NVFC: THE VOICE OF THE VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER There are over one million volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in the U.S. In fact, over 71% of our nation’s firefighters are volunteers. These brave men and women risk their lives every day to protect their communities, responding to emergencies of all kinds.
In addition to providing life-saving services, these volunteers also save communities across the nation a significant amount of money. It would cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $128 billion every year if all the volunteer first responders were replaced with career staff.
In an emergency, volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel are there for you and your loved ones. You can feel safe knowing that if something should happen – be it a fire, medical emergency, natural disaster, terrorist threat, or other crisis – your community’s firefighters and EMTs are ready to protect you. They volunteer their time and risk their own safety to protect others because they care about their neighbors and communities.
Yet volunteer and combination departments across the country are struggling to recruit and retain members, fund life-saving programs, and continue to offer the services their communities depend on. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) provides critical support to volunteer emergency service departments and personnel through advocacy, programs, and resources that enable the volunteer fire and emergency services to thrive.
The NVFC is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to support the volunteer fire and emergency services and serve as a unified voice for the volunteer on a national level. The NVFC meets the needs of the volunteer fire service in many ways. Our advocacy efforts have led to the passage of national legislation and policies that benefit the fire service and thus our communities, while our programs and resources help make communities stronger and safer on the local level.
One of the NVFC’s focus areas is recruitment and retention. While volunteers make up 71% of the U.S. fire service, the number of volunteer firefighters is actually 10% less than it was 25 years ago. At the same time, the number of calls to fire departments has more than doubled in the last two decades. Through the 1-800-FIRE-LINE campaign, any community member from anywhere in the country can call this toll-free number to find volunteer opportunities with their local emergency service department.
You don’t have to be a firefighter or EMT to help your local department. Through the Fire Corps program, community members can volunteer with their local fire department in a non-emergency role, performing tasks such as preparedness planning, fire and life safety education in the community, administrative support, and much more. This allows first responders to focus on training and response activities while the department is able to provide additional needed programs and services in the community. By calling 1-800-FIRE-LINE, community members can learn about both the first responder and Fire Corps opportunities within their local department. Those specifically interested in Fire Corps can also visit www.firecorps.org to find a local program.
The NVFC also manages the National Junior Firefighter Program, which helps get youth involved in the fire and emergency services. Junior firefighter programs help instill life-skills and values such as responsibility, leadership, teamwork, dedication, and confidence in youth participants. In turn, many of these youth become firefighters or emergency medical providers when they become adults. For instance, seventy-five percent of the firefighters in the Cherryville (NC) Fire Department started out as junior firefighters. There are over 1,300 junior firefighter programs registered with the NVFC. Find a local program at www.nvfc.org/juniors.
Another key focus area of the NVFC is health and safety. More firefighters die of heart attacks while on-duty than from any other cause. The NVFC is working to reverse this trend through the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program, which educates firefighters about their health risks and provides the tools and resources to keep first responders healthy and ready to respond. The NVFC also provides resources and training for first responders on a variety of other health and safety issues, such as safe vehicle operations and proper use of personal protective equipment.
Through legislative advocacy, resources, programs, and more, the NVFC is meeting the critical needs of volunteer fire and emergency service departments across the country. With over half of all Americans living in communities served by departments that are either volunteer or a combination of volunteer and career, chances are that you or someone you know lives in a community that is protected by volunteers. Supporting the NVFC means that you are supporting the first responders who are there for you, your family, your friends, and your neighbors.
Learn more about the NVFC at www.nvfc.org. To find volunteer opportunities with your local fire department, call 1-800-FIRE-LINE.
TRACK PROGRAM CREATED TO THANK FIREFIGHTERS USFD Racing has created the USFDR Tracks Program, a directory of race tracks in the United States that offer a discount ticket to firefighters. When you see the USFD Racing logo on a track web site, you know that they support firefighters. The first two promoters to kick this program off are NASCAR driver Rick Crawford, promoter of Mobile International Speedway, and David Furia, promoter of Lakeport Speedway. These two tracks are also the tracks where USFDR drivers Derek Long and Jim Board have been cut out of their race cars after serious accidents. Their track safety crews are a great example why USFDR is working hard to honor first responders. The USFD Racing team would like to thank Mobile International Speedway and Lakeport Speedway for their support, and they look forward to working with many more tracks that would follow their example by supporting the firefighters that support us every day.
FULL THROTTLE RACING RADIO SHOW THE VOICE OF USFD RACING Full Throttle Racing radio show in Mobile, AL on FM Talk 106.5 has teamed up with USFD Racing as the team’s official radio show and media partner. Join host Derek Long every Saturday morning from 8:00 to 9:00am for a fast-paced hour from Karts to the Sprint Cup and all racing in between, racers and fans alike catch the week’s most up-to-date results and stories from local race tracks, regional series, and NASCAR’s national divisions. Growing up just an hour away from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kane is a life-long racing enthusiast and participant. You can catch him announcing at Mobile International Speedway as well as racing Bombers and Stingers all over the Gulf Coast. The show features weekly NASCAR on-the-road updates from Dustin Long, a motorsports columnist and president of the National Motorsports Press association. Produced by 30-year local motorsports veteran, Bill Roth.