CHEMTREC® Provides $50,000 to Volunteer Fire Departments to Support Hazmat Preparedness and Response

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and CHEMTREC® are excited to announce that in honor of CHEMTREC’s 50th anniversary, five NVFC members have been awarded $10,000 for their volunteer fire departments through the 2021 CHEMTREC® HELP (Hazmat Emergencies Local Preparedness) Awards. Funding is provided to strengthen departments’ hazardous materials incident response capabilities and increase local readiness for hazmat events.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients:

Gilsum (NH) Fire & Rescue

Gilsum Fire & Rescue was established in 1835. Its 12 active volunteer firefighters protect 825 residents over 17 square miles in the southwest corner of NH. In the past year, a business with its headquarters in Gilsum has started to make hand sanitizer containing ethyl alcohol and store in bulk on-site, so the department has to be ready in case an incident occurs.

The department will utilize the HELP Award to acquire hazmat response equipment to assist their mutual aid partners, attend training, and develop a response plan to safely respond to any situation involving ethyl alcohol.

Kirksville Volunteer Fire Department (Richmond, KY)

Kirksville Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD) is an all-volunteer, rural fire department that provides fire protection and rescue services to 14,000 people over a 75-square-mile response district in Madison County, KY. KVFD covers the Central Kentucky Regional Airport and six natural gas transmission lines. The department is also a participant in the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program due to its proximity to the Blue Grass Army Depot, which is one of two facilities that store chemical weapons for the U.S. KVFD responds along with regional emergency response personnel in the event of a chemical emergency. In addition, the department provides automatic aid and mutual aid to I-75, railroads, additional natural gas pipelines, commercial and healthcare facilities, a public university, and other facilities that fall within the Department of Homeland Security’s critical infrastructure sectors.

Funding from the HELP Award will be used to purchase gas monitors, a calibration station, supplemental supplies, absorbent socks, absorbent pads, a leak control kit, and other critical equipment to help with their hazmat response, which can also be used by their mutual aid partners.

With the decline in local volunteers, the department has been successful in recruiting firefighters from Eastern Kentucky University’s student body, and today approximately 70 percent of its members are university students. This funding not only helps the district and those they serve, but also the future of the fire service by providing hands-on experience and training with equipment that student firefighters can take with them across the nation.

Ladonia Volunteer Fire Department (Phenix City, AL)

Established in 1973, the Ladonia Volunteer Fire Department is an all-hazards agency comprised of 18 dedicated volunteers receiving an average of 1,300 service calls a year. Its community sits between Fort Benning, GA, and Auburn, AL, which makes it a crossroads for many hazardous materials traveling between the cities, such as explosives and manufacturing and agricultural chemicals. In their first due area, there are several facilities that utilize alcohol-based products in their manufacturing process.

The HELP Award will allow the department to purchase several hazardous materials-related items to improve response capabilities in their territory and automatic and mutual aid response areas. Items include gas detectors, binoculars, testing and calibration materials, a co-oximeter, new reference materials, and hazmat response supply consumables (e.g., plug, dyke, sorbent pads).

Shelbyville (KY) Fire Department

Shelbyville Fire Department is a combination department with 35 volunteers and 21 paid firefighters. It is the only agency in the county specifically trained to respond to weapons of mass destruction hazmat and contamination release (chemical, biological, or radiation) in its response area and is responsible for protecting numerous critical infrastructures within the jurisdiction. These include I-64, a high transportation corridor; five schools within city limits and mutual aid for seven additional schools; the KY National Guard Armory; railroads; pipelines; mutual aid for a main distribution hub for the electrical grid covering the state; mutual aid for an outlet mall containing 80 stores; approximately 70 industrial facilities; water and sewer treatment plants; propane and bulk storage facilities; a distillery; one large agricultural facility that stores and transports anhydrous ammonia; and more.

Funding from the HELP Award will be utilized to purchase meters, weather kit, binoculars, and decontamination equipment that will help protect against a broad range of threats and will greatly enhance the capability and efficiency of the department to respond to a hazardous materials release.

Tusculum Volunteer Fire Department (Greeneville, TN)

The Tusculum Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1952. Its 20 volunteer firefighters serve a population of 10,000 over 95 miles and respond to an average of 300 calls each year. Tusculum is the home of the oldest university in the state of TN.

The department’s first-due area includes railroads, highways, a manufacturer of penny blanks for the U.S. Mint (which uses cyanide and chlorine), five schools, multiple mental healthcare facilities, two post offices, airport, two electrical substations, a sewer plant, light industrial facilities, and more.

The HELP Award will allow the department to invest in advanced-level decontamination and air monitoring equipment, and SCBA masks and cylinders to support their volunteers in responding. This will set the basis for building upon the hazmat discipline for future growth in the department’s services.

This is the third year that CHEMTREC® and the NVFC have partnered to offer the HELP Awards to volunteer fire departments. To date, nine departments have received a total of $85,000 to support their hazmat preparedness and response efforts.

Learn more about the CHEMTREC HELP Award.

CHEMTREC® is the leading source of 24/7 call center support and information during hazardous materials incidents. CHEMTREC is the single point of contact that connects emergency responders with everyone involved – manufacturers, shippers, consignees, carriers, and government agencies. CHEMTREC is equipped to handle any situation and any class of hazardous material.

CHEMTREC’s team of trained, experienced Emergency Service Specialists provide emergency responders with the information they need to safely and effectively manage chemical shipping incidents, including guidebooks, training opportunities, and industry resources. CHEMTREC’s service is complimentary for emergency responders.

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