National Junior Firefighter Program Marks 5th Anniversary

NVFC will give away gear, grants to celebrate

The National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) National Junior Firefighter Program reaches an important milestone this month: the 5th anniversary of the Program’s founding. Thanks to support from Spartan Motors, Inc., the program launched at Firehouse Expo in Baltimore, MD, on July 28, 2007.

To celebrate this milestone, the NVFC is holding a drawing to give away gear to junior firefighters and grants to junior firefighter programs. Junior firefighters can enter to win one of five sets of non-structural turnout gear, generously donated by TecGen Extreme. Departments can enter for their chance to win one of five $100 grants to use for their junior firefighter programs. To enter, departments and juniors must be registered with the National Junior Firefighter Program. Registration is free at Winners will be selected on August 1, 2012.

“The National Junior Firefighter Program hit the ground running, and five years later continues to keep up the pace,” said Heather Schafer, NVFC Executive Director. “We thank all of our supporters, members, juniors, and advisors for making this a program that is truly shaping the future of the fire service.”

Since the program began, over 4,000 junior firefighters and program advisors from 50 states and two Canadian provinces have  registered with the program. Junior firefighters have logged over 185,000 hours through the online hour-tracking tool. The NVFC has given away six national awards honoring exemplary junior firefighters and local junior firefighter programs, given $200,000 in grants and scholarships, filmed a recruitment video for local departments, and trained the future of the fire service through three National Junior Firefighter Academies.

The NVFC has also introduced a Junior Member level to provide the benefits of NVFC membership to future first responders. Every day, department leaders and youth use the resources and tools from the National Junior Firefighter Program to find activity ideas, learn about fire prevention and safety outreach, log activity hours, connect with other departments, and market their local program.

“One of the most important benefits the program provides is its connection to other junior fire departments around the country,” said Paul Hoyle, Westhampton Beach (NY) Fire Department junior firefighter program advisor. “Juniors nationwide are being trained on the importance of fire department tradition and volunteerism, which makes them a valuable asset to the community now and in the future. Being able to connect with each other helps us all learn and grow together.”

The National Junior Firefighter Program continues to expand, with support from Spartan Motors, Tyco International, and California Casualty. In the next year, the Program will provide three additional Academies, two more national awards, a detailed training manual for junior firefighter programs, and a redesigned program web site to enhance our members’ experience. Registered users will continue to be updated about all of the Program’s activities and resources through the bi-monthly Junior Firefighter E-news.

The NVFC’s National Junior Firefighter Program Advisory Group – consisting of NVFC board members, local junior firefighter program advisors, and corporate members – has been instrumental to the program’s success. We also appreciate the continued support of Spartan Motors, Tyco, and California Casualty, who have made these tools and resources possible. And most importantly, the dedication and involvement of junior firefighters and program advisors nationwide has made this Program successful. Without you, we wouldn’t be here today.

Here’s to another 5 years of preparing the future of the fire service for whatever challenges lie ahead. Thank you for your support!