What Is Fire Corps?
Since September 11, 2001, fire and emergency service departments across the nation are struggling with increasing demands for service coupled with inadequate funding. In addition to responding to fires and medical emergencies, firefighters and EMS personnel are called upon to respond to natural disasters, terrorist attacks,and other emergencies facing their communities. In an effort to help departments face these increasing demands, Fire Corps was launched in December 2004, making it the newest of the five partner programs under Citizen Corps.
Fire Corps’ mission is to increase the capacity of volunteer, career, and combination fire and EMS departments through the use of community volunteers. These volunteers help resource-constrained departments by performing non-operational or non-emergency roles, making departments better able to develop, implement, expand, and sustain programs and services that meet the needs of their communities. In fulfilling these roles, citizens allow their local firefighters and emergency medical personnel to focus their efforts on training for and responding to critical, life-threatening situations while also increasing the ability of the department to provide additional programs and services for the community it serves.
Through Fire Corps, individuals across the country assist their local departments in a myriad of roles, including conducting fire prevention activities at the state and local levels, fundraising, providing canteen services (drinks and food) for emergency responders during lengthy incidents, maintaining emergency apparatus, performing administrative duties, and much more. The range of tasks citizens can perform is limited only by the needs of the department. In return, citizens gain an intimate understanding of the fire and emergency services and become better prepared to handle their own emergencies as well as those of their neighbors.
Several key industry associations recognized Fire Corps’ potential to foster a greater sense of preparedness and partnered to make Fire Corps a reality. These organizations include the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), the United States Fire Administration (USFA), and thirteen additional national fire and emergency service organizations. Together, this group makes up the Fire Corps National Advisory Committee, which provides direction and input on the program as well as on emerging issues in the fire and emergency services. These organizations also make up the fire service subcommittee of the National Citizen Corps Council. Fire Corps is administered by the NVFC, which is located in Washington, DC, and receives its funding from the Department of Homeland Security.
More information about Fire Corps may be found at www.firecorps.org or by calling 1-888-FC-INFO1 (324-6361).