NVFC Named a Recipient of the Fire Service Safety Leadership Award

Thursday, 06 May 2010

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) honored the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) as one of three recipients of the 2010 Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award at the 22nd Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on April 29 in Washington DC. The NVFC was recognized for establishing and promoting the Volunteer Firefighter Health and Safety Priorities.

The NVFC is committed to the health and safety of first responders and has established many initiatives to promote firefighter health and safety. To further these efforts, the NVFC’s Health and Safety Committee developed the Volunteer Firefighter Health and Safety Priorities to guide departments on key issues that will keep department members safe and eliminate cases of preventable injury and death.

“Receiving this award is a great honor for the NVFC and the Health & Safety Committee,” said Kenn Fontenot, Chair of the NVFC Health and Safety Committee, as he accepted the award. “What you - the leaders of the fire service - can do to enhance this occasion is to adopt the B.E.S.T. practices in your organization. Have written policies and procedures that encompass each of the Priorities and ENFORCE them… We are all aware that 75 percent of all LODD’s result from heart attacks/strokes and going to and coming from incidents… We can and must change these numbers.”

The Priorities are set forth in a series of practices that fire and emergency service departments should follow in order to stay strong. They are divided into four main focus areas, abbreviated as B.E.S.T.: Behavior, Equipment, Standards and Codes, and Training. While created with the volunteer fire service in mind, the concepts laid out in the B.E.S.T. practices apply to all fire and emergency service departments. All departments are encouraged to adhere to the B.E.S.T. practices to keep their members safe.

To ensure that all departments are aware of the B.E.S.T. practices and keep them at the forefront of their minds, the NVFC partnered with Provident Agency to distribute 30,000 B.E.S.T. posters that were sent to every fire department in the country. In addition, the NVFC has partnered with national and state fire service media to bring the Priorities to the attention of fire service personnel across the nation.

The NVFC also expanded the health and safety section of its web site at www.nvfc.org/health_safety to correspond with the B.E.S.T. practices. This section features resources and tools to help departments implement these practices, such as the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program and the Emergency Vehicle Safe Operations program, among many others. Departments can also download the B.E.S.T. poster or order additional hard copies to hang up in their departments.

“The NVFC will continue to do everything we can to raise awareness of these critical issues and keep the Priorities at the forefront of the fire service,” Fontenot said. “However, we must remember that all of us, the entire fire service community, need to work together as a whole to make these efforts successful and to ensure that everyone comes home.”

Named after retired-Senator Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland, a strong advocate of our nation's firefighters and rescue personnel during his 36-year career in Congress, the award recognizes organizations for their outstanding contributions to firefighter health and safety. Both State Farm Insurance and VFIS serve as the corporate supporters of the award program.

For additional information about the Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Award, please visit the CFSI web site at www.cfsi.org and the NFFF web site at www.firehero.org. Learn more about the Volunteer Firefighter Health and Safety Priorities and get a copy of the B.E.S.T. poster at www.nvfc.org/health_safety.



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