“We are excited to partner with Globe and DuPont to award these three volunteer departments with much-needed gear,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “So far in the 2013 program, 43 sets of gear have been awarded to 12 departments who were unable to purchase well-fitting, compliant gear for their firefighters. These departments can now make sure their members are properly protected for the critical job they do.”
Throughout 2013, Globe and DuPont are providing up to 52 sets of gear to volunteer fire departments in need. The program is administered through the NVFC and open to NVFC members in the U.S. and Canada who are all-volunteer departments serving a population of 25,000 or less and who demonstrate a dire need for new gear that they cannot fulfill themselves. The final round of awards will be made in December.
The Green Valley Fire Department in Huntington, WV, currently has 38 active firefighters that respond to about 340 calls each year for a community of 8,000. The department offers a range of services including fire suppression, vehicle extrication, mutual aid, EMS, and responding to down power lines. In addition, the department has an active fire prevention and education program and assists community members with a variety of needs such as removing water from basements and installing smoke detectors in homes.
What the department doesn’t have is enough usable, compliant gear to outfit all of their firefighters. While they have worked to reroute money from other needs to buy new gear, this is not an ideal solution and still doesn’t provide the amount of money necessary to supply adequate protection to all of the firefighters that respond to emergencies.
By receiving the four new sets of gear from Globe, Deputy Chief Bobby Ray Minnix, Jr. explains that the department would benefit greatly “through our firefighters regaining safety necessary to fight fires and address fire related situations, gaining the ability to better serve our community with more adequately prepared firefighters, and by allowing the reallocation of funds currently possessed to fulfill pressing needs of the fire department.”
Golden City Fire & Rescue in Booneville, AR, is a small, rural fire department that provides fire protection, BLS medical, and rescue response to the community, with about 71 calls per year. They also provide first due mutual aid to nearby high risk properties, including a USDA research facility that contains hazardous materials, such as fertilizers, on site. With a very small operating budget, the department is unable to supply adequate gear for its nine firefighters. Four of the firefighters can’t participate in structural firefighting because they don’t have any PPE, while the other five rely on PPE that is over 10 years old.
“It would take seven years to slowly purchase all the PPE needed for our four firefighters [that don’t have gear], and that’s IF we didn’t have any major apparatus breakdowns. We can’t expect our firefighters to go seven years without PPE,” Fire Chief David Schlorer said of the dire need his department is in. Other efforts to secure grant funding to purchase PPE have failed due to the department’s small size.
Through the Globe Gear Giveaway, which targets small, rural fire departments in desperate need of gear, Golden City Fire & Rescue will be able to supply all of its firefighters with gear.
The Jefferson Township Fire Department in Midland, OH, responds to about 140 calls per year in a 23-square-mile coverage area. It is a department in transition, rebuilding after several members left when a large business that employed 80% of the community closed. In the past year, they have doubled in size to 15 firefighters. Through federal grants, the department has been able to secure much-needed equipment such as SCBA, hose, and training. However, with so many new members the department lacks enough gear to protect them all.
With operating expenses that include maintaining a building that is almost 70 years old and a first engine that is 30 years old, the budget only allows for the bare minimum. “We greatly appreciate all the equipment that we receive from other area departments just so we can have the basics, but we feel that because our community members give up their time and make the commitment to the department they should have the proper gear to enter into a fire safely,” said Assistant Chief Sandra Wisby. “This award of new gear will put us one step closer to our goal of having all of our members equipped appropriately.”