NVFC Receives Grant

NVFC to Receive FEMA Grant for Firefighter Heart Attack Prevention Program

Craig Sharman Director of Government Relations

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) are pleased to announce that the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is a 2002 Fire Prevention and Safety grant award recipient. The NVFC's project, entitled "The Firefighter Heart Attack Prevention Program," will promote the prevention of heart attacks in the fire service.

"The leading cause of death for this nation's firefighters is heart attacks." USFA Administrator R. David Paulison said. "Each year, we realize an average of 100 firefighter fatalities. Through programs like this with the NVFC, we will reduce the unacceptable loss of these American heroes.

In 2000, 102 on-duty firefighters died in the line-of-duty. Stress and overexertion, usually resulting in heart attacks, continued to be the leading cause of fatal injury, as it has been in almost all of the years of this study. More than 70% of the heart related deaths were volunteers.

USFA and NVFC will launch a major national campaign to increase awareness of this serious health problem within the fire service and will include the coordination of a Medical Advisory Panel who will provide guidance in the areas of proper nutrition, physical fitness and cardiology. The Panel and NVFC will develop a Heart Attack Indicator Kit which will be distributed at national fire service trade shows and made available through an exclusive website with specific information related to heart attack prevention including in-depth resources and recommendations. Educational materials such as posters, pamphlets, etc. will also include exercise and proper nutrition guidelines that lead to a heart-healthy lifestyle.

"The NVFC is pleased to partner with the USFA on a program to reduce the number of firefighter fatalities," said Chief Philip C. Stittleburg, NVFC Chairman. "We feel that this project will go a long way in preventing heart attacks in the fire service and increase the overall wellness and fitness of firefighters."

The funds are a part of the 2002 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. This portion of the AFG program was open to national, State and regional organizations and associations, not just fire departments. There were 480 applications submitted for the 2002 Fire Prevention and Safety grants. Priority is given to projects focusing on the prevention of fire-related injuries to children. Many of the awards represent innovative solutions for the delivery of fire prevention activities throughout the United States.