NVFC Awarded Grant to Address First Responder Health and Safety

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) a $786,580 Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grant to conduct a series of health and safety initiatives over the next year. The grant will help the NVFC build on existing health and safety programs as well as address emerging issues facing the fire and emergency services.

A cornerstone of the NVFC’s mission is to address firefighter health and safety, reducing injuries and deaths among the volunteer fire and emergency services. The NVFC, with support from previous FP&S grants, administers groundbreaking health and wellness programs including the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program, the Share the Load behavioral health support program, and the B.E.S.T. Priorities for Health and Safety. In addition, the NVFC has released resources and training to help with vehicle safety, cancer awareness and prevention, and other critical areas of firefighter health and safety.

With this grant, the NVFC will focus on creating a culture of knowledge and safety in the fire and emergency services, emphasizing the need to change attitudes and actions to an environment that embraces safety and takes proactive measures to lessen the risks that personnel face. This will be accomplished through a comprehensive awareness campaign, education, and the development of resources. Key areas that will be addressed under this grant include cancer, behavioral health, and risks while responding or on the incident scene.

The grant will allow the NVFC to offer training through its Virtual Classroom, develop a handbook on how and why to make this cultural shift to safety, and develop a standards implementation guide. In addition, the NVFC will hold its second Training Summit and roll-out an awareness campaign addressing key health and safety issues facing the volunteer fire service, including behavioral health concerns such as depression, PTSD, and substance abuse.

“By educating personnel on their risks and manageable steps they can take to lessen these risks, we empower the volunteer fire service to do better,” said NVFC Chairman Kevin D. Quinn. “The NVFC has created a lot of positive changes in the fire service through its health and safety programs and initiatives. We thank FEMA for providing this grant to help us continue and expand on these initiatives to further increase the health and safety of our nation’s firefighters and emergency responders.”

The FP&S Grants are part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards. The primary goal is to reduce injury and prevent death among high-risk populations. Learn more about the grants at www.fema.gov/fire-prevention-safety-grants.