One thing that did work for my fire company was we invited the local senoir football players from the local high school to our annual banquet. It actually worked the first time we tried. During my introductions of guests I introduced the football players and told them that some of them may have been recruited by college coachs. I informed them that I was trying to recruit them to join another team.. Our firefighting team. Two players actually asked for applications that night. However, the next year we tried and not one showed up....
Keep trying!!! I know I am!!
We have a "Firemans Picnic" each July. And one of the things that we do during it, is talk to anyone who seems able to do the work, to see if they would like to come to a training meeting to see what we really do. This has worked well for us in the past, but we are a very small dept. We are a volunteer fire district with 13 people on the roster as of today. With myself being the only female. 4 of our guys are over 60 years old, with one in his 70's. We live in a small area comprised of 2 townships with about 250 registered voters in each, and cover about 100 square miles with a 3500 acre lake inside it. Thank-goodness for low call volume. Our main problem is it's turning into a "retirement community". So we don't know where we will be drawing from in the future. The younger ones are having to leave the area to find jobs. And most of our business owners are either on the dept. or "too busy" to help. I own a bar & motel and have no problem with closing my doors when my pager goes off.We only have three FF in town on any given weekday, if we're lucky. We rely alot on mutual-aid from the surrounding towns who are in the same boat. Also, I'm the only EMT in the area during the day too!
People Helping People
Greetings to all.
I live in one of the fastest growing communities in the State of Washington, and for us the recruitment and retention of our volunteers has become more difficult over the past 10 years.
When I began in the fire service over 15 years ago, I was approached by the fire department and was asked if I wanted to be a member. I was thrilled, for at that time, that was the only way that you would become a member of the elite.
But as for today, my city has grown in population to over 6,000 and finding volunteers is not easy.
We usually have an advertisement in our local newspaper once a year informing the community that we are going to be holding a recruit class in the fall. Any interested person needs to then come to the main station and pick up an application. we then hold an orientation session to introduce these interested persons into the requirements and commitments of the fire service. This is followed by a physical agility test and then an oral interview. Depending on how many spots we have available, they are filled by the best of these.
I hope this helps in your smaller communities. Don not give up!
Captain Dean C. Olsen
Erie County (Buffalo NY) hired a recruitment and retention specialist: me.
I've consulted with the county for 9 years and in 1990 helped them recruit 500+ volunteers. Now it's time to do a major campaign again.
Our focus this time will be on the development of local recruitment tool kits supported by a mass media and web campaign.
One unique element of the program is the development of a Citizens Fire/Rescue/EMS Academy which will educate the participants on fire and life safety issues, offer a hands-on taste of the fire service and offer the host department(s) with a captive audience from which to "test drive" and draw new recruits.
If you're interested in taking a look at our program or other ideas - I offer the first phone/fax/e-amil consult for FREE.
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