Click here to report anti-volunteer bias, contact the NVFC’s Volunteer Advocacy Committee, or learn more about threats to the right to volunteer.

NVFC Training Summit

When: Friday, June 20, 8:30am-4:30pm and Saturday, June 21, 8am-noon  

Where: Sheraton Myrtle Beach, 2101 North Oak Street, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Purpose: This event will provide an opportunity to share ideas and best practices, network, and participate in valuable training. Attendees will be able to select six out of 12 breakout sessions to attend, with sessions addressing reputation management in a digital era, firefighter cancer, behavioral health, PPE usage during overhaul, fire codes, and more. Click here to view the event agenda and course descriptions. (Updated 3/25/14)

Who should attend: The conference is open to all volunteer firefighters, EMTs, department leadership, and other fire department personnel from across the United States. Attendance is limited.

Cost: The registration fee for the Summit is $75 per person. This fee covers one and a half days training, lunch on Friday for attendees and their families, and some refreshments throughout the weekend. The fee will be waived for individuals receiving a scholarship.

NEW! Lunch: On Friday, June 20, the NVFC is pleased to provide a lunch for Summit attendees and their families traveling with them. Lori Mercer, founder of, will give a presentation on the role of families in the fire service. Please indicate the number of guests attending the lunch event on your registration form. 

Travel scholarship: To help more first responders attend the Summit, a scholarship is available for select attendees. The scholarship will reimburse up to two nights hotel and up to $500.00 per person for transportation expenses, including round-trip airfare or mileage. The registration fee will also be waived. A maximum of two representatives per department can receive reimbursement. To be considered eligible for reimbursement, you or your department must be a current member of the NVFC. Membership options and benefits can be found at Applicants will also be required to submit a letter of recommendation from a department leader. If you plan to apply for a scholarship, please submit your scholarship application first and wait to register until you have received notice of whether or not you have received a scholarship (turnaround time is approximately one week). Apply for a scholarship today

Registration: Click here to register now. 

Hotel:The NVFC has secured a room block at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach. Click here to make your reservation online, or call (888) 627-8203 (ask for the NVFC Training Summit or Group ID#3708).

Questions? Contact Rachel Buczynski, Program Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 202-887-5700 x116.


PPACA/Obamacare Implementation

The NVFC is concerned that some emergency services agencies could be subject to penalties under the PPACA for not offering their volunteers health insurance coverage. The Employer Shared Responsibility Provision (commonly referred to as the “employer mandate”) of the PPACA requires “large employers” to offer “full-time employees” health insurance benefits or face a penalty. Large employers are defined as employers that have 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees. A full-time employee is defined as anyone who works for an employer for 30 or more hours per week on a regular basis. A full-time equivalent employee would be multiple employees who work for less than 30 hours per week on a regular basis but whose combined hours worked add up to 30 hours per week.

PPACA relies on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to define “employee” and the IRS has long maintained that volunteer emergency responders who receive nominal benefits as a reward for their service are employees of the agencies they serve for tax purposes. Departments that qualify as large employers and have volunteers who work for 30 or more hours per week on a regular basis could be penalized for not providing those volunteers health insurance benefits.

The impact of the PPACA on the volunteer emergency services community will vary depending on how or whether the final implementing regulations issued by the IRS address the application of the law to volunteers. The NVFC submitted formal comment to the IRS on September 9 asking that they issue clear guidance clarifying that volunteers, including those who receive nominal benefits as a reward for their service, are not considered “employees” under the PPACA.

Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act

The NVFC supports the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, which provides tax incentives for the installation and retrofitting of automatic fire sprinklers in commercial structures. The bill would reduce the tax depreciation schedule for retrofitting high-rise properties with automatic fire sprinkler systems. It also makes automatic fire sprinkler systems eligible as a type of equipment that small- and medium-sized businesses can claim a tax deduction for having installed.

In addition to the obvious life and safety benefits associated with more extensive deployment of automatic fire sprinkler systems, passage of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act would also lower local fire department costs, lead to increased loan activity, reduce insurance claims and premium costs, create jobs in the sprinkler retrofitting and installation industry, and generate payroll tax revenue.

FSIA was introduced by Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE).

Enter the Search for Heart Health Champions


The entry period is now over and the voting has ended. Stay tuned for the announcement of who will be the Cardioviva Heart Health Champions!

