Just looking for some feedback from fellow members, full time, voly, part time, doesn't matter at all. My department has let recognizing our member fall to the way side over the last few years, and I am in the process of bringing it back.
How do the rest of you feel about awards, IE; FF of the year, officer of the year, medic/emt of the year, distinguished service, you get the point. My plan is to bring back the annual awards banquet, either at christmas, or the beginning of the new year. My personal feeling is that a little "thank you" and recognition goes along way with morale, although we don't need to be told " good job" for doing just that, our "JOB" it feels nice sometimes, doesn't it?
again I am just looking for some insight from the outside, Maybe I'm just grasping for old school traditions, but isn't that what the fire service preaches?
We have never had a program in the past and I always thought it would be a good idea. Since becoming chief I installed a program this past year. We gave out years of service awards, I really think it was greatly appreciated. I had two members several weeks later tell me thanks for the award. It was nice to here.
Awards are great way to say "thank you." Problem with Firefighter of the Year type awards is it is perceived, or could be if not properly managed, as a popularity contest and you could get the exact opposite of what your intentions are.
Create wider array of awards to recognize those who contribute but not always in the limelight. A "Silent Hero" award, or heck even just a "Thank you" award. Keep a little note book during the year and write little things you notice or see and remember them for your awards. It's the small things people notice and say "thank you" for that goes such a long way.
DON'T FORGET THE SIGNIFICANT OTHER!! Anyone in the profession, be-it volunteer or career, CANNOT do this job without support. No matter if it is a wife, husband, mother, father, brother, etc.. make sure they get a "thank you" to. Maybe a rose for the wife, or a gift certificate to the husband, but I believe recognizing those supporting your members goes a long way and develops the family atmosphere all departments seek.
When you have you ceremony be sure to invite your governmental officials and/or business owners who have helped throughout the year. Maybe they could come up with an award from the community to your members.
Awards can go a long way and the sky is the limit…
These types of awards go a long way in saying thank you especially to your volunteers. However like others have said it is often a popularity contest so you need to set it up in a way that doesn't make it such. For example you could say for FF of the Year and Officer of the year the Top 4-5 responders in each category are put on a secret ballot that is then voted on by the membership. This will help to eliminate some of the popularity issues or you could award these awards to the people in each position based on the total number of calls responded to and total hours committed to the department combined. This takes it out of the memberships hands and is strictly on merit rather than personal feelings. Also like others have said dont forget the people the support your people. They are just as important if not more so.
We do a FF of the year award. We also due service awards for every 5 years of service. We always use the banquet for the time to thank the whole department and their spouse's. We also thank our auxiliary and mutual aid departments. But more important we thank our members after every call,practice or detail. We make sure our members know they are appreciated all though out the year.