Volunteer Firefighter International

Two Volunteer Fire Departments Win Turnout Gear

Volunteer fire departments in NJ and NS to receive four new sets of turnout gear and four new helmets each

MSA Safety, DuPont Personal Protection, and the National Volunteer Fire Council have teamed up once again to help volunteer fire departments obtain much-needed personal protective equipment through MSA and DuPont’s Globe Gear Giveaway.

This annual program began in 2012 and has to date provided 611 sets of turnout gear to 134 departments. This year, another 13 departments will each receive four new sets of turnout gear and four new helmets to help enhance the safety of their firefighters. The first 500 applicants also received a one-year NVFC membership, courtesy of MSA. The first two recipients of MSA and DuPont’s 2022 Globe Gear Giveaway are the Riverdale (NJ) Volunteer Fire Department and Springhill (Nova Scotia, Canada) Volunteer Fire Department.

The Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department is an all-volunteer department located in northern New Jersey. The 33 volunteers serve a population of approximately 5,000 over 2.1 square miles and respond to an average of 200 calls annually. RFD’s service area contains portions of an interstate and major state highway as well as large stores and apartment and condominium complexes. They were last able to secure an Assistance to Firefighters Grant for new gear 10 years ago, but these sets of gear are now no longer NFPA-compliant. In addition, they have new members who do not fit the sizes of the current gear available. With much of their budget going towards other necessities, the department struggles to buy a set or two of new gear each year.

“Finding funding to purchase new turnout gear is very difficult with all the requirements on fire departments nowadays,” said assistant chief Patrick Cleary. “Having new gear would improve morale and increase the safety of firefighters in our department.”

Located in rural Nova Scotia, the Springhill Volunteer Fire Department is an all-volunteer department with 35 members. Serving a population of approximately 5,500 over 185 square miles, SVFD responds to an average of 154 calls annually. Devastated by back-to-back mining disasters in the 1950s and a fire in the 1960s that destroyed most of the downtown, Springhill has only recently begun to recover.

The SVFD is an important part of that recovery, doing whatever it can to assist their community and serving as a beacon of light through trying times. Their dedicated firefighters respond to chimney fires, structure fires, and wildland fires, among other emergencies, as well as conduct aggressive fire prevention campaigns. During the pandemic, the volunteers stepped up to deliver groceries to those who could not or did not want to go out. Unfortunately, over 80 percent of the department’s gear is more than 10 years old. Although the community does what it can to support the department, SVFD simply does not have the funding to acquire new gear for all its members.

“Training and responding to calls are done with safety as the first priority, and the job still gets done. To be awarded four sets of turnout gear would be a real boost to the department’s morale and [our firefighters’] sense of pride and accomplishment,” said firefighter Chris Mayne. He added that in addition, “This recognition would be an added sense of pride in the community for their fire department.”

Additional awards will be made monthly throughout 2022. Stay tuned to the NVFC web site, Dispatch newsletter, and Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as the Globe Facebook page, for additional information and announcements.

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