Thread: Hook 'em when they're young
08-10-1999, 01:28 PM #1Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
Hook 'em when they're young
For years, we've targeted our public recruiting mostly at "senior" members (age 18 and over), with limited success. More recently, the local school district has begun to invite the volunteer fire companies in the district to its community awaredness day to recruit junior firefighters (ages 14 to 17), but results have been limited all around.
We've been kicking a different idea around for about a month, and I'm interested to hear some opinions on it:
One member's girlfriend made the point that kids seem most fascinated by fire trucks and such before they get to high school. So, her idea was to get together a pre-junior program (we can't sign up juniors until they are 14 by state law), where we'd set up a series of 6 or 7 two-hour, once-a-month programs during the school year, designed for kids 10-13, that would give them exposure to the fire service and educate them