Results from the NVFC’s COVID-19 Impact on Fire/EMS Survey
May 26, 2020
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) created a survey to better understand the experiences of volunteer and combination fire, EMS, and rescue departments dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19 and related social distancing measures. We ask that you take a few minutes to complete the COVID-19 Impact on Fire/EMS Survey here, and that you re-take the survey periodically (no more than once per week) so that we can track changes over time.
Between March 20 and May 21, 469 surveys were completed. Approximately 69 percent of respondents belong to an emergency services organization (ESO) with all-volunteer personnel, 26 percent belong to a department with mostly-volunteer personnel, and 5 percent belong to a department with mostly-career personnel. Approximately 74 percent reported that their ESO has been adversely impacted by COVID-19, compared with 26 percent who indicated that their ESO has not been adversely impacted.
Respondents were asked to indicate areas where they were experiencing challenges:
|Running low on personal protective equipment (PPE)||66%||53%||62%|
|Run out of PPE||25%||17%||23%|
|Inability to fundraise||45%*||48%||45%*|
|Staff unwilling/hesitant to respond||47%||47%||46%|
|Can’t get new personnel trained/certified because EMS education processes are frozen||35%||48%||38%|
|Concern over mental health of personnel||35%*||30%||33%*|
|Unable to recruit new volunteers||52%**||48%||49%**|
|Unable to train||75%**||76%||74%**|
|Challenges getting personnel tested for COVID-19||18%||20%||18%|
|Disruption to junior firefighter programs||24%*||30%||25%*|
|Personnel in quarantine||12%||18%||13%|
|Struggling with increased call volume||5%||9%||6%|
|Volunteer(s) being discouraged or prohibited by employer from responding to calls||Not asked||21%***||21%***|
*Question first asked 3/26 **Question first asked 4/9 ***Question first asked 4/24
Respondents are encouraged to fill out the survey as frequently as once per week to report changing circumstances, so the aggregated results include multiple entries from the same respondent. Overall, approximately 19 percent of responses between 3/20 and 5/21 were from respondents who completed the survey multiple times.