Hydration support for wildland firefighters: Anheuser-Busch and NVFC offer emergency water program

March 18, 2024

Anheuser-Busch has once again collaborated with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to provide canned drinking water to volunteer departments fighting wildfires.

The Emergency Drinking Water for Wildland Firefighters program, now in its sixth year, is an extension of Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to providing emergency supplies for disaster relief.

In 2024, this initiative will contribute 1.5 million cans of water, aiding firefighters during prolonged incidents or wildfires.

The program has donated over 8.9 million cans of water to volunteer fire departments since its inception in 2019.

Departments eligible for this program must be in the U.S., predominantly respond to wildfires, have over 50 percent volunteer staff, and serve communities of 25,000 residents or fewer.

Applications are open through March 31, and interested parties can visit NVFC’s website for more details.

Previous contributions and impact on wildland firefighters

The Emergency Drinking Water for Wildland Firefighters program has been pivotal in aiding departments with limited resources.

Dehydration poses severe risks to wildland firefighters, including diminished awareness and performance, and heightened vulnerability to heat-related illnesses.

With many departments facing financial constraints, ensuring a sufficient water supply has been challenging.

This program alleviates this burden, enabling firefighters to remain hydrated and effective.

In 2023, the program reached a new milestone, donating 2.5 million cans of water to 1,061 departments in 47 states during two application periods.

Criteria for receiving the water included being predominantly volunteer-based and serving smaller communities.

Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to emergency relief extends beyond this program, with the company periodically halting beer production to can emergency drinking water for various crises.

Reinforcing the importance of the program

NVFC chair Steve Hirsch emphasized the significance of this support: “Drinking water is a necessity that not every fire department can access or afford.

We thank Anheuser-Busch for equipping wildland firefighters with the fuel they need to protect themselves and their communities.”

The consistent support from Anheuser-Busch has been instrumental in providing nearly 2,500 volunteer fire departments across almost all 50 states with essential hydration resources.

FSJA Comment

The collaboration between Anheuser-Busch and the NVFC in the Emergency Drinking Water for Wildland Firefighters program highlights the importance of public-private partnerships in addressing critical needs of community services, particularly volunteer fire departments.

These departments often face financial challenges, impacting their ability to procure essential supplies like drinking water.

The scale of this initiative, with millions of cans of water distributed since 2019, underscores the widespread need for such support among volunteer fire departments, especially in managing long-duration incidents like wildfires.

It’s a practical response to a real need, demonstrating how corporations can effectively contribute to disaster relief and community support.

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