Food, Shelter … Water and First Responders

When it comes to the partnership between American Water and first responders, Keeping Life Flowing is a two-way street!

On the American Water side, everything we do ensures a consistent, immediate supply of quality water that is of utmost importance to first responders. This includes tasks such as keeping a strong and efficient infrastructure, ensuring our plants operate smoothly and efficiently,  developing water stewardship and conservation initiatives, and offering educational programs aimed at preventing the misuse of hydrants. But, our role goes beyond only firefighters. Water is essential for first responders of all types—police, emergency rescue teams, EMTs and the like. If you think about it, equipment and stations need to be kept clean and sterile, streets must be washed down after accidents, first responders (including police canine units!) need to remain hydrated especially during extreme weather conditions.  The list goes on and on.

American Water also runs a Firefighter Grant program, which every year distributes $1,000 grants to fire departments and other emergency service organizations in communities in 12 states. To date, we’ve supported more than 1,500 first responder teams with over $1.3 million in funding for supplies, protective gear, equipment upgrades, training and more.

This brings me to the first responders’ role in this two-way relationship. By far, the greatest motivation for our grants and volunteerism comes from our realization of and appreciation for the depth and necessity of what first responders do every day to keep our customers safe, protect our communities and ensure an environment that nurtures our overall well-being. Without first responders doing all they do to prevent emergencies from becoming destructive or even catastrophic, and to keep our people and environments safe, American Water couldn’t do even a small percentage of what we do.

Now, I’ll go back to the title of this blog—the basic needs for life and growth, and the appropriateness of including first responders in this group. Every day, thousands of local heroes provide what we need for life. American Water is grateful for all of them, their courage and the work they do. We’re proud to partner with them.