NVFC Receives SAFER Grant for National Firefighter Recruitment and Retention Campaign

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has been awarded a $2,390,479 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to implement a national volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention campaign.

“The NVFC is pleased to accept a SAFER grant to launch a national campaign to help local departments recruit and retain volunteer firefighters,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “With FEMA’s help, America’s volunteer fire service will be strengthened and communities will be better served and protected.”

Nearly 70 percent of firefighters in the U.S. are volunteers. However, the number of volunteers has declined by over 18 percent in the past three decades while the call volume has nearly tripled. At the same time, the average age of the volunteer fire service is increasing. Nationally, volunteers save communities an estimated $140.7 billion dollars a year. It is critical for the safety of our communities and our nation that we continue to have a strong volunteer fire service now and in the future.

The NVFC will use the SAFER grant to develop and implement “Recruit USA,” a national campaign designed to put ready-to-use tools and resources in the hands of local departments to help them recruit and retain members. In addition, the NVFC will conduct significant outreach to potential volunteers to encourage them to join their local fire department. The campaign will take place over a two and a half year period.

“As the co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I have the privilege of working alongside our nation’s firefighters and hearing firsthand about the challenges they face,” said Congressman Steny Hoyer (MD-5) in a press release announcing the grant. “Today’s grant announcement will allow us to confront one of those challenges – the ability to keep our fire stations adequately staffed and prepared when disasters strike. I’m pleased the National Volunteer Fire Council has received this important funding, which will help recruit, train, and retain skilled firefighters here in Maryland and throughout the country. I’m proud to advocate for these vital investments in public safety, and I will continue to fight to ensure our fire departments are prepared and equipped to protect our communities.”

The SAFER grant provides funding to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, front-line firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response, and operational standards so that communities are protected from fire and fire-related hazards. The FY 2013 SAFER grant program provided approximately $320 million in funding to fire departments and volunteer firefighter support groups.

About the National Volunteer Fire Council
The NVFC is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable tools, resources, programs, training, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at www.nvfc.org.