Josh Cellars and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have partnered to provide 10 volunteer fire departments with $5,000 each to help provide training to their members. The latest two recipients of the Josh Cellars training grants are the Cannon County (TN) Fire Department and W.R. Castle (KY) Volunteer Fire & Rescue.
“Training is essential to ensure our firefighters can do their job safely and effectively,” said NVFC chair Kevin D. Quinn. “Many departments struggle to find funding to provide this critical training. We appreciate the support of Josh Cellars, who has not only recognized this need, but has taken action to ensure our men and women in the field are properly prepared and ready to respond.”
Joseph Carr, founder of Josh Cellars wine, created the Josh Cellars brand in honor of his father – a volunteer firefighter and U.S. Army veteran. 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.
Cannon County Fire Department
The Cannon County Fire Department (CCFD) is located in rural Tennessee along the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains. The department was established in 1978 and expanded from one station to seven in 1994 to provide better protection to the nearly 14,000 residents and 6,500 homes and business over 265 square miles. CCFD has roughly 100 volunteers on their roster; each is required to take the initial 16 hour training in firefighting procedures and techniques, which is mandatory in Tennessee.
The CCFD recognizes that training is the essential key element for firefighters to function safely while responding to, at the scene of, or returning from motor vehicle collisions, emergencies, fires, and/or disasters. The goal is to increase the established minimum requirements so that every firefighter is certified at Firefighter I within the next three years. However, budget restrictions have left the department to seek out external funding sources to support this initiative. The grant will help the CCFD to furnish each student with the necessary training aids, books, and other materials and also complete a live burn training at the State Fire Training Academy.
“I and the other 100 volunteer firefighters of the Cannon County Fire Department are very appreciative for this grant,” said Station Assistant Chief Larry Powell. “As Training Officer of the CCFD, I look forward to improving our training programs by incorporating more hands-on training. We plan to purchase and/or fabricate a fire behavior prop, a forcible entry simulator, a sprinkler simulator, and a vertical ventilation prop. We appreciate the support from Josh Cellars for making this possible.”
County Fire Chief Michael Underhill added, “We really appreciate receiving this grant. This funding will allow us to train more members in lifesaving skills. Increased training will help protect the citizens in our community and surrounding areas. Thank you!”
W.R. Castle Volunteer Fire & Rescue
W.R. Castle Volunteer Fire & Rescue is located in Wittensville, Kentucky. The department’s 35 volunteers protect 3,700 residents in a 42 square mile response area. With a growing roster, the department is in great need of hands-on, structural firefighting training for its crews.
Leadership seeks to create a training prop by purchasing a steel storage container that they will retrofit with windows and doors, a rooftop, and changeable partitions inside to simulate real structures. Land is available for the department to house the prop, and this will allow the volunteers to participate in hands-on training (e.g. ladders, search and rescue, forcible entry, ventilation) on-site instead of having to travel to regional facilities or rely on simulations or videos.
Because all of the department’s funds are allocated towards equipment and operations, purchasing an on-site training prop would not be possible without the Josh Cellars grant. Also, a few of the department’s members are homebuilders by trade. Their ability to construct the training prop safely and free of charge will help offset costs and allow the department to invest in materials to supplement the prop. There are enough instructors in-house to conduct the training safely, and the state can provide NFPA 1403 certified instructors for live fire activities.
“W.R. Castle Fire & Rescue greatly appreciates the assistance of Josh Cellars and the NVFC,” said Deputy Chief Brian Jeffiers. “Live fire training opportunities are hard to come by, so having our own facility for safely simulating real fireground conditions will be a very helpful learning tool for our volunteer firefighters.”