GREENBELT, MD (September 30, 2009) - The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), in partnership with the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation, has selected 10 outstanding junior firefighter programs and Explorer Posts from departments nationwide to receive a $5,000 grant through the NVFC National Junior Firefighter Program. This is the second year that the program has honored ten exceptional junior firefighter programs with grants.
"We are very pleased to partner with the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation to provide grants to help fire departments further develop their junior firefighter programs," said NVFC Executive Director, Heather Schafer. "The 10 applicants selected by the Grant Review Committee stood out as exemplary junior firefighter programs that are making a positive impact in their communities. These departments are truly dedicated to preparing the future of the fire and emergency services - our youth."
The competitive grant process drew applications from junior firefighter programs and Explorer Posts across the country. Recipients were selected based on program innovation, community impact, and financial need, among other criteria.
"We are thrilled to partner with the National Volunteer Fire Council to provide 10 fire departments throughout the country with the additional resources they need to prepare the next generation of fire service leaders," said Stephan Shelton, a Dunkin' Donuts franchisee and co-chair of the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation.
The NVFC and the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation wish to thank every junior firefighter program and Explorer Post who applied for the grants. The 10 recipients of the grants in alphabetical order are as follows:
Atlantic Highlands (NJ) Volunteer Fire Department
The Atlantic Highlands Volunteer Fire Department Junior Firefighting Program is designed to give young adults, ages 15-21, the hands-on opportunity (with safety restrictions) to learn about firefighting. Juniors are taught the values and rewards of community involvement as well as teamwork skills that can be applied to all aspects of life. The program uses pagers to alert junior firefighters to a call so that they experience the true on-call nature of firefighting. Approximately 75 percent of the program's graduates continue in the fire service.
Bellevue (TX) Volunteer Fire Department
Explorers in the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department Explorer Post participate in structural and wildland fire training, medical training, and career development. The Post was created to provide education and career opportunities to Bellevue High School students. The department works with the high school for an annual recruitment campaign to get more youth involved as junior firefighters.
Boys Town (NE) Fire Department
The Village of Boys Town, NE, is headquarters of the national organization Boys Town, an integrated program that instills leadership, responsibility, and service in high-risk youth. With help from adult administrators, all community leadership positions are held by youth participating in the program. In addition to firefighting training, Boys Town Fire Department cadets go through a physical conditioning program where goals in running, push-ups, and sit-ups are increased through time, encouraging youth to set and achieve goals and learn discipline. Since 1970, over 600 teens have been enrolled in the program.
Carlin (NV) Volunteer Fire Department
Explorers at the Carlin Volunteer Fire Department run their own meetings and train in areas such as first aid, fire operations, and highway safety. They also perform community service and participate in all department fundraisers. The Explorers are working to develop a regional training event for all junior firefighters and Explorers in their area.
City of Northville (MI) Fire Department
The City of Northville Fire Department's Explorers participate in mock disaster training, field days, competitions, and additional trainings with other Explorers from their region. They learn about the many aspects of the fire service by visiting other departments and facilities such as military bases, airports, dispatch centers, arson labs, and cargo ships. Approximately 80 percent of the Post's graduates continue in the fire service.
City of Tonawanda (NY) Fire Department
The City of Tonawanda Fire Department's Explorer Post's motto is "Our Best Today for a Better Tomorrow." Explorers have been crucial in assisting the department during mass emergencies, such as an October 2006 ice storm where power was out and roadways were closed for days. They also assist their department by serving as "victims" in mock disaster drills.
Galax (VA) Volunteer Fire Department
Explorers at the Galax Volunteer Fire Department learn important social skills, health and fitness, and problem solving. The Post is focused on providing structure and guidance for juniors to become a developed firefighter and member of the community.
Hedgesville (WV) Volunteer Fire Company
Members of the Hedgesville 4-H Junior Volunteer Fire Company are trained in first aid, infectious disease control, sexual harassment prevention and awareness, forest fire, SCBA, and water rescue, among other skills. They also participate in community projects, including developing and implementing an emergency preparedness training program at the local schools called "Prom Disasters."
Neffsville (PA) Community Fire Company
The Neffsville Community Fire Company is a regional junior firefighter program that draws junior firefighters from five separate fire companies. Program participants come from a diverse range of backgrounds and fire departments. Each year they host a regional junior firefighter training day, which drew 70 junior firefighters from 22 different departments in three counties in 2008.
Wissahickon (PA) Fire Company
Junior firefighters ages 16-17 at the Wissahickon Fire Company train, respond, and work side-by-side with senior firefighters on emergency calls (when allowed by law). Approximately 70 percent of the department's graduated junior firefighters remain in the fire service. Since 2006 they have hosted an annual Firefighter Camp, an intensive four-week training experience for youth ages 14 and up to get a real-life taste of what it is like to be a firefighter. The courses at Camp are taught by junior firefighters as well as senior instructors.
About the NVFC and National Junior Firefighter Program
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, emergency medical, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable tools, resources, programs, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. The NVFC National Junior Firefighter Program provides departments and youth with the resources, tools, and information they need to help develop, grow, enhance, promote, and participate in a local junior firefighter program. The program addresses retention and recruitment challenges by getting youth involved in the fire and emergency services, thus fostering a lifelong connection with the emergency services that will continue throughout their adulthood. Learn more at www.nvfc.org.
About the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation
The Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation brings together a wide network of stakeholders, including Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins franchisees, crew members and employees, to support those who serve in our communities. The focus of the Foundation is emergency response organizations and child-related causes. The goal of the Foundation is to help ensure that those heroes we depend on during a disaster have what they need to rise to any occasion, and to make a positive impact on the lives of children in the communities that we serve. To learn more about the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation, please visit www.dunkinbrands.com/foundation.