Since unemployment rate is at its highest volunteer departments could use this as advantage to gain members to help out since they would have time on their hand. The normal general citzen thinks that firefighters go in and put fires out they do not know how the whole fireground scene works.
With my department we are looking at it closely to recruit this way. Is it wrong in some levels maybe but look at big picture. The benefits that come out of it that you can use to gain members such as Paid training, some cases paid uniforms, issue turnout gear, in house training, etc. Only thing you pay for is the membership fee which is $3.00 a year. Which I explain to them that it goes to your pager, turnout gear and equipment that giving to you. Not much which is why many unemployments join. They can meet with people from all occupations that once you become friends with they will help you out in getting a job. Every member from each department will say the same thing "take care of your own."
I tell each person when they join the department that it is an option to go into a burning people, but continue to add in that its fun and great experience and I tell them If you can't do it there nothing to be ashame of there is plenty of jobs to do on a fire scene. I tell them you can be my hydrant guy/gal, put ladders up, drive the truck, pump the truck, man the aerial, be safety officer, manpower pull, drive ambulance, work the air bank, etc. Some join to just drive and do outside stuff which hey that works for me less I have to do to get inside.:D
Its an idea that volunteer departments these day need to do whatever neccessary to keep manpower up to be operational. An idea to try and save whats left of the volunteers before every department would have to have paid personnel which will benefit hopefully the ones with out a job.