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Thread: Incentives for members to show up ideas.

  1. #1
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    Default Incentives for members to show up ideas.

    I've been an LT. at my VFD for a bit, and when i first became and officer one of my first personal agendas was to improve the quality of our trainings. To make a long story short, the members wanted more and better training so I offered it and we trained. Well recently activity has dropped back off again. So here i am with a few ideas i was wondering about. Get some veteran officers opinions on if these ideas are sound, or if they would cause more problems then they're worth. (one of the most important things i have learned is to ask veterans first, don't learn the hard way, learn the smart way.)

    Oh and this is for firefighters only, we all know why we allowed ourselves to become officers , besides most of this stuff officers have access to anyways, this kinda gives members a look into the officer world, without having to put on the red or white hat (there's a good incentive to start with lol)

    1. Give out commendations of a sort. And armband, or some sort of identifier on either their turnout gear or helmet (still trying to figure out a good way to display this) that not only let's them show off there training, but also let's an officer now on scene what they have and haven't been trained to do

    2. At the end of the year Christmas dinner we could recognize those members that have shown up to the most meetings, the most training hours, those that have been tagged for structure fire fighting (we call it red tagging) and whatnot. Along with the recognition comes a gift card to a popular fire store or catalog (not only do they get recognized, but they also get something for it that helps them on scene)

    3. Any firefighter who receives a recognition of some sort get's treated to a movie or putt putt golf, by the fire department as a group. The officers take them all to the movie one night or something along those lines

    4. Mandatory trainings. (my least favorite) in order to keep your status as a member you have to make 2 out of the 6 mandatory trainings we offer. (i really hate this idea because of the volunteer in front of our name)

    5. access to training schools paid by the department at a certain level of in house training. If you want to go to the flash over simulator then you need to have done certain in house trainings. If you want to go to the live burn house, then you need to have done certain in house trainings.

    these are the ideas i'm going to present to the next board meeting, but i would like some input before i do. It's difficult for me to find the line between favoritism and incentives. I hate to say "well you did a good job so here's a treat" and then this ostracizes members. I want to be fair, but i also want there to be a genuine interest for them to do better. Yea helping the fire department should be the only incentive we would ever need, but we all know how that slippery slope works.

    So please, good or bad criticism i can take it, after all, if you can't, why in the world are you a member of a fire department?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marseyus View Post
    I've been an LT. at my VFD for a bit, and when i first became and officer one of my first personal agendas was to improve the quality of our trainings. To make a long story short, the members wanted more and better training so I offered it and we trained. Well recently activity has dropped back off again. So here i am with a few ideas i was wondering about. Get some veteran officers opinions on if these ideas are sound, or if they would cause more problems then they're worth. (one of the most important things i have learned is to ask veterans first, don't learn the hard way, learn the smart way.)

    Oh and this is for firefighters only, we all know why we allowed ourselves to become officers , besides most of this stuff officers have access to anyways, this kinda gives members a look into the officer world, without having to put on the red or white hat (there's a good incentive to start with lol)

    1. Give out commendations of a sort. And armband, or some sort of identifier on either their turnout gear or helmet (still trying to figure out a good way to display this) that not only let's them show off there training, but also let's an officer now on scene what they have and haven't been trained to do

    Not sure about that but there should be some tyope of identifier on the helmet regarding a member's level of training.

    In the rear of our training room we have a large board that displays what members have acheived what certifications - fire, EMS and NIMS. It works as an excellent motivator. Another idea would be have a board that lists the names of mebers that have made specificed training percentages (50%, 75%, 100% as examples) over the past months as a motivational tool and a visual reward to that have acheived high percentages. I have also seen departments award pins that members can put on thier duty jackets or uniform shirts if they have acheived a high level of training over a specified period.


    2. At the end of the year Christmas dinner we could recognize those members that have shown up to the most meetings, the most training hours, those that have been tagged for structure fire fighting (we call it red tagging) and whatnot. Along with the recognition comes a gift card to a popular fire store or catalog (not only do they get recognized, but they also get something for it that helps them on scene)

    Excellent idea. Not only does it give those a tangibile reward but it also publicaly acknowledges thier efforts.

    3. Any firefighter who receives a recognition of some sort get's treated to a movie or putt putt golf, by the fire department as a group. The officers take them all to the movie one night or something along those lines

    Again providing them with something tangible may increase a member's motivation to attend training.

    4. Mandatory trainings. (my least favorite) in order to keep your status as a member you have to make 2 out of the 6 mandatory trainings we offer. (i really hate this idea because of the volunteer in front of our name)

    I fully beleive in mandatory trainings. My previous VFD required 75% for all members, and 80% for officers as well as for firefighters that wished to maintain interior status, which IMO, is not unreasonable. My current combo department only requires 25% of volunteer personnel which I feel is way too low. My current VFD has increased thier standard to about 50%, which is better than what it was, but IMO, again, falls short of where we should be.

