The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Board of Directors met in Concord, NC, on October 21-23, 2015. Representatives from 40 state associations attended to conduct Council business and address issues of critical importance to the volunteer fire, emergency medical, and rescue services.
Below are highlights from the 2015 fall meeting.
The NVFC board focused on the future of the NVFC with a strategic planning session facilitated by Bill Jenaway of VFIS that included updating the goals for the future of the organization. In addition, the board discussed refreshing the NVFC’s logo in conjunction with the Council’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2016.
Recruitment and Retention
Thanks to support from a federal SAFER grant, the NVFC is launching a nationwide volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention campaign. Departments can go to http://portal.nvfc.org to post their volunteer opportunities, create customized recruitment materials, and access additional tools for recruiting new members. The public can go towww.MakeMeAFirefighter.org to find local volunteer opportunities and learn more about the fire and emergency services. The campaign fully launches at the end of November.
One focus of the campaign is helping departments recruit a more diverse audience. NVFC research shows Millennials, women, and minorities are interested in volunteering, yet these audiences are under-represented in the fire service. The board discussed ways to better reach these audiences and ensure departments have enough members to meet their community’s needs now and in the future.
As part of the campaign, the NVFC is creating a series of courses to help departments address a wide variety of recruitment, retention, and leadership challenges. One of these new courses, Diversity and Inclusion in the Fire Service, was debuted at the board meeting by instructors Juan Bonilla, NVFC Idaho Director, and Kimberly Cox, Trustee, Volunteer Division of the International Association of Women in the Fire and Emergency Services.
In addition, Greg Smith, President of Shell Pipeline Company LP, and NASCAR’s Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion, made a special presentation to the board. Shell Pipeline has been a supporter of the recruitment campaign, and the No. 22 car featured the campaign slogan and web site on its decklid during a race in September. Smith and Logano addressed the board and gave the decklid to the NVFC. The No. 22 car was also on display during the meeting. Learn more.
Firefighter Cancer Prevention
Firefighter cancer awareness and prevention are a priority for the NVFC, and great consideration was given to addressing this issue during the board meeting. The Health, Safety, and Training Committee created a Work Group to specifically address firefighter cancer. In addition, the board passed three resolutions regarding cancer:
- The Council accepted the position statement to support the National Fire Service Cancer Initiatives being facilitated by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
- The Council accepted the positon statement to reduce risk related to the transport of PPE.
- The Council accepted the position statement to support the funding and provision of a second firefighting hood to members.
The board also participated in a facility tour at Minerva Bunker Gear Cleaners in Charlotte, which included a presentation by a representative from the Firefighter Cancer Support Network. Proper cleaning of gear is a critical component of reducing the threat of firefighter cancer.
A meeting of the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance took place in Arlington, VA, October 22-23, running simultaneously to the NVFC meeting. NVFC board members Jim Seavey (MD) and Brian McQueen attended on behalf of the NVFC. Learn more.
Vince Mackenzie from the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and Graham Pawlette from the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association attended the meeting to expand the collaboration between the U.S. and Canadian fire services. Mackenzie noted that the issues faced by the American fire service are identical to those in Canada. The NVFC has a long history of building relationships with the fire service in other countries to foster open dialogue, share ideas and innovations, and strengthen the global fire service community.
Many of the NVFC’s Committees met to address key emergency service issues, including the inaugural meeting of the NVFC’s new Hazmat Response Committee which featured guest speaker William Deas of the DHS Infrastructure Security Compliance Division. Red Grasso of FirstNet spoke at the Radio/Wireless Committee meeting, and Mike Blackburn and Mike Healy from American Addiction Centers was the guests at the Health, Safety, and Training Committee meeting. The EMS/Rescue Section and the NVFC Foundation board also met.
During the general session, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez and John Haven from Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue gave a presentation about the safe extrication of live large animals from entrapments in local emergencies or disaster areas. The North Carolina State Firemen’s Association also hosted dinners at Hendrick Racing and the Charlotte Motor Speedway.Special Events
The NVFC thanks our meeting host, the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association, and its partners as well as all of the meeting sponsors: American Addiction Centers, California Casualty, ESIP, Minerva Bunker Gear Cleaners, the National Fire Protection Association, The Pennsylvania Fireman, PennWell Fire Group, Provident, Scott Safety, and Shell Pipeline Company LP.
A post-meeting highlight video will be available on the NVFC web site soon.
The NVFC serves as the voice of the over 800,000 volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue personnel in the U.S. The organization provides advocacy, resources, education, and programs to help the volunteer fire and emergency services thrive. The NVFC board is comprised of up to two representatives from 48 state fire associations and meets as a whole twice a year. The next board meeting will take place May 6-7, 2016, in Alexandria, VA.
Learn more about the NVFC and join today at www.nvfc.org.