Many volunteer fire departments struggle to obtain adequate personal protective equipment for their members. This is why MSA, DuPont Personal Protection, and the National Volunteer Fire Council have partnered since 2012 to donate new gear to departments in need through MSA and DuPont’s Globe Gear Giveaway. In 2023, 13 volunteer fire departments will be selected to receive four new sets of turnout gear and four new helmets each.
Awards were made to the following departments in July, August, and September:
- South Boundary Fire Protection District serves the rural community of Naples in northern Idaho. The department, which is run almost entirely by volunteers, serves a population of 12,000 across 74 square miles. They respond to an average of 262 calls per year, with incidents ranging from wildland fires, natural disasters, and outdoor recreation accidents to aircraft crashes, train derailments, and structure/commercial fires. With a high call volume and extensive list of incident types, some requiring the response of all members, it’s critical that each member of the department has safe and appropriate personal protective equipment to respond in. However, the crew has been running on a bare minimum number of turnouts. When the inevitable repair or cleaning needs to be done, the department must choose between sending less members than needed to a call or having some use old, soiled, or unsafe gear.
- Springville Volunteer Fire Department, located in rural southeastern Colorado, consists of 17 members that are responsible for the 2,500-square-mile response area. The department responds to approximately 120 calls per year. A great portion of the county is semi-desert prairie, making for extreme fire danger in the area. The department’s response area also includes two major highways and critical infrastructure such as wind power farms, gas and electrical transmission lines, an airport, a railroad, and several schools. Regional economic downturn and inflation have made it difficult to cover the organization’s operating costs. This has forced the department to make drastic cuts to non-critical expenditures in order to sustain its level of service. Included in the cuts was the purchase of new personal protective equipment.
- Potter Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department is located in rural, western Nebraska. The department is made up entirely of volunteers and serves 700 residents, as well as thousands of travelers, across 299 square miles. Included in the department’s response radius are two major highways, one of which accommodates over 4,800 heavy commercial vehicles per day, and two rail lines that often carry hazardous materials. In addition, 15 nearby departments rely on the Potter Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department for mutual aid. The lack of adequate personal protective equipment has made it challenging for all volunteers to respond and help when needed. Members have been forced to sit on the sidelines not because they aren’t willing to help, but because their gear is too old.
- Wasauksing Fire Department is located on one of the 30,000 islands surrounding Parry Sound in Ontario, Canada. The small, First Nation department consists of 16 members, 15 of which are volunteers. It averages 100 calls per year, serving a population of 420 in the off-season, and up to 1,500 during the on-season. The department is under-funded and under-equipped, relying on surrounding departments to stay afloat. The gear currently being used is damaged and more than 10 years old, which poses major safety concerns for training and real emergency situations.
- Avoca Volunteer Fire Department is a new department formed to protect 100 square miles of sprawling farmland in northern Texas. The community consists of 60 houses, many of which are abandoned, as well as two churches, two schools, and a cotton gin. While the core community consists of about 100 people, there are roughly 3,600 residents in the larger and growing response area. Last year, Avoca experienced a disastrous fire on St. Patrick’s Day. It wiped out four houses while residents waited over an hour for surrounding community departments to respond. The community subsequently came together to form its own volunteer fire department to prevent such a devastating loss from happening again. However, the department needs gear and equipment in order to provide fire response in its service area.
- LeContes Mills Volunteer Fire Company, made up entirely of volunteers, serves the small, rural town of Frenchville, Pennsylvania. Overseeing an area of over 500 square miles, the department mostly responds to building fires but also handles brush fires and search-and-rescue missions in the surrounding mountainous and wooded terrain. Since the department’s formation in 1976, it has never been able to afford new turnout gear for its members. Nearby departments have passed down old gear, but it is all over 10 years old, posing serious safety risks to the firefighters. And, as the threat of lithium-ion battery emergencies grows due to an increase in electric vehicles in the community, having proper protection is more critical than ever.
For more than a century, MSA has been committed to providing workers all around the world with the equipment they need to help keep them safe. This program with the National Volunteer Fire Council supports our valuable volunteer firefighters so they can help keep their communities safe and be there when their neighbors are in need.