Weekly Results of NVFC Survey to Document Volunteer Emergency Services’ COVID-19 Experiences
April 3, 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. We ask that you take a few minutes to complete the survey here, and that you re-take the survey each week so that we can track changes over time.
Based on information provided in the survey over the first week, answer choices related to responder mental health, morale, fundraising, and junior firefighter programs were added to the survey on March 26.
Between March 20 and March 25 there were 168 survey completions from individuals belonging to all-volunteer (72%), mostly-volunteer (23%), and mostly career (5%) emergency services organizations. 71 percent of respondents reported having been adversely impacted by COVID-19, compared with 29 percent that have not.
Between March 26 and April 1 there were 78 survey completions from individuals belonging to all-volunteer (68%), mostly-volunteer (28%), and mostly career (4%) emergency services organizations. 77 percent of respondents reported having been adversely impacted by COVID-19, compared with 23 percent that have not.
Respondents were asked to indicate areas where they were experiencing challenges:
- Running low on personal protective equipment (PPE): 60% (72% March 20-25)
- Inability to fundraise: 46% (New question this week)
- Staff unwilling/unable to respond: 43% (48% March 20-25)
- Can’t get new personnel trained/certified because EMS education processes are frozen: 35% (31% March 20-25)
- Concern over mental health of personnel: 32% (New question this week)
- Run out of PPE: 25% (35% March 20-25)
- Challenges getting personnel tested for COVID-19: 25% (19% March 20-25)
- Low morale: 25% (New question this week)
- Disruption to junior firefighter programs: 19% (New question this week)
- Personnel in quarantine: 18% (8% March 20-25)
- Struggling with increased call volume: 4% (7% March 20-25)
Respondents were also asked to rate on a scale of 0-5 (with 5 being the highest) areas where they need help most urgently. The average ratings were as follows:
- Supply/resupply of PPE: 4.0 (4.5 March 20-25)
- Need more personnel: 3.6 (3.0 March 20-25)
- Supply/resupply of other (non-PPE) resources: 3.3 (3.6 March 20-25)
- Guidance/resources to help keep responding personnel safe: 3.1 (3.7 March 20-25)
- Guidance/resources on alternative fundraising strategies: 2.9 (New question this week)
- Better information from PSAPs regarding potential exposures: 2.7 (3.2 March 20-25)
- Access to testing: 2.7 (2.6 March 20-25)
- Guidance/resources related to behavioral health: 2.5 (New question this week)
- Guidance/resources to help with quarantine: 2.3 (2.8 March 20-25)
Notable Trends Analysis
- Supply/resupply of PPE continues to be the area that respondents are having the most difficulty with, although the overall percentage reporting that this is a problem went down (72% to 60% for “running low” and 35% to 25% for “run out”) as did the need help rating (4.5 to 4.0).
- Inability to fundraise was a new question this week and is the area that the second highest percentage (46) of respondents are having difficulty with. The need help rating (2.9) was 5th highest out of 9, although most respondents either rated this very high (46% 4-5) or low (34% 0-1).
- The percentage of respondents having issues getting personnel tested for COVID-19 or that have personnel in quarantine is relatively low but increased (tested: 19% to -25%; quarantine: 8% to 18%)
- The number of respondents decreased from 168 in the first week to 78 in the second week. The more responses the survey receives the more robust and useful the data are. Please take the survey every week to keep us informed about your experiences!