USFA and NVFC Initiate Study of Emergent Health and Safety Issues in the Volunteer Fire Service

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has initiated a project with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to study firefighter occupational health and safety challenges that are occurring in the volunteer fire service and develop initiatives, programs, and strategies to reduce on-duty injuries and fatalities among volunteer firefighters and EMS responders. This study will also examine health and safety challenges among volunteer wildland firefighters.

This study will update previous USFA research efforts with the NVFC including the Emerging Health and Safety Issues in the Volunteer Fire Service, Health and Wellness Guide for the Volunteer Fire Service, and the Emergency Vehicle Safe Operations for Volunteer and Small Combination Emergency Service Organizations.

“This study is needed to update past USFA and NVFC research efforts and further enhance volunteer firefighter and emergency responder health and safety,” said United States Fire Administrator, Ernest Mitchell. “USFA is pleased to partner with the NVFC on this initiative.”

The volunteer fire service has distinct issues related to health and safety including time constraints, accessibility to training facilities, older equipment, rural operations, and the declining number and aging of volunteer firefighters.

“This joint USFA and NVFC effort will be used to develop effective programs to support health and safety in the volunteer fire service,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. "These programs can also contribute to the operational effectiveness of volunteer fire departments and serve as a valuable retention and recruitment instrument.”

This project supports USFA’s goal of reducing on-duty firefighter fatalities by developing effective safety and health support to the estimated 783,300 volunteer firefighters that represent 69 percent of all firefighters in the United States.

Further information on USFA’s efforts in firefighter health and safety may be found on the USFA web site at For more information about the NVFC, visit