With 2022 coming to a close, we at Firefighters and EMS Fund are reflecting on how grateful we are for the opportunity to impact so many citizens and fire departments around the country this year. Here is a recap of the projects we have completed since January:
As the year kicked off Firefighters and EMS Fund kept its ear to the ground for Fire Departments in need of assistance. We reached out to the Perry Joint Fire District in Ohio after learning that the local firefighter’s association had to sacrifice part of its budget to help pass a tax levy which would improve local response capabilities. Firefighters and EMS Fund made a donation to the firefighter’s association equal to that which was spent on political activities related to passing the referendum. Fortunately the levy passed by a margin of around 150 votes.
Firefighters and EMS Fund learned of a ballot measure taking place in Cloverdale Oregon and reached out to learn how we could be of help. Fortunately the political effort in Cloverdale was quite organized and the local firefighter’s association was already hard at work. Here is what the Coverdale Volunteer Firefighters Association had to say about our effort:
Thank you for the generous donation of $5,000 to the Cloverdale Volunteer Fire Fighters Association from the Firefighters and EMS Fund. Your support of our recent Levy to obtain full time staffing was greatly appreciated. Your funding helped us with a direct mail campaign and local newspaper ad, which resulted in community members overwhelmingly voting in favor of the levy. We are excited to move forward with the additional capabilities this will provide to the District.
Your support of First Responders in general and the Cloverdale Fire District and Association specifically is admirable, and it is appreciated by our members who have been directly impacted. We will continue to serve this community to the best of our ability and provide needed emergency services. Thank you again for being a part of that.
Members of the Cloverdale Volunteer Fire Fighters Association
Tucker County W. Va
Firefighters and EMS Fund learned of an opportunity to put our political expertise to use by assisting the efforts of a rural EMS provider to pass a levy. Here is what a Tucker County Ambulance Authority Board member had to say about our work together.
On behalf of the Tucker County Ambulance Authority Board and the Tucker County EMS, we would like to thank you for the professional and very timely, voter mailers that you sent out on our behalf regarding the EMS Excess Levy vote that occurred this past Tuesday here in Tucker County, WV. Unfortunately the EMS Excess Levy failed to pass by an unofficial vote count of 919 For to 1,137 Against. We certainly would not have had the internal fiscal or process resources to execute such a printing and mailing effort in as few days as you did for us. We are sure that this effort increased the voter turnout and increased awareness of the fiscal difficulty that the Tucker County EMS continues to experience. We will continue to persevere as the situation is continually evolving.
Thank you again for coming to our aid. Being a sparse, rural (17 persons per square mile), 420 square mile county, with no emergency medical facilities within the county, EMS continues to be a lifeline for its residents. We remain resolved to continue to seek local, state and federal solutions to what we know is a national level EMS (and firefighter) problem.
Thank you again for your invaluable assistance in this effort.
The Woodlands TX
The Woodlands Professional Firefighters Association requested assistance in achieving its state and local political endeavors and the Firefighters and EMS Fund stepped up to lend its support with a monetary donation. There were 4, local, firefighter association-endorsed candidates being challenged in their re-election campaigns. The Woodlands Professional Firefighters Association was advocating for a fair and equitable compensation study at the time and needed its endorsed candidates to maintain their seats in order for the project to be viable. They also advocated for behavioral health support services to better care for responders dealing with PTSD in addition to presumptive cancer benefits.
Firefighters and EMS Fund chose to support the mission of the International Association of Fire Chiefs by serving as a sponsor of the Fire Rescue International Conference in San Antonio, TX.
Firefighter Fatality Report
This year Firefighters and EMS Fund completed an all new report which examines over 1,000 individual firefighter fatality causes to determine trends. The report examines variables like age, rank, and location to identify trends occurring over the past 10 years.
Presumptive Cancer Series
Firefighters and EMS Fund began a new expanded study series examining the ins and outs of presumptive cancer coverage by state. Thus far we have examined presumptive coverage laws in Mississippi, Florida, and Georgia.
Citizen Advisory Committee
Firefighters and EMS Fund remains committed to giving everyday citizens the opportunity to take action and participate in advocating for Fire and EMS resources by joining our Citizens Advisory Committee.
Legislative Action Page Update
In August of this year our Legislative Action Page, a resource for citizens to stay informed on the latest legislative proposals impacting the Fire & EMS communities, was updated to reflect the most up-to-date developments.
Fall Get Out The Vote Project
This Fall Firefighters and EMS Fund is proud to have supported voter turnout in four different cities around the US. The turnout we drove gave a boost to ballot measures and politicians who supported fire/ems policy in Strongsville Ohio, Marion Ohio, Oak Harbor Washington, and Oswego Illinois. 3 out of 4 measures we supported passed. We targeted nearly 60,000 voters dispersed among these 4 cities with SMS messages, emails, and video ads on social media sites like YouTube and Facebook.
“These individuals were identified as low-propensity voters who are pro tax and spend” said Executive Director Jane Porter. “When advocating for bipartisan services like Fire and EMS it is important to find people who will respond to your messaging and call to action. These are the people we reached out to.
In Oswego, the fire district requested that a levy which was defeated in June this year be placed on the ballot once more. We at Firefighters and EMS Fund hoped this would be an easy win for the Oswego Fire Protection District given that it was defeated in June by a margin of a single vote. Unfortunately, Oswego voters rejected the proposed tax increase that would have supported increased demand driven by population growth. The tax increase was defeated 10,690 “No” votes to 9,384 “Yes” votes.
In Strongsville, a levy known as Issue 88 was placed on the ballot to support wages and station upkeep, generating around $2.2 million per year. The levy passed by a margin of 6,732 votes or 68%.
In Marion, a levy was placed on the ballot to help replace a fire station that has been outgrown by the department, modernize another, and place heavy equipment on a replacement cycle. The levy will generate $1.08 million annually and was passed with 4,155 “Yes” votes and 3,038 “No” votes.
In Oak Harbor, a referendum was held to raise property taxes, supporting the Fire Department’s ability to hire new staff, purchase more equipment, and build a new station.
60%+ supermajority was required for the bonds to pass. The first bond for the levy lid lift passed with just enough votes at 60.86% The levy lid lift will cover operating expenses at a new fire station as well as support replacement of a 24 year old engine and old PPE. The second bond which was a general obligation bond for a fire station and equipment passed with 62.22% voting “Yes”. The Fire Chief states that the department will begin hiring new firefighters in 2023, replacing equipment in 2023-2024, and building its new fire station within two years.
Firefighters and EMS Fund is proud of the work we did this year to support fire and emergency services around the country and looks forward to continued opportunities to work with industry stakeholders in pursuit of fulfilling our shared mission and vision.