NVFC Board Participates in Training, Raises Money for Health and Safety at Fall Meeting

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Board of Directors held its annual fall meeting on October 23-25 in Augusta, GA. Representatives from 39 state fire association were in attendance.

The jam-packed meeting included special training activities and presentations, committee meetings, and a fundraising auction. Directors focused attention on critical issues facing the volunteer fire and emergency services, and the board also voted to streamline NVFC membership to make it easier for volunteers to join.

Highlights from the 2019 fall meeting are as follows.

Council Business

The meeting kicked off with a welcome from Georgia State Senator (District 56) and volunteer firefighter John Albers and a presentation of the colors from Columbia County (GA) Fire and Rescue. NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch also asked board members to share their memories of longtime Massachusetts Director Mike Bird, who passed away recently.

Committees met on a series of critical topics, including wildland, legislation, standards, and health, safety, and training, among others. In addition, the EMS/Rescue Section held its biannual meeting.

The board also met in general session to discuss Council initiatives and vote on proposed motions. The following were among the actions taken:

  • The board voted to restructure NVFC membership to streamline the individual and department membership levels into one low-cost option that provides the most benefits at the best price. Details of the new membership structure will be announced in the coming weeks.
  • The board approved several amendments to the NVFC’s bylaws.
  • The board voted to expand the NVFC Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund to include eligible volunteer firefighters and EMS providers whose homes were damaged or destroyed due to structure fire. Previously the fund provided stipends only to eligible volunteer responders whose homes were impacted by a federally- or state-declared disaster.
  • The board voted to support the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act (H.R. 451) and the Guaranteeing Equipment Safety for Firefighters Act (S. 2525).

Training and Presentations

A series of trainings and presentations were provided in conjunction with the meeting. These included:

  • The LION Mobile Fire Experience, an interactive, simulated training that includes digital and live demonstrations of the latest technology in first responder equipment and personal protective equipment.
  • National Firefighter Registry update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provided by team lead Kenny Fent, PhD, CIH, lead epidemiologist Miriam Siegel, DrPH, and health scientist Alex Mayer, MPH.
  • Surviving the Job – Lavender Ribbon Report: Developing the 11 Best Practices Into Your Daily Routines, a cancer prevention and risk reduction training presented by Chief Brian McQueen, chair of the NVFC Cancer Subcommittee, and Chief John M. Buckman III of the IAFC-VCOS.
  • Agree or Disagree, You Gotta Be on Board with the Team, a leadership presentation by county administrator Scott Johnson of Columbia County, GA.
  • Toxic Leadership – a Wounded Warrior’s Insight, a leadership presentation by MSgt. Michael Reynolds (Ret.).

The NVFC also partnered with the New England Volunteer Fire & EMS Coalition to present a Rural Fire Chief Seminar in Martinez, GA, on October 26.

Special Events

A fundraising auction was held on the evening of October 24, raising over $13,000 for the NVFC’s health and safety fund. The event was sponsored by ESIP/McNeil & Co. and was made possible thanks to donations from 3M Scott Fire & Safety, APS Firehouse Alerting, Bucket Brigade USA, Chrysler Fleet, ESIP, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, Provident, TEEX, as well as board members and state fire associations from across the country.

In addition, the Harlem (GA) Fire Department hosted a dinner at their station followed by an entertaining evening at the historic Columbia Theatre on the first night, and former SC director Tony Dicks served up a BBQ dinner on the second night hosted by the Georgia State Firefighters Association and sponsored by the Joseph M. Still Burn Center/Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America.

Sponsors

The NVFC is grateful to the support of our meeting hosts, Georgia State Firefighters Association, Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and JMS Burn Centers, Inc. We thank all of our meeting sponsors for helping to make the event a success: 3M Scott Fire & Safety, Anheuser-Busch, California Casualty, Clarion UX Fire & Rescue Group, Columbia Southern University, ESIP, FCA, Lexipol, Lincoln Financial Group, LION, National Fire Protection Association, Provident, and Verizon.

Next Meeting

The NVFC board meets as a whole twice a year. The next meeting will be held April 30-May 2, 2020, in Alexandria, VA.

View more photos here.​

Georgia State Senator John Albers with NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch at the opening session.

NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch presents a token of appreciation to meeting hosts Georgia State Firefighters Association.

Steve Hirsch presents at the opening session.

Representatives from the CDC provided an update on the National Firefighter Registry.

MSgt. Michael Reynolds (Ret) presented “Toxic Leadership – A Wounded Warrior’s Insight.”

Scott Johnson presented “Agree or Disagree, You Gotta Be on Board with the Team.”

The LION Mobile Fire Experience

Demonstration as part of the LION Mobile Fire Experience.

NVFC Georgia Director David Bullard and Chair Steve Hirsch at the LION Mobile Fire Experience.

FCA displayed a RAM truck at the meeting.

NVFC staff got in character for a night out at the Columbia Theatre.

Provident donated a Yeti cooler for the auction.

3M Scott Fire & Safety donated at V320 thermal imager and rescue pack for the NVFC auction.

ESIP donated a custom Thin Red Line bracelet for the auction.

Thank you to our meeting hosts and sponsors!