The men and women who answer 9-1-1 calls are consummate professionals. When the unthinkable occurs, they are the first contact many of us have with first responders. Before a blue and red light flashes, a siren blares, or an ambulance races, they are the individuals organizing emergency response. However, Washington does not treat 9-1-1 operators with the respect they deserve because the Office of Management and Budget classifies them as clerical workers. This is wrong — and it’s time to correct it.

Fifty years ago, the first 9-1-1 call was made in Haleyville, Ala. From there, 9-1-1 service took off across... Read More...

As a first responder and member of a public agency, there are two ways to pursue proper authorization for flying unmanned aircraft or drones under the guidance and authority of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  


First, a firefighter can operate a small unmanned aircraft if they and their drone fly under 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 107, remote pilot and operations certification. 

Secondly, Title 49 USC 40102 defines fire departments as a governmental function. This allows fire departments to apply for Public Aircraft Operations under a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (PAO COA) within the guidelines for public agencies. Read More...

CAMILLA, Ga. — It’s not always a lightbulb that goes off when a great idea arrives. Sometimes it’s a siren.

That’s what a FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance team heard in late October as they canvassed a Mitchell County neighborhood that had been devastated by Hurricane Michael. It’s also how FEMA’s new First Responders Registration Intake was born.

Some county residents had missed reports that FEMA would be working in the area, so when they saw two unknown young men approaching evacuees’ damaged homes, they called the police. Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Wilson responded to the call and found Gregory Conway and Dan Andrews, the DSA team, knocking on doors.

“The dispatch didn’t know that the sheriff had already given approval for field outreach,” Cheryl Catchings, DSA Branch Director, explained in a news release. “They’d met in his office and gave their names, phone numbers, car registration, car color, license plate, everything … and DSA went right to the area the sheriff told them to go.” Read More...

As a fire chief, how would you want a member of your community to respond when asked what they think of your department or agency?

Most likely, you would want to hear something positive or constructive. But what if the feedback you're receiving isn't exactly accurate?

In their presentation at the International Association of Fire Chief's Fire-Rescue International conference in August, Chiefs John Binaski and Michael Despain will discuss how fire and EMS departments can present data that's easily and quickly understood by elected officials, the media and the community at-large. Their seminar, “Measuring and reporting your agency's real value to the community,” will be held August 8. Read More...

FEMA has opened the application period for the Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grants on November 12. These grants support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards. Grant guidance and information is now available on the FP&S web site. The NVFC will also be hosting a webinar on November 19 to help departments navigate the application process. Stay tuned to the NVFC web siteFacebook, and Twitter for details.