this critical problem.”
The application period is now open for MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway program! Sponsored by MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), the 2020 Global Giveaway Program will equip 13 volunteer fire departments with four new sets of state-of-the-art turnout gear and four new helmets to enhance their firefighters’ safety. Since the program began in 2012, 507 sets of turnout gear have been awarded to 108 departments, for a total of over $1 million worth of life-saving personal protective equipment. MSA donated four helmets to each winning department for the first time in 2019 and will continue to do so in 2020 to help provide full ensemble protection. Protective turnout gear and helmets “Protecting firefighters is what we do at MSA,” said Eleni Lucido, vice president and general manager of MSA’s business in the U.S. and Canada. “For more than a century, we’ve been committed to providing workers all around the world with the equipment they need to help keep them safe. We’re proud to partner with the NVFC to provide state-of-the-art turnout gear to departments in need.” We have been able to increase the safety and protection for hundreds of firefighters throughout the U.S. and Canada" “Volunteer fire departments often struggle to fund the resources and equipment necessary to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said NVFC chair Steve Hirsch. “We are grateful for the generosity of MSA, Globe, and DuPont in providing critical, lifesaving gear to the dedicated volunteers who serve their local communities. Through this incredible program, we have been able to increase the safety and protection for hundreds of firefighters throughout the U.S. and Canada.” Enhanced protection of firefighters “DuPont is driven by the passion to protect those who protect us as volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line each day to protect our cities and towns, and we are honored to partner with MSA and NVFC to help ensure their safety,” said John Richard, vice president and general manager for DuPont Safety. “With the increase in wildfires over recent years, firefighter safety has never been more important. We are proud to provide firefighting teams with the latest personal protective equipment to build confidence in their safety when battling the next blaze.” To be eligible to apply, departments must be over 50 percent volunteer, serve a population of 25,000 or less, be located in the U.S. or Canada, demonstrate significant need for new gear and the person applying or the department chief must be a member of the NVFC. MSA will provide complimentary NVFC memberships to the first 500 applicants to help departments meet the membership requirement.
The Homes for Heroes Foundation has donated $5,000 to the National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund in order to assist volunteer firefighters and EMS providers impacted by a disaster. This is the second donation the Foundation has made to the Support Fund; in December, they contributed $7,500 to help volunteer responders in need. Joanne Hilliard presented NVFC staff with a $7,500 donation from Homes for Heroes for the NVFC Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund in December 2019. The Foundation made a second donation of $5,000 in early 2020. Eligible Volunteer Responders The volunteer firefighters and EMS providers who serve our communities are not immune"“We are grateful for the generous support of the Homes for Heroes Foundation,” said NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch. “The volunteer firefighters and EMS providers who serve our communities are not immune to the same disasters they respond to. “The Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund provides a stipend to these brave men and women when their homes or property are impacted by a large-scale disaster or home fire so they can meet their basic needs in the aftermath of the disaster. We rely on donations from individuals and organizations like the Homes for Heroes Foundation to be able to provide this much-needed assistance.” Since 2005, the Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund has provided over $600,000 to eligible volunteer responders whose homes have been damaged or destroyed due to floods, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, or other disasters. 100 percent of contributions made to the Support Fund go directly to volunteers. 33,000 Firefighters, EMS Providers Homes for Heroes is a national network of affiliate real estate, mortgage, and local business specialists, who have joined together to provide those who serve with significant savings on the purchase of a home. Since 2009, Homes for Heroes has helped over 33,000 firefighters, EMS providers, law enforcement, military, healthcare professionals, and teachers save over $54 million on their real estate transactions. In addition, the Homes for Heroes Foundation has donated over $692,000 to heroes in need.
The U.S. Census will take place in 2020. Fire departments have shown interests in becoming a partner with the Census Bureau to encourage their local community to participate. The partners come together to spread the message about the importance of participation in their communities. These trusted voices serve as census ambassadors, helping to create awareness about the importance of participating. Partners run the spectrum of government, nonprofit, corporate, and community organizations that spread the message and mobilize their constituents to support the goal of a complete count. massive and important undertaking “I encourage all fire departments to get involved in the count of people in your jurisdiction. It is an important event that has far reaching consequences for funding,” said National Volunteer Fire Council Chair Steve Hirsch. The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data. Conducting a census is a massive and important undertaking — one in which the Census Bureau could only accomplish with the help and support of its partners.
MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) provided 13 volunteer fire departments with needed personal protective equipment through MSA’s 2019 Globe Gear Giveaway. Each department received four sets of new, state-of-the-art turnout gear along with four helmets to better protect their members. This year marks over $1 million worth of gear that has been donated to volunteer fire departments in need since 2012. In total, 507 sets of turnout gear have been awarded to 108 departments. “Protecting firefighters is what we do at MSA,” said Eleni Lucido, vice president and general manager of MSA’s business in the U.S. and Canada. “For more than a century, we’ve been committed to providing workers all around the world with the equipment they need to help keep them safe. We’re proud to partner with the NVFC to provide state-of-the-art turnout gear to departments in need.” Struggle funding Resources “Volunteer fire departments often struggle to fund the resources and equipment necessary to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said NVFC chair Steve Hirsch. “We are grateful for the generosity of MSA, Globe, and DuPont in providing critical, lifesaving gear to the dedicated volunteers who serve their local communities. Through this incredible program, we have been able to increase the safety and protection for hundreds of firefighters throughout the U.S. and Canada.” 13 percent of departments do not have enough personal protective clothing for all of their emergency responders According to a needs assessment published by the National Fire Protection Association in 2016, 72 percent of fire departments reported that some of their personal protective clothing was at least 10 years old, and 13 percent of departments do not have enough personal protective clothing for all of their emergency responders. The data also shows that the need is greatest in small communities that are protected primarily by volunteer firefighters. In 2018, the NVFC began asking program applicants if their department had boots, gloves, helmets, and hoods for all of their firefighters. Nearly 50 percent of 2018 gear recipients indicated that they did not. To help address this issue, MSA donated four helmets to each winning department for the first time in 2019 and will continue to do so in 2020. Recipients of 2019 MSA Globe Gear Giveaway The recipients in the 2019 MSA Globe Gear Giveaway are: Aguila (AZ) Volunteer Fire Department Balsam-Willets-Ochre Hill Volunteer Fire Department (Sylva, NC) Canal Fulton (OH) Fire Department Fuego Volunteer Fire Company (Billings, MT) Harbour Grace (NL, Canada) Volunteer Fire Brigade Jacobstown (NJ) Fire Company Kenduskeag (ME) Fire Rescue Rocky Creek Volunteer Fire Department (Burton, TX) Rutland Volunteer Fire Company (Black River, NY) Salcha (AK) Fire & Rescue Stella Rural Fire Department (Rocky Comfort, MO) Utica (MS) Volunteer Fire Department Witt (IL) Volunteer Fire Department To be eligible for the 2019 Giveaway, departments had to be over 50 percent volunteer, serve a population of 25,000 or less, be located in the U.S. or Canada, be a member of the NVFC, and demonstrate significant need for new gear. MSA provided complimentary NVFC membership to the first 500 applicants to help departments meet the membership requirement. The application period for MSA’s 2020 Globe Gear Giveaway will open in February. Thirteen departments will each receive four new sets of turnout gear along with four helmets to increase firefighter safety.