Fall Meeting Updates

National Volunteer Fire Council

Welcome to the National Volunteer Fire Council report. I will lead off with a few bullet points of how NVFC currently stands as an organization. They currently have over 28,000 individual memberships, $2.6 million in assets with most of that as invested savings. Their 2024 budget is $4 million with most of that in program expenditures of several grants and support from 32 corporate partners.

NVFC individual membership has grown 24 percent in the past five years, which is remarkable as many organizations saw a downward turn in their membership due to COVID. The NVFC’s membership retention rate is 86% which is 11% above the industry average. Membership is diversifying among the states.

NVFC’s programs continue to make positive changes in the volunteer fire service as provided by several documented statistics. The NVFC has and remains active legislatively with a current focus on the reauthorization of AFG and SAFER.

Through September, NVFC has hosted 2,325 webinar attendees, 4,338 Virtual Classroom registrations, 575 Roundtable Talk participants, and 150 Training Summit attendees.

Some ongoing geographics… Their Spring Meeting will be held in Alexandria, VA for the foreseeable future. The 2024 Fall Meeting will be held in Kansas City, MO, the 2025 meeting will be in Rapid City, SD, and the 2026 meeting will be in Owensboro, KY.

While NVFC has several legislative priorities, they just added the Hero Act (H.R. 4274/S.1925) to that list. In summary, it will establish a series of programs designed to address public safety behavioral health issues, including creating a grant program for peer-support behavioral health and wellness programs at fire and EMS departments. Directing the U.S. Fire Administration in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop publicly available resources. These will be used by the federal government and other entities to educate mental health professionals about the unique behavioral health issues that firefighters and EMS personnel face. It will establish a system for collecting data on suicide deaths of public safety officers.
The Health, Safety & Training Committee continues to partner with key industry groups in the study, prevention, and support related to Fire Service Cancer. At the fall meeting, NVFC agreed to partner with the University of Miami’s Dr. Sylvester in their Comprehensive Cancer Study and application for future federal grant funding. Dr. Sylvester and his team of clinical staff have become a leader in the greater understanding, prevention, and early diagnostic technology for fire service-related cancers. Prevention and early detection are the two key areas that will save the greatest number of firefighters.

There were 40 of 49 States (Hawaii has no Volunteer Fire Departments) that were able to attend the Fall Meeting in Cooperstown, NY. It is always interesting to learn the organizational structure of each state association regarding their membership and their varied support services. It is clear the Firefighters Association for the State of New York (FASNY) is in a totally different category unto itself vs. all other states. They have 44,500 volunteer members and just two counties alone which make up Long Island have 189 Volunteer Fire Departments. FASNY has a two-story office building a few blocks from the state capital with their credit union on the first floor and over a dozen FASNY offices on the second. They also run a retirement home for volunteers requiring 140 employees and the State Museum in Hudson which is rated as one of the best in the country. While it was very eye-opening, I am glad to call Missouri home and a part of the FFAM family.

A reminder that on September 18-20 of 2024, NVFC will be hosting their Fall Meeting in Kansas City. I am working with their Conference Committee on compiling a list of how FFAM might be able to assist their needs other than writing a check. To be clear, NVFC is hosting this meeting by their selection but providing some supporting hospitality to fire service visitors is in order. The Conference Committee continues to finalize the smaller but important details in their overall plan for September 2024.
Thank you for your time and for allowing on your behalf with NVFC.