For the fifth year, we’ve teamed up with DuPont Protection Solutions and the National Volunteer Fire Council to give back to the community of volunteers that is the backbone of the American fire service. Through our Globe Gear Giveaway Program, a total of 13 departments received four sets of new, state-of-the-art turnout gear each. Awards in the 4th quarter were made to the following departments:
- Northwest Washington Volunteer Fire Company (Salem, IN) ‒ The Northwest Washington Volunteer Fire Company serves a 44-square-mile area in southern Indiana. After seeing a 25 percent increase in structure fires and a 50 percent increase in brush fires over the last few years, they enacted a recruitment campaign which increased their staffing from four to 11 firefighters. Most of their annual budget is spent on insurance, so they requested donated gear from other area departments to outfit their new volunteers – and traveled hundreds of miles to pick up the donations. Although they were able to get sets for everyone, all of the gear is more than 10 years old with most more than 15 years old. Most of their turnout pants have fraying threads, broken zippers, and damaged knee pads. The coats have the department names and last names of the previous owners. Despite these limitations, they work hard to serve their community, organizing events such as a township clean-up day and children’s toy drive.
- Sylvia-Yellow Creek Volunteer Fire Department (Dickson, TN) ‒ The Sylvia-Yellow Creek Volunteer Fire Department is a small department in a very rural section of Dickson County in Tennessee. The department was formed in 1998; by 2012 it was on the verge of having to shut down due to lack of member support and funds. With new leadership, the department has revived and has increased from two members in 2013 to 16 members in 2016. The new membership has been hard at work, launching an annual smoke detector campaign, hosting fundraisers, and receiving an Insurance Service Office rating, which saves local homeowners an average of $200 a year on their insurance premium. Unfortunately, they only have 10 sets of turnout gear for their 16 active members. Seven of those sets are more than 10 years old and are worn and mismatched.
- Brindle Ridge Fire Department (Mount Vernon, KY) ‒ The Brindle Ridge Fire Department (BRFD) serves 1,700 people over 91 square miles in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. Department fundraising proceeds are used for purchasing equipment and essential tools as well helping pay for basic utilities. BRFD attempts to replace old turnout gear on a yearly basis, but with 38 members on the roster and only eight sets of gear that are National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) compliant, the department has a large number of members that do not have the gear required to fight fires. This reduces their ability to provide training to their volunteers, as the state requires all members to have compliant gear in order to work in live fire training situations. This gear donation will provide BRFD members desperately needed protective equipment, enabling them to better protect their community.
- Eastern Douglas County Volunteer Fire Department (Drury, MO) ‒ The Eastern Douglas County Volunteer Fire Department (EDCVFD) is a small rural department providing fire and medical services to approximately 2,200 citizens in Drury, Missouri. They are a membership-based department, receiving no tax funding. More than half of their annual budget is dedicated to insurance coverage. Their 24 volunteers have only 14 sets of gear among them, all of which are more than 10 years old. Even with this obstacle, EDCVFD is very active in the community; they were named a national Firewise Community in 2015 and 2016. “Departments like ours depend on companies like Globe to provide grant programs to acquire new gear,” said Chief Chris Hammett.
- Grindstone Community Volunteer Fire Department (PA) ‒ The 28 volunteer firefighters in the Grindstone Community Volunteer Fire Department serve a population of 6,500 in a rural residential area. They respond to 200 calls a year, but have only 16 sets of gear available − all of which are more than 10 years old. They receive no tax income from their local community; instead, they rely on citizen donations. All of their current gear was donated from other departments. “We look forward to having new, safe gear that also features our own department name!” said Chief Rich Lenk.
- Cottonwood Shores Volunteer Fire Department (TX) ‒ The Cottonwood Shores Volunteer Fire Department protects a population of 1,700 in a small town in Texas. Nine of their firefighters are trained to Firefighter II, but they only have three sets of gear, and all are more than 10 years old. Training has been a challenge since the old gear does not meet the requirements for fire school in Texas. The four sets of new turnout gear will help protect the department’s personnel as well as enable the firefighters to obtain more hands-on training so they are ready to respond.
To be eligible to apply for four sets of Globe gear, departments had to meet the following requirements:
- be all-volunteer or mostly-volunteer (over 50%)
- serve a population of 25,000 or less
- be located in the U.S. or Canada and legally organized under state/province law
- demonstrate a need for the gear
- department or person applying must be a member of the NVFC. To help struggling departments meet the membership criteria, Globe provided a complimentary NVFC Membership to the first 500 applicants.
We all owe a huge debt of thanks to the volunteers who are the frontline of firefighting in communities across the country. Globe is glad to be able to improve the safety of some of these departments with limited resources by providing their members with the most advanced turnout gear.