The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) an $848,133 Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grant to support the NVFC’s fire service safety and health initiatives. The grant will help the NVFC implement initiatives to further the B.E.S.T. Practices for Firefighter Health and Safety, which focuses on behavior, equipment, standards and codes, and training.
The NVFC will use the grant to implement a behavioral health campaign for the fire and emergency services. The campaign will focus on the emotional wellbeing of first responders and include resources aimed at addressing depression, suicide, PTSD, and other critical behavioral health issues that face firefighters and EMS personnel. This will expand upon efforts implemented under the NVFC’s current FP&S grant, which included a behavioral health study, training, and outreach.
In addition, the NVFC will increase its efforts in other health and safety areas, including helping volunteer fire departments adhere to safety standards and codes and co-sponsoring the 2014 International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week. The NVFC will also host a training summit that will provide in-person training on health, safety, public fire prevention education, and other critical topics to volunteer firefighters from across the country.
“Firefighter safety and health are top priorities of the NVFC, and we are very excited to get this Fire Prevention and Safety grant to further our initiatives,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “These are critical issues facing the fire service, and thanks to this grant we can continue to work to prevent firefighter deaths and injuries. By proactively addressing the mental and physical wellbeing of our nation’s first responders, we can protect those who protect our communities. We thank FEMA for their ongoing support of these efforts.”
The FP&S grants are part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program and support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards. The primary goal is to reduce injury and prevent death among high-risk populations.