Massachusetts Call/Volunteer Firefighters’ Association Awards Equipment Grants to Two Area Fire Departments

The Massachusetts Call/Volunteer Firefighters’ Association (MCVFA) has awarded the Buckland Fire Department and the Williamsburg Fire Department grants to purchase six sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) consisting of turnout coat, pants, helmet, boots, gloves, and hood. Each grant is valued at $10,500. 
On Monday, May 18, 2015, the MCVFA held a press conference at each department to feature the new gear and the firefighters who received them. The vendor, Firematic Supply Company, as well as town and fire district officials were present
According to national standards and manufacturer recommendations, PPE has a life span of 10 years regardless of condition and/or use. To provide proper protection, PPE also needs to fit firefighters properly and have no rips or tears. PPE that is less than 10 years old but that is heavily stained with soot, flammables, and other hazardous materials is a health hazard to the firefighter who wears it. Without compliant gear, firefighters cannot safely participate in firefighting operations, and they are not allowed to participate in state- or federally-sponsored training. The PPE for many fire departments, especially small call and volunteer departments, are more than 10 years old. There was only one compliant set of gear between the two awardee departments. 
Each set of safety gear typically costs a volunteer fire department $2,000 to $2,500. The PPE purchased by this grant program has been greatly discounted by the vendor, Firematic Supply, and the manufacturer, Globe Manufacturing. 
The funds for this grant award were made possible by a donation to the MCVFA by the Massachusetts Charitable Fire Society. The Massachusetts Charitable Fire Society was founded in Boston in 1792 and is one of America’s oldest philanthropic organizations. Its goals are the relief for victims of fire and the promotion of new and better methods of firefighting. 
The MCVFA is a statewide organization of call and volunteer firefighters that was founded in 1990 to provide training, scholarships, volunteer firefighter recruitment, and legislative representation for the volunteer fire service in Massachusetts. Of the 380 fire departments in Massachusetts, about 100 of them are staffed by call/volunteer firefighters, and another 180 of them use a combination of call/volunteer and career firefighters.