Many volunteer departments are forced to make do with an inadequate amount of turnout gear or with worn-out, non-compliant gear they can’t afford to replace. That’s why MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council are working together again in 2019 to distribute new turnout gear to volunteer fire departments through MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway Program.
Awards in the 3rd quarter were made to the following departments:
- Aguila Volunteer Fire Department (AVFD) is a small, rural department located in the AZ desert. The department is called upon to handle many, if not all, emergencies that arise in the area. It is the only protection for fire suppression, EMS, hazmat, and wildland fires and responds to small aircraft and railroad incidents. The department is also responsible for two smaller surrounding communities with mutual aid approximately an hour away. Four women and nine men make up AVFD’s 13-person crew. However, the department only has 12 sets of gear available – all of which are more than 10 years old and not compliant with recommended safety standards.
- Jacobstown Volunteer Fire Company is the primary fire department in North Hanover Township, NJ. It serves a population of 7,500 people over 17 square miles and responds to approximately 200 calls each year. Recent community outreach has helped the department’s recruitment efforts, and membership is at record-breaking numbers. Responders are currently required to complete Firefighter I to operate as interior firefighter. Many of its members also cross over between fire and EMS, providing a consistent, high level of service for residents. The company has 35 sets of gear for its 27 firefighters; however, all but three of those sets will be over 10 years old within the coming year and out of compliance according to national standards.
- Salcha Fire & Rescue is located about 40 miles south of Fairbanks, AK, next to the Salcha and Tanana Rivers. The department prides itself in being “professionally staffed by volunteers since 1982.” Volunteers are trained at both Firefighter I and Emergency Medical Technician II, protecting 2,400 people over 350 square miles. A tight budget, along with care and maintenance costs of hand-me-down equipment and gear, leaves no room to purchase new turnouts for its crew. While all 35 of the department’s responders have gear, it has been donated from other departments, most of which are over 15 years old. Gear that is over 10 years old is considered noncompliant with recommended safety standards. The department uses this gear for primary response.
- Kenduskeag Fire Rescue protects a population of 1,338 over nearly 17 miles in Penobscot County, Its 11 active volunteers are trained at First Aid/CPR and Basic Firefighter and respond to an estimated 160 calls each year. The department has been striving to improve its operations, ensuring its fleet is equipped properly and operating safely, which leaves no funding to outfit their firefighters with compliant and efficient gear. Only three sets of their gear are less than 10 years old and meet national safety standards. The department strives to ensure the safety of its responders, particularly mitigating cancer risks by properly cleaning gear after each call. However, this often leaves the department out of service after a fire until the gear is again ready for response. Additionally, the department has had to turn potential recruits away because of the lack of gear and the inability to purchase new gear that will keep them safe on a call.
- Fuego Volunteer Fire Company (FVFC) in Billings, MT, was established in 1988 by four landowners who were located outside of fire protection service areas. Today, FVFC consists of six volunteers, and it is the county’s only fire protection service – focusing primarily on grass fires in the local community. FVFC recently purchased a used pumper truck to expand the department’s capacity to provide structure protection and vehicle fire services. The trucks are currently located in a commercial heated storage unit about 30 minutes away from FVFC’s response area, and recent efforts have been focused on getting a local fire station built
- Harbour Grace Volunteer Fire Brigade (HGVFB) in Newfoundland and Labrador, CA, provides fire protection to a small community of about 4,500, vehicle extraction and cold water rescue services for four other departments serving nine communities, and high angle rescue services for 14 departments serving 27 communities. Budgetary constraints have made it difficult for the department to comply with the National Fire Protection Association’s standard of replacing turnout gear every 10 years, and most of the department’s helmets are 18 years old.
For more than 100 years, MSA has been dedicated to protecting those who protect us, so when there are first responders in need – we are proud to be able to help.