1. #1
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    Default Recruiting Programs?

    I am the Emergency manager for a county that has less than 5,000 people i nit and 7 volunteer fire departments. One of the most serious problems that we have in our county is that our departments are severely understaffed. i have asked the fire chiefs about what kind of recruiting they are doing and gotten a ton of blank deer in the headlight stares. If anyone has some good ideas for me for recruiting programs i could really use some help inthis department. Thanks.
    Chautauqua County Emergency Manager
    Chautauqua County Deputy Sheriff
    United States Army Infantry Soldier

  2. #2
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    I would suggest a junior firefighter program. Catch them early and get them interested.

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    I wish the departments around me had that problem !

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    Default Get Cadets Going

    I agree, our Cadet program has received about 7 teens involved. They seem to be more motivated and show up to more calls than some of our firefighters are. In the fall some will turn 18 and will be enrolling in FF1. Best thing we did.

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    Do they have a tiered membership system?
    Interior Firefighter
    Exterior Firefighter
    Junior Firefighter
    Support Member
    Adminisrtrative Members - Mechanics, Office, PubEd etc.

    One mistake we make as a fire servicve is often rejecting those who don't want to go interior. Non-Interior members can drive and pump trucks, throw ladders, handle water supply and the like freeing up interior qualified personnel to ... go interior.

    Support members can free up non-interior members by changing bottles, getting tools etc.

    Juniors, as mentioned before, are an excellent way to train for the future as long as tight controls are in place.

    Admin members can free up the burden on the firefighting staff by handling routine station business such as filing and record-keeping, assisting or even leading public education, public relations, fund raising or any other related function.

    Another way to boost manpower is to cross-respond. basically that means if Joe Fireman lives in town X but works in town Y 20 miles away, allow him to respond with town Y while he is at work if his employer allows. Assuming the same can happen if Bruce Fireman lives in Town Y but works in X, he can respond with them.

    In terms of a recruiting effort, just remember that arecruiting drive is nothing more than an advertising campaign, so just follow some advertising basics ..

    Keep your message short.
    Expose them to your message often.
    Put your message where they will see it.
    They will only read the same message for a short time.

    Pick 2 or 3 times a year to recruit. Keep the recruiting advertising period to about 2 weeks. Hit them hard - yard signs, posters at local shops and resturants, ads or articles in the local papers, flyers, handouts, recruiting/informational tables at local stores during high-traffic times, small signs in the rear window of members cars that folks can read while sitting behind them at a light or read while following them.

    Remember the key here is a short repeated message they can read in 5-6 seconds .. or about 10-12 words and they need to read it OFTEN. Repition is the key ..... the more they read it .. along the highway going to work, walking into the grocery store or lunch spot, seeing it in the local paper, reading it on the way home from work ... the more likely they are to think about it and potentially act on it. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

    Advertise in all the areas that potential members could come from. Appeal to differnt groups with a specific message such as the "team" or physical aspects to athlethes, the semi-military structure to ex-military; the social aspects to seniors who may be interested in assisting around the station, job "experience" to high schoolers; Pubed working in the schools to retired teachers etc.

    Don't forget the handicapped for station functions

    After 2 weeks take everything down.

    Have a plan in place to deal right away with the new members. Most will lose interest if you make them wait 2 or 3 months before they start doing something.

    Recruiting is hard work. Recruiting takes commitment and a little bit of money. But if done right, it pays off.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 07-05-2008 at 02:03 PM.

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