Thread: SAFER Ideas?

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    Exclamation SAFER Ideas?

    So it seems that the fire departments in my area, which are 100% volunteer, are aving trouble comming up with ideas for recruiting and retention projects. we are currently spinning up the SAFER grant applications for them but are running low on ideas. So far all they/we have been able to come up with is posters and billboards... anyone have any valuable input that can help on this. Also I've been asked how the reimbursement for wages lost during responding to fires can be implemented. I've read the program guidance and it says that moneys may be used for that, however, my fire departments have no idea how to figure up how much money to ask for on that. Nearest we can figure is to take the run lists from last year, figure up amount of work time lost, and average what people would make per hour... etc... anyone ahve a more streamlined way of figuring this up or are we missing the boat completely?
    Chautauqua County Emergency Manager
    Chautauqua County Deputy Sheriff
    United States Army Infantry Soldier

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    I don't see how reimbursement of lost wages for responding to a call would be practical for a department to implement. You need to focus on the reasons why people are leaving and that will additionally answer your recruitment question. Perhaps they are leaving because of a lack of equipment or issues with the other members.

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    You're on the right track. I was awarded for very similar projects. I kept it simple for wage reimbursement by only applying for reimbursement for funds due to training.

    1. Put the message out there we need more volunteers. (Your posters, billbaords, etc.)

    2. Get the people to join.

    3. Get them training.

    4. Pay them for their lost time due to extensive training hours.

    Show the need by numbers. You'll need to take the time to do a comprehensive survey for a regional effort. I spent 1.5 years preparing for mine, you've got 15 days.

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    Default Recruiting in Torrington

    Our department is 1 of 3 volunteer houses in a career city. We have built a great relationship with our two major newspapers, and when we send out an appeal for members, they are usually very responsive in getting us a news story.

    We also use our local FM, adult contemporary, radio station that covers the county to get our messages out.

    In addition, we utitlize two community television stations and, if we need to, we hit up the 4 major television networks (ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS).

    Our website has also been a useful tool as well as our sign out on the front lawn of our department that overlooks a major state highway.

    We just re-introduced our Cadet program. Not only are we starting to get numbers, but these students couldn't be more motivated. They actually show up to calls more than some of our firefighters. The downside is they're limited by the Labor Department. We can't wait to send them to FF1 in the Fall when they turn 18 and get them in the active ranks.

    Try those avenues. I don't use billboards or paid advertising if I don't have to. We're on a tight budget as most departments are.

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    Default Recruitment and retention

    Im by no means an expert on this but try looking back to what caught your attention and took you to the fire department in the first place. I came from a larger city paid department to a smaller rural department after moving to SC. The membership was dwindling and calls were not being responded to. I had to figure out a way to change this. I was quickly disturbed by the lack of professionalism my new department had. Everything was on the good ole boy system and there was really no command structure. In an effort to feel better about my department I had to find that lacking professionalism. My team seemed to have an empty pride but no real bragging rights to speak of. We implemented a dress code. No more jumping out of the truck in cut off jean shorts and t-shirts that read "Save a fire truck, ride a fireman". Your in a truck, have your gear on. You should be ready when you exit the truck. The trucks and station were cleaned regularly and still are. People see professional looking and acting firefighters in the community and want to be that. Now I have a roster of almost 40 with most of them regularly active. Training classes at the academy help too. Put your guys around others in the biz. Train. Make your guys feel elite. They will develop the pride in ownership. When people see your crew looking strong and proud they will want to be belong. They will want to serve alongside those that maintain that ownership. Your biggest tool is the staff you have now. Like I said I am no expert but this has helped me when I was where you are now. This IS something you can overcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChautauquaEM View Post
    So it seems that the fire departments in my area, which are 100% volunteer, are aving trouble comming up with ideas for recruiting and retention projects. we are currently spinning up the SAFER grant applications for them but are running low on ideas. So far all they/we have been able to come up with is posters and billboards... anyone have any valuable input that can help on this. Also I've been asked how the reimbursement for wages lost during responding to fires can be implemented. I've read the program guidance and it says that moneys may be used for that, however, my fire departments have no idea how to figure up how much money to ask for on that. Nearest we can figure is to take the run lists from last year, figure up amount of work time lost, and average what people would make per hour... etc... anyone ahve a more streamlined way of figuring this up or are we missing the boat completely?
    The President's Points of Light Program places a volunteer firefighters time at $18.50 per hour. That is probably more than a lot of your guys are making at their fulltime jobs but, it is a good average figure to use. Be careful to limit yourselves with a cap on total spending and remember to figure out where that money will come from out of your own budget when the project ends.
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Quote Originally Posted by CFosterling View Post
    Im by no means an expert on this but try looking back to what caught your attention and took you to the fire department in the first place. I came from a larger city paid department to a smaller rural department after moving to SC. The membership was dwindling and calls were not being responded to. I had to figure out a way to change this. I was quickly disturbed by the lack of professionalism my new department had. Everything was on the good ole boy system and there was really no command structure. In an effort to feel better about my department I had to find that lacking professionalism. My team seemed to have an empty pride but no real bragging rights to speak of. We implemented a dress code. No more jumping out of the truck in cut off jean shorts and t-shirts that read "Save a fire truck, ride a fireman". Your in a truck, have your gear on. You should be ready when you exit the truck. The trucks and station were cleaned regularly and still are. People see professional looking and acting firefighters in the community and want to be that. Now I have a roster of almost 40 with most of them regularly active. Training classes at the academy help too. Put your guys around others in the biz. Train. Make your guys feel elite. They will develop the pride in ownership. When people see your crew looking strong and proud they will want to be belong. They will want to serve alongside those that maintain that ownership. Your biggest tool is the staff you have now. Like I said I am no expert but this has helped me when I was where you are now. This IS something you can overcome.
    Spoken like a former military veteran NCO also.. I would be willing to bet. Great commenatry!
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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