COVID-19 Impact on Fire & EMS: Weekly Update 3/27/20

The NVFC is providing a weekly update to the fire and emergency services on news, resources, and relevant information relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find additional resources on our COVID-19 webpage.

Message from NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch

This is a challenging time for everyone, and firefighters and EMS providers may be feeling the strain especially hard as responders on the front lines of this pandemic. NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch issued a statement to offer encouragement and hope as we face the current situation together. Read statement.

COVID-19 Appropriations Legislation with Funding for AFG Expected to be Enacted

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, emergency legislation appropriating more than $2 trillion to sustain the nation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, is moving through Congress and is expected to be enacted shortly. Click here for more details.

NVFC’s Survey Documents Volunteer Emergency Services’ COVID-19 Experiences

The NVFC has created a survey to better understand the experiences of volunteer and combination fire, EMS, and rescue departments dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19. The survey is updated weekly and respondents are encouraged to re-take it each week. Click here for more information about the survey and to see the results from the past week.

NHTSA Office of EMS Recommended Process for PPE Resupply Requests

On March 25, NHTSA’s Office of EMS (OEMS) issued recommendations to the first responder community regarding how to go about seeking resupply of personal protective equipment for dealing with COVID-19. Click here for the full message from Dr. John Krohmer, the OEMS Director, including the recommendations.

Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund Expanded to Include COVID-19

Many volunteer firefighters, EMS providers, and rescue workers are feeling the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it is the loss of a job due to closings and restrictions or lost wages due to illness, quarantine, or volunteer response activities. The NVFC has temporarily expanded our Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund to provide assistance to eligible volunteer responders who have suffered a loss of wages in excess of $500. The support comes in the form of a one-time stipend of $350 to help responders meet basic needs. Read article or apply for assistance.

The Support Fund relies on donations to be able to provide assistance. The NVFC donates all administrative costs, so 100% of donations goes to volunteer responders in need. If you’d like to make a donation, you can do so through our donation page (select “SupportFund” as your donation type) or through our GoFundMe page.

Free Training Available

With social distancing in place for most of the country, keeping up with department training may be a challenge right now. The NVFC’s Virtual Classroom provides courses that can be taken online, from your home. All courses are free for NVFC members. In addition, we have made the following courses free to all firefighters and EMS providers for a limited time:

  • Emergency Vehicle Safe Operations
  • Flawed Situational Awareness
  • iShare: Technology Tools for Sharing Fire Prevention Messages
  • Behavioral Health in the Fire and Emergency Services
  • Putting Out the Fire: Stress Resilience Strategies
  • Addressing Substance Abuse, PTSD, and Other Concerns in the Fire Service

Login to the Virtual Classroom here, or learn more about accessing the Virtual Classroom here.

Webinars on Managing Stress in this Difficult Time

Emergency responders face stress on a daily basis, but the onset of the coronavirus outbreak has created new challenges and stressors that may be adding significantly to the pressures felt by firefighters and EMS providers.

The NVFC joined with Jeff Dill of the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance to host a webinar this week on “Reset and Recharge: How to Manage Stress in Uncertain Times.” The recorded webinar is now available for on-demand viewing. Watch here.

In addition, Lexipol is hosting a webinar on April 2 at 1pm ET on “First Responders, Stress Management, and Coronavirus.” Learn more and register here.

Facebook Live Q&A

The NVFC is hosting a live Facebook chat on March 31 at 7 pm EDT on the impact of COVID-19 on volunteer fire and EMS departments. NVFC’s Chief of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Dave Finger, will be joined by special guests Tom Miller, NVFC’s West Virginia Director, and Jules Scadden, Director of EMS at Dysert (IA) Ambulance Service, to discuss dealing with the challenges faced by departments, operational considerations, and how firefighters and EMS providers can reduce their risks. They will also be answering questions from viewers. Join us for the discussion at View the event listing here.

Webinar on Legal Consideration for Fire Departments

Lexipol has released a webinar on Coronavirus and the Fire Service: 7 Legal Considerations. Among the topics addressed are legal issues unique to volunteer firefighters, the importance of documenting exposures, and how leaders can resolve conflicting information and make decisions about operational changes. View here.