NVFC secures $1.4 million federal grant to enhance emergency responder well-being

October 3, 2023
grant funding

Federal grant boosts emergency responder health programs

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has secured a $1.4 million Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

According to a recent announcement from NVFC, these funds will be used to bolster programs and initiatives that safeguard firefighter health, enhance safety, and reduce potential hazards that may cause injuries or fatalities in the line of duty.

Initiatives under the federal grant umbrella

Previous funding from FP&S grants has empowered the NVFC to launch vital programs like the Share the Load program, Psychologically Healthy Fire Departments initiative, and the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program.

In addition, they have released essential resources and training focused on cancer prevention, vehicle safety, culture change, injury prevention, and more.

The emphasis of the new grant is to shift mindsets, fostering a fire service culture that prioritizes health, well-being, and safety.

Drawing inspiration from past FP&S grant successes, the latest funding will target areas like cancer prevention, behavioral health, department culture, and leadership.

The overarching aim is to minimize health and safety threats faced by volunteer responders.

This will be achieved by disseminating validated research, crafting tools and resources, and facilitating education and training.

To fulfill these objectives, NVFC plans to roll out an awareness campaign, offer complimentary in-person and online training sessions, including those through the Virtual Classroom and the notable Training Summit conference, sustain essential programs, expand the NVFC First Responder Helpline, and cultivate resources.

Additionally, the initiative intends to engage partners to amplify the influence and outreach of these efforts.

Leaders voice their support

“In the fire service, our people are our greatest asset,” declared NVFC chair Steve Hirsch. “The health and wellbeing of our nation’s volunteer firefighters, EMS providers, and rescue workers are top priorities for the NVFC.

“We are grateful for FEMA’s backing, allowing us to persist in our mission to safeguard those who shield our communities.

“Our goal remains to provide programs, resources, and training that curtail injuries and fatalities among those in service and to foster a robust, successful, and enduring fire service now and for generations to come.”

Senator Chris Van Hollen (MD) echoed these sentiments: “Our firefighters and first responders commit every day to put their lives on the line for the neighborhoods they serve.

“This federal investment I championed ensures volunteer firefighters in Maryland and nationwide receive adequate training to navigate emergencies and access tools crucial for their mental well-being.

“Such resources are instrumental in upholding formidable volunteer fire services that shield our communities.”

FSJA Comment

The federal grant received by NVFC signifies a pivotal moment in the ongoing efforts to support and prioritize the health and safety of volunteer emergency responders.

The substantial funding will enable the NVFC to expand its range of critical initiatives, offering essential training and resources.

As the risks faced by these responders continue to evolve, it’s paramount that they are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge.

The commitment showcased by NVFC and the backing from FEMA underscores the collective endeavor to ensure the well-being of those who dedicate their lives to serving their communities.

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