Firefighters are often called upon for medical emergencies, active shooters, search and rescue, chemical explosions, and an array of other incidents. The additional responsibilities of all-hazard prevention, response, and mitigation require greater training demands; however, many volunteer fire departments are struggling to fund critical training.
The Josh Cellars brand recognizes this need and partnered with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to provide 10 volunteer fire departments with $5,000 each to help provide training to their members. The Olivet (MI) Fire Department and the Upper Milford Western District Fire Company #1 (Zionsville, PA) are the latest recipients of the grant.
Olivet Fire Department
Located 31 miles southwest of Lansing, MI, the Olivet Fire Department has 23 volunteer firefighters who protect 5,100 residents over 45 square miles. The department’s coverage area includes two major interstates, a railroad that routinely carries hazardous chemicals, and two college dormitories.
While the members of the department are well trained in public education outreach, a community risk assessment and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis revealed that their members need additional training in the areas of hazmat, leadership/officer development, strategies and tactics, and critical thinking/scene management/incident command system.
The department suffered a line-of-duty death in September 2007 and has continually struggled with firefighter injuries during emergency response or training events. The department is working to implement an institutional change by introducing safety curriculum so that all members go home safely. The Josh Cellars grant will help the department purchase and deliver nationally-recognized training in the areas identified during the risk assessment and SWOT analysis. The goal is to reduce firefighter injuries through comprehensive, measurable, and risk-response related training.
“The Olivet Fire Department is honored to receive this $5,000 grant from Josh Cellars through the NVFC,” said Fire Chief John Collins. “This grant will help Olivet Fire bring in top instructors to not only train our members but to also train the members from the neighboring departments we work with through mutual aid. It is essential that our members and mutual aid partners have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to prevent or mitigate injuries and be ready to respond safely.”
Upper Milford Western District Fire Company #1
Upper Milford Western District Fire Company #1 is an entirely volunteer organization protecting nearly 7,500 residents in eastern PA. Although the area is mainly rural-residential, it also includes a petroleum tank farm with 20 miles of pipeline and 29 above-ground storage tanks containing millions of gallons of hazardous fuels. In addition, nearby major state highways see an average of 20,300 vehicles every day; about 18 percent of those are tractor-trailers, many hauling fuel and other hazardous materials. The township also contains three miles of railway tracks that carry 35 to 40 freight trains daily and a local meat processing facility that stores large amounts of ammonia.
To adequately protect residents and the responders themselves, the department encourages its firefighters to become certified at least at the Firefighter I level. The task of training falls on a handful of dedicated individuals in the department. While most are experienced veterans, they are not state-certified instructors who can give members the training certificates they need to advance in the fire service. Out of their 27 active members, only eight are trained at Firefighter I and one at Firefighter II.
To change that, the department will utilize the Josh Cellars grant to help contract with the nearby community college’s Department of Public Safety Training and Certification to provide a well-balanced menu of for-credit courses. Funds will also be used to help provide emergency medical certification for one member, certify another member at Fire Instructor II, purchase a rescue dummy, and update additional training tools and resources.
“Receiving a Josh Cellars Training Grant will help us achieve our goal of becoming a NFPA-compliant, 21st-century fire department,” said Firefighter George DeVault. “We need more civic-minded brands like Josh Cellars to keep the volunteer fire service strong. Thank you, Josh Cellars and the NVFC for your generous support. You set a fine example for everyone.”
About the Grant
Josh Cellars wine was created by Joseph Carr as a tribute to his father – a volunteer firefighter and U.S. Army veteran. “Growing up, my dad Josh, our family, neighbors, and friends were all volunteer firefighters,” explains Carr. “It is a civic duty shared and understood by all where I come from that you always take care of your community. That’s why Josh Cellars is partnering with the NVFC to provide assistance to volunteer fire departments.”
To be eligible to apply for the grant, departments had to be over 50 percent volunteer, serve a population of 25,000 or less, be located in the U.S., and be a member of the NVFC. Additional awards will be announced through March 2018; stay tuned to the NVFC web site, Dispatch newsletter, and Facebook page for additional information.
About Josh Cellars
Josh Cellars offers bold, complex and approachable wines for drinking with family and friends. Sourced from vineyards across California, Josh Cellars offers seven varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Rosé and a red blend, “Legacy.” Josh Cellars wines are available at retailers nationwide. Learn more at www.joshcellars.com.
About the NVFC
The NVFC is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable resources, programs, education, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at www.nvfc.org.