IAFC's Volunteer and Combination Officers Section

Timothy S. Wall discusses assistance and educational opportunities to enhance your retention and recruiting efforts.


The Volunteer & Combination Officers Section (VCOS) of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is dedicated to helping chief fire officers who manage volunteers within a volunteer or combination fire, rescue or EMS department. Our mission is to provide these chief officers with...


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The Volunteer & Combination Officers Section (VCOS) of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is dedicated to helping chief fire officers who manage volunteers within a volunteer or combination fire, rescue or EMS department. Our mission is to provide these chief officers with information, education, services and representation to enhance their professionalism. Today, it is more important then ever to be a part of this leadership organization. VCOS provides several avenues to obtain information, training, networking and assistance to today's fire service.

The VCOS board of directors consists of 10 members who are elected by members of the section. Each board member serves a three-year term. The board has quarterly business meetings at different locations throughout the U.S. Two board meetings are asked to be hosted by a fire department or fire association. The board meetings are held at different locations to let members interface with fire departments across the country. This is a two-fold approach. We develop interaction with other chief officers who face critical issues and concerns such as recruitment and retention.

We encourage active chief officers to get involved with VCOS in part by becoming members. The section offers two forms of membership, full and affiliated. Applications for membership can be obtained by visiting the VCOS website, www.vcos.org. You must hold the rank of an active chief officer and be a member of the IAFC.

Whether individuals are knocking on your door to volunteer, or not, you need to have a strategic plan in place for recruitment and retention. Look into your own department needs for membership and what type of members you would like to recruit for your agency.

One of the problems with recruitment and retention is that there is no plan in place to receive members. It is beneficial and professional to have a program in place so that when you are looking for people to help there is a way to explain to them their requirements and your department's requirements. When you are ready to strategically plan your recruitment and retention plan, there are several different avenues in which to obtain information.

VCOS SYMPOSIUM

One such avenue is the VCOS "Symposium in the Sun." This year's program is the seventh annual Educational Symposium sponsored by the IAFC. The Symposium in the Sun will take place Nov. 10-13, 2005, at the Sheraton Sand Key in Clearwater Beach, FL. This is a national program for leaders who manage volunteers in a volunteer and combination department.

The four-day educational conference features a pre-conference workshop, "Mastering Leadership," on Thursday, followed by conference sessions on Friday from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M., Saturday from 8 A.M. to 1 P.M. and Sunday from 8 to 11 A.M.

This year's conference sessions include "ISO, Friend or Foe?," "Changes That Will Rock Your World," "Leading the Combination Department: The Search for the Holy Grail," "Cultural Combat Tactics: Addressing Safety Culture in Your Organization," "What Do They See When They See You Coming?," "Integrity Pursued," "Industrial Strength Additive: Partnering With Industry to Enhance Emergency Services," "The Fire Corps: What Does It Mean to You?," "Fire Department Leadership: A Key to Your Future," "What the Chief Executive Expects of His/Her Fire Chief," "Firefighter Injury/LODD Prevention Update" and "The Fire Service: Past, Present and Future."

We focus on the opportunity to enhance your education by offering top-notch speakers and presenters with topics that affect us in our day-in, day-out duties as chief officers. This is geared toward TEAM building:

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21st CENTURY LEADERSHIP COURSE

Another venue for information on help with recruitment and retention is the "21st Century Leadership Course." This educational class will give you the knowledge and skills to bring your department forward into the 21st century. This course covers such vital topics as:

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