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

Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

If you require information for this program in an alternative format (braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) or in a language other than English, contact the NVFC at 202-887-5700 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

To file a complaint alleging discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or for Forest Service issues please call, toll free, (866) 632-9992 (Voice). TDD users can contact USDA through local relay or the Federal Relay at (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (relay voice users).

USDA and the NVFC is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Phoenix Society - Resources for Firefighters

People who suffer burn injuries often have a challenging time getting back to living. The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors helps them do exactly that. Since 1977, the Phoenix Society For Burn Survivors has been the only national burn survivor organization working with survivors, families, healthcare professionals, the fire industry, and donors to support burn recovery, improve the quality of burn care, and prevent burn injuries.

The Phoenix Society has many programs and resources to help burn victims and their families. All of these resources are available to burn-injured firefighters, but some of the programs have firefighter-specific components. Resources include the following:

Phoenix SOAR (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery): The Phoenix SOAR program provides training for survivors and family members who want to volunteer to help others. Available in over 64 burn centers, this hospital-based program was developed to ensure that every burn survivor and their loved ones have access to someone who has truly “been there.” Working with National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Charitable Foundation, the network now includes over 40 trained burn-injured firefighters and families to assist those burn injured in the line of duty.

Phoenix World Burn Congress: This annual three-day conference serving over 900 participants is a premier burn survivor event focused on providing recovery education and peer support in a caring environment. Specific programming is available to assist in recovery of the burn-injured firefighters and their families. Over 100 firefighters are engaged as volunteers to support attendees. This has offered a unique experience for the fire service to close the loop by interacting with survivors and families who have healed and are living meaningful lives.

On-line Resource Center and Support Community: Since burn care is very regional, the Society’s web site provides a community of support that includes burn recovery stories, resources, articles, chats, forums, and ways to meet others who have experienced a burn injury. The Society is expanding self guided learn modules focused on recovery and advocacy. Follow them online at and

The Journey Back: The Journey Back is a resource that will help you support your family, your students, or someone you know who is working towards the ever important recovery step of returning to school. Together with the NFFF, this program has been expanded to be used when there is a LODD and children go back to school after loss of a parent and a highly publicized death of a firefighter.

Phoenix Burn Support Magazine (BSM): BSM is a magazine that is full of articles on the emotional, psychological, and social aspects of burn recovery. Included are feature stories on burn survivors and their family members who are traveling the road to recovery. BSM also covers the latest news in the burn community, original works written by burn survivors, and information on burn care and safety legislation.

Phoenix Educational Grant Program (PEG): The PEG is the first national scholarship endowment fund created for burn survivor students.

Prevention and Advocacy: As a national organization, the Society’s efforts are focused on policy development and legislative measures that will have a permanent impact on decreasing burn injuries or improving the care of those with burn injuries. By sharing information and educating their membership, the Society is active in promoting change by adding the burn survivors’ voice.

Over the years, fire service participation and presence within the Phoenix Society has grown. Out of this involvement with the fire service, specific programing has been added to support the firefighters and families who have experienced a burn injury in the line of duty. Additional articles and information about some of these resources are as follows:

Share the Load Support Program for Fire and EMS

Most people are aware of the physical demands that first response activities place on firefighters and EMS providers. But it is important to also realize the impact that fighting fires and responding to emergencies has on the mental wellbeing of emergency personnel. Firefighters and EMS providers face the risk of many behavioral health concerns such as anxiety, depression, burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction among others.

Taking care of your mental health is as important as managing your physical health. The NVFC's Share the Load™ program provides access to critical resources and information to help first responders and their families manage and overcome personal and work-related problems. This includes the Fire/EMS Helpline, which offers free 24-hour assistance with issues such as stress, depression, addiction, PTSD, and more.

The resources in this section can assist individuals seeking help for a behavioral health issue as well as departments looking to implement or enhance a behavioral health program.

National Fire Service Suicide Reporting System

We tragically lose dozens of firefighters and EMTs each year to suicide. The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance is the nationally recognized reporting system for collecting data about firefighter suicide. The reporting system is confidential and the data is used to identify trends and prevent future instances of firefighter and EMT suicide. To report a suicide, go to and click on "FF Suicide Report" in the left menu.

Share the Load Poster

The Share the Load™ program poster encourages first responders to reach out if they need help. Hang a copy of the poster up at the station to remind personnel that help is available. The poster promotes the Fire/EMS Helpline, a free, confidential phone line available 24/7 to provide support to first responders and their families experiencing any behavioral health issue, such as PTSD, depressions, stress, addiction, and more.

To request hard copies of the poster, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   with your request. Be sure to include the quantity you need, your name, and your mailing address.

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Share the Load Newsletter

Behavioral health is a subject not often talked about in the fire service, but it affects every department and emergency responder in some way or other. The NVFC, through its Share the Load™ Support Program, developed a newsletter designed to provide departments with critical information about firefighter and EMT behavioral health issues, why it is critical to focus on behavioral health, and what you can do as a department and individual to prevent tragic outcomes.

The newsletter features articles from subject matter experts and fire service veterans who provide tips, tools, and resources to help first responders take a proactive approach in addressing many behavioral health issues. Article topics include:

  • Warning signs and symptoms of several common behavioral health issues including PTSD, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and anxiety
  • Tips for managing stress
  • Information about the Fire/EMS Helpline, a free, confidential phone line available any time day or night to help firefighters, EMTs, and their families with a variety of behavioral health issues
  • Keeping family relationships strong
  • Breaking the stigma of behavioral health in the fire and emergency services
  • Recognizing the importance of retirement planning in the fire service
  • Steps for developing a department behavioral health program
  • Firefighter Life Safety Initiative 13 and the concensus appraoch to firefighter behavioral health

Share this publication with your entire department and use it as a reference to help you develop, expand, and maintain your department's behavioral health program. Download the newsletter.

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