Volunteer Fire Departments in AR and CA Receive Josh Cellars $5,000 Training Grants

Grants will be awarded to 10 volunteer departments nationwide to help with training

Training is paramount in the fire and emergency services to ensure responder safety and proficient community protection. Insufficient funds to pay for this critical training can put the overall operation at greater risk. Many volunteer fire departments continue to struggle with shrinking budgets coupled with greater response demands. That’s why the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) partnered with Josh Cellars to provide 10 fire departments with $5,000 grants to help provide training to their members.

The latest recipients of the grant are the Genoa (AR) Volunteer Fire Department and the Shaver Lake (CA) Volunteer Fire Department.

Genoa Volunteer Fire Department

The Genoa Volunteer Fire Department (GVFD) is located in southwest Arkansas and serves 12,500 residents over 60 square miles. While all 10 of the GVFD volunteers have taken basic fire classes, funding has prohibited them from certifying at Firefighter I level, and only three are certified as emergency medical responders (EMRs). 80 percent of the calls the department responds to are medical, but the nearest ambulance can take as long as 45 minutes to reach a scene because of their rural location. The community relies heavily on GVFD EMRs for medical attention when an emergency occurs. Having more members trained will enable the department to provide more complete coverage for the community as well as work larger accident scenes without having to wait for mutual aid.

The Josh Cellars training grant will help the department provide this critical training. The GVFD plans to EMR certify an additional five members and provide the entire unit with basic and/or advanced auto-extrication training. With two new freeways in the area, updated training in auto-extrication is essential for safe and efficient response to accident scenes.

“The Josh Cellars training grant has been an amazing boost to our unit,” said GVFD Training Officer Michael Godfrey. “We are very grateful for the opportunity to get training we desperately need. I cannot thank Josh Cellars and the NVFC enough for the chance to make a difference in how we serve our community through enhanced training.”

Shaver Lake Volunteer Fire Department

Shaver Lake Volunteer Fire Department

Shaver Lake, CA, is a small resort town located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with a population of 1,750, a number that swells up to 5,000 in the summer with tourists. The Shaver Lake Volunteer Fire Department’s (SLVFD) immediate response area includes approximately 2,700 residences, and mutual aid agreements cover another 200 square miles with hundreds of thousands of acres of the Sierra National Forest as well as 20,000 acres of Southern California Edison private forest.

The SLVFD currently has 12 active firefighters, including one paramedic, three emergency medical technicians, and three EMRs. They work closely with five other volunteer fire departments in the mountain area and foothills, participating in multi-company drills several times a year. All six departments provide mutual aid in support of each other, and in any large or critical incident, more than one department is engaged. Additionally, a major state highway runs through all six departments’ first response territories, so motor vehicle accidents are common.

The Josh Cellars training grant will help the SLVFD offer advanced training and hands-on experience in auto-extrication to its members as well as mutual aid partners. By having members of multiple departments participate in the training, they will be able to more effectively work together when responding on incidents. The SLVFD also plans to provide additional driver training to engineers to bolster more proficient apparatus handling on roads and in conditions that they may not be familiar with or experience regularly when driving into mutual aid partner areas.

“Volunteer fire departments rely on grants for apparatus, personal protective gear, and rescue and medical equipment,” said SLVFD Assistant Chief James Parr. “This generous grant from Josh Cellars will be used for training, which is so often overlooked. The grant will help us to create training opportunities for our members, as well as members from the neighboring volunteer departments. We’re all in this together, and cross-trainings improve everyone’s ability to respond.”

About the Grant

Josh Cellars wine was created by Joseph Carr as a tribute to his father – a volunteer firefighter and U.S. Army veteran. “Growing up, my dad Josh, our family, neighbors, and friends were all volunteer firefighters,” explains Carr. “It is a civic duty shared and understood by all where I come from that you always take care of your community. That’s why Josh Cellars is partnering with the NVFC to provide assistance to volunteer fire departments.”

To be eligible to apply for the grant, departments had to be over 50 percent volunteer, serve a population of 25,000 or less, be located in the U.S., and be a member of the NVFC. Additional awards will be announced through March 2018; stay tuned to the NVFC web site, Dispatch newsletter, and Facebook page for additional information.

About Josh Cellars
Josh Cellars offers bold, complex and approachable wines for drinking with family and friends. Sourced from vineyards across California, Josh Cellars offers seven varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Rosé and a red blend, “Legacy.” Josh Cellars wines are available at retailers nationwide. Learn more at http://www.joshcellars.com/.

About the NVFC
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 resources, programs, education, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at www.nvfc.org.