NVFC to Hold Fall Board Meeting Next Week in North Carolina

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Board of Directors will meet in Concord, NC, on October 21-23. The organization represents the nation’s more than one million volunteer firefighters, EMTs, and rescue personnel. Representatives from nearly 50 state fire associations will attend to conduct Council business and discuss issues of importance to the volunteer fire and emergency services.

Volunteers make up 69% of the U.S. fire service and save taxpayers nearly $140 billion each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These individuals protect their communities from a wide range of hazards, including fires, medical emergencies, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, terrorist threats, and more. The NVFC is the leading national organization that provides advocacy, resources, education, and programs to support the volunteer fire and rescue services.

One of the key issues the NVFC board will address is the need for more volunteers to continue serving our nation’s communities. The number of volunteers has declined over the past decade, while the number of calls to fire departments has increased. Thanks to a grant from FEMA, the NVFC is working to address this challenge with a new volunteer firefighter recruitment campaign. A pilot launch of the campaign was held in Raleigh, NC, in August. The national launch to the public will take place in November.

This national recruitment campaign helps local fire and EMS departments connect with community members. Departments can go to http://portal.nvfc.org to post their volunteer opportunities, create customized recruitment materials, and access resources and training to implement a local volunteer recruitment campaign. Members of the public can visit www.MakeMeAFirefighter.org to learn more about the volunteer fire service and find a local volunteer opportunity as a firefighter, EMT, community educator, or auxiliary member.

“The NVFC is grateful to North Carolina for hosting our 2015 fall board meeting as well as serving as a pilot state for launching our new campaign to increase the number of boots on the ground volunteer responders,” said NVFC Chairman Kevin D. Quinn. “We thank our North Carolina Director, Chief Jeff Cash of the Cherryville Fire Department, along with North Carolina State Firemen’s Association Executive Director Tim Bradley and President Kevin Gordon for their support of the volunteer emergency services and the NVFC’s initiatives.”

NVFC research shows that 29% of the population is interested in volunteering with their local fire or EMS department. The interest rate is even higher among Millennials, those in the 18-34 age range. However, 41% of people don’t know if their fire department utilizes volunteers and 79% don’t know if their department is seeking volunteers. The new campaign aims to increase awareness among the public and connect potential volunteers to their local department.

As part of the campaign’s outreach efforts, the NVFC partnered with Shell Pipeline Company LP to promote the volunteer fire service at the September 12 Federated Auto Parts 400 Sprint Cup Series race at the Richmond (VA) International Raceway. The No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion featured the campaign’s slogan of Find the Fighter in You as well as the web site, MakeMeAFirefighter.org. The decklid will be presented to the board at the fall meeting. Driver Joey Logano also recorded a public service announcement encouraging community members to join their local volunteer fire department.

“Raising awareness among the public of the need for fire service volunteers and ways they can serve their community is a key component of the NVFC’s new campaign,” said NVFC North Carolina Director Chief Jeff Cash. “Providing departments with recruitment materials is only half the battle. If the public doesn’t know their local fire department uses volunteers and needs volunteers, they aren’t going to seek out these opportunities.”

The NVFC board is made up of representatives from 48 state fire service associations and meets twice a year, in the DC area each spring and in a member state each fall. Learn more about the NVFC and join today at www.nvfc.org. Stay tuned to the NVFC Dispatch e-newsletter and web site for a full wrap-up after the fall meeting.