Through August 21, the search was on for three Cardioviva™ Heart Health Champions. Candidates shared their personal story about why they were motivated to battle – or how they have successfully battled – high cholesterol with diet and exercise. Entrants had to be current volunteer firefighters or EMS providers. A public voting period was held between August 22 and September 5 to identify the finalists.


One grand prize winner will receive $10,000 for his or her firehouse and a firehouse nutrition and fitness makeover valued at $5,000.

Two first prize winners will each receive $5,000 for their firehouse and a $2,500 firehouse nutrition and fitness makeover.


The finalists were decided by public vote, and a panel of expert judges will announce the winners on October 1.


The entry period is now over and the voting has ended. Stay tuned for the announcement of who will be the Cardioviva Heart Health Champions!


Heart disease is the leading cause of firefighter on-duty deaths each year. That’s why Cardioviva, the first natural probiotic that has been clinically proven to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels in adults, has partnered with the NVFC to create awareness of this danger and educate emergency responders on how they can proactively protect themselves.

The partnership launched with a survey of NVFC members on their perceptions of health in the fire and emergency services. View results.  The search is now on for Cardioviva Heart Health Champions. Read press release.


About Cardioviva™
Cardioviva™ is the first natural probiotic that has been clinically proven to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels in adults. Cardioviva healthy bacteria may help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels in two ways: by maintaining the amount of cholesterol the body produces and by maintaining the amount absorbed from food. Cardioviva is available in Canada and the U.S. at Walgreens and other major retailers. For more information, visit

About The Winning Combination
Founded in 1990, The Winning Combination Inc. is one of Canada’s leading Health and Wellness organizations with a focus on manufacturing and distributing natural health products and dietary supplements, such as Cardioviva. The Winning Combination works closely with local governing regulatory bodies to ensure our products are of the highest quality and are in regulatory compliance in the markets in which we operate. Learn more about The Winning Combination at and about Cardioviva at

About The National Volunteer Fire Council
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable tools, resources, programs, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at 

Key Fire Service Facts

Below are quick fire service facts and statistics. For additional information and statistics, view our Fire Service Fact Sheet at

  • There are 783,300 volunteer firefighters in the U.S., comprising 69% of the nation’s fire service. (NFPA, U.S. Fire Department Profile Through 2012)
  • The majority of fire departments in the United States are volunteer.
    • Of the total 30,100 fire departments in the country, 20,050 are all volunteer; 5,445 are mostly volunteer; 1,995 are mostly career; and 2,610 are all career. (NFPA, U.S. Fire Department Profile Through 2012)
  • Services contributed by volunteer firefighters save localities across the country an estimated $140.7 billion per year. (NFPA, The Total Cost of Fire in the United States, 2013)
  • Small and mid-sized communities rely heavily on volunteer firefighters. Communities with a population of under 2,500 rely almost entirely on volunteer departments.
  • The number of volunteer firefighters in the U.S. has declined by 13% since 1984. Major factors contributing to the decline include:
    • Increased time demands to be a firefighter due to increased training requirements, increasing call volumes, and a wider variety of services expected of fire departments.
    • Less time available for individuals to volunteer due to factors such as the proliferation of two-income families and longer commuting distances to work.
    • Change in attitudes among the public such as less focus on volunteering, loss of community pride or feeling that one should give back, employers less willing to let employees off to run calls, etc. (NVFC, Retention & Recruitment in the Volunteer Emergency Services: Challenges and Solutions)
  • While the number of volunteer firefighters is declining, the age of volunteer firefighters is increasing.
  • Fire department call volume has nearly tripled in the last 25 years, mainly due to a sharp increase in the number of EMS calls and false alarms. (NFPA, Fire Loss in the United States 2012)
  • The National Volunteer Fire Council has many programs to address recruitment and retention, including Fire Corps, 1-800-FIRE-LINE, National Junior Firefighter Program, and guides and resources.
  • About half of all firefighter on-duty fatalities are caused by heart attack each year. In 2012, heart attack accounted for 39 of the 81 firefighter line-of-duty deaths. (U.S. Fire Administration, Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2012)
    • The NVFC works to lessen and eliminate preventable fatalities through initiatives such as the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program and the B.E.S.T. Practices for Firefighter Health and Safety.