Help the Fight!

National Volunteer Fire Council

Welcome to the National Volunteer Fire Council report. The NVFC Spring meeting is May 19-21 in Arlington, VA, and will likely be wrapped up before you read this article. I will be attending and looking forward to providing a summary of new and updated information upon returning.

It took two years and a very large grant from the John Deere Foundation in delivering a new Volunteer Fire Service Documentary entitled, Odd Hours, No Pay, Cool Hat. State Fire Marshal Tim Bean sent out a pre-screening email on their listing for registration and advanced viewing with a Q & A. It was a surprise to many how so much came together for a deep look into the world of a volunteer. For me, it was a “WOW” result. I will make the information available in the next article for all viewing.

The National Firefighter Registry (NFR) is now open for enrollment. To register go online to: https://nfr.cdc.gov/?ACSTrackingID=USCDC

This is crazy important for all of the fire service, having taken years just to make it to this point regardless of having no cancer in your health history. The official kick-off following a detailed soft start was April 17th. Signing up will make a difference. The NFR is the only national database that monitors cancer in U.S. firefighters and will make it possible to investigate the link between firefighting and cancer. By sharing information about the NFR with your network of people and organizations, you will play an integral part in helping to enroll as many firefighters as possible.

The National Firefighter Registry is the largest existing effort to understand and reduce cancer risk among firefighters. All firefighters, paid or volunteer, active or retired, with or without cancer, and no matter their length of service, can and should join the National Firefighter Registry. Participation is voluntary. By joining the National Firefighter Registry, you can help protect your brothers and sisters in the fire service from developing cancer and pave the way for new health and safety measures to keep the next generation of firefighters safer. You can learn more at www.cdc.gov/NFR Their website links to other resources.

On the legislative side of things and for this Congress, the NVFC will be supporting funding for Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER), the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants (VFA), National Firefighter [Cancer] Registry (NFR), and Rural EMS Training (SIREN) Grants.

The NVFC will also be advocating for the passage of legislation to reauthorize SAFER, AFG, and USFA, fund the renovation and construction of fire stations, improve mental health care for first responders, and expand the eligibility of federal housing benefits to volunteer first responders. If enacted, each of these policy and funding priorities will greatly assist the volunteer fire service in keeping Americans safe. You, as an NVFC member and volunteer responder, have a valuable role to play in encouraging Congress to act on these initiatives by encouraging your Senators and members of Congress to support these priorities.

NVFC continues to take a leading position in supporting women in the fire service. They have concluded a final review of a new document entitled, Fire Service Discrimination and Harassment Toolkit. Each NVFC Director was asked to review and comment. It has been approved by the NVFC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and Women in Fire group with a launch date of April 24 at FDIC.

Thank you for your time and for allowing Rob and me to serve on your behalf.