    5. access to training schools paid by the department at a certain level of in house training. If you want to go to the flash over simulator then you need to have done certain in house trainings. If you want to go to the live burn house, then you need to have done certain in house trainings.

    Yes, yes and yes. Obviously this depends on your training budget and the cost of training in your state. In the case of my combo department, we are lucky enough to be able to send our volunteers to outside trainings on a pretty regular basis. This is in part due to our oroximity to TX where training is much cheaper than here in LA, especially for things like vehicle extrication and technical rescue.

    And yes, that needs to be tied to in-house training participation.


    these are the ideas i'm going to present to the next board meeting, but i would like some input before i do. It's difficult for me to find the line between favoritism and incentives. I hate to say "well you did a good job so here's a treat" and then this ostracizes members. I want to be fair, but i also want there to be a genuine interest for them to do better. Yea helping the fire department should be the only incentive we would ever need, but we all know how that slippery slope works.

    So please, good or bad criticism i can take it, after all, if you can't, why in the world are you a member of a fire department?
    They all sound like very good and very reasonable ideas, and many of them do coincide with Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs, which does drive member motivation and participation. The cost for much of this is not unreasonable.

    Obviously, mandatory training will be an issue as it will likely cause some members to be dismissed if it is enforced. There will be those that will oppose that. Be prepared with answers as to why you feel that is important including safety, liability and department performance.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    We have issues with members not participating aswell, but we need the guys. I'm going to take what you have and form more ideas from it, If i come up with something, I'll contact you!
    Firefighter 1/ PA EMT-B

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    its sad this issue arrises, but it happens. sounds like a bunch of members who are there for the t shirt and comepensation (if any). but the ideas seem good, good luck .

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    Great ideas all. Really give consideration to some type of public recognition. Newpaper coverage, maybe something for your volunteer to get at his primary place of employment by his/her boss in front of co-workers, a photo up at the local department store. It's one thing to get a "good job" from your brothers and sisters at the firehouse, and quite another when you get it from your neighbors an community, or their spouse and children hear congrats on their firefighter parent at school and work.

    Don't forget spouses. Maybe consider a gift card for a dinner for two for your volunteer and their spouse or significant other. There is a reason the saying "If mama ain't happy - no one is happy" was born. REALLY work the spouses and children into it so they know why mom/dad gives their time, and that time is appriciated and valued, and makes a difference.

    Don't sweat the favoritism! Cream rises to the top. Sometime the dead weight has to be cut for the ship to sail. Make it fair, give everyone an opportunity, and make no excuses. Good luck and I tip my hat to you for what you are trying to do. Volunteers are the true heroes!!

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    I think all of your ideas are excellent. We have recently started several of your ideas into our dept. Awards at the end of the year at our annual dinner. I am in the process of soliciting local and other business for some donations to support what we are going to call our Training in excellent award. This will be given each month to one member that either works the hardest or does that best at whatever evolution we are doing that month, may be a timed event. The prizes might range from a give certificate to a local restaurant, or maybe something the department buys for the member to purchase some gear etc. We are also going to run a press release in our local paper giving that member more recognition.

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    Get a SAFER grant. We just gone one 15 times our annual budget, part of which will be used to fund an AD&D/sickness insurance policy, at no cost to the firefighters. The majority if going to tuition assistance (any kind of college level classes - basketweaving for all I care) and for a stipend for attendance at training and calls, based on their level of training. Basic firefighter, $5.00, Engineer 7.50, FFi&II 10.00. similiar for medical.
    If you don't meet an acceptable attendence mark, then you are not eligible for any of it.

    This is our second SAFER, and the firefighters LOVE it.
    islandfire03 likes this.

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    i like the ideas you have come up with, at my vfd, we have about 30 guys and only 5-8 can be counted on to respond. most guys only respond to actual structure fires. i especially like the idea of having something to distinguish what you have been trained or not trained on. i, personally am a very competitve person and like to be the very best. a lot of the guys on my department are the same way, they just choose not to show up for ems calls and non-working fire calls. i take pride in the time and effort i give forth to my department and to my training so having something to distinguish myself and the other go getters like me, is something that i would like my department to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    Get a SAFER grant. We just gone one 15 times our annual budget, part of which will be used to fund an AD&D/sickness insurance policy, at no cost to the firefighters. The majority if going to tuition assistance (any kind of college level classes - basketweaving for all I care) and for a stipend for attendance at training and calls, based on their level of training. Basic firefighter, $5.00, Engineer 7.50, FFi&II 10.00. similiar for medical.
    If you don't meet an acceptable attendence mark, then you are not eligible for any of it.

    This is our second SAFER, and the firefighters LOVE it.
    I have been succesfull with the AFG and have considered a SAFER grant. If you would not mind I would love to see a narrative from one of yours. You can email it to movillevfd@wiatel.net Thanks!!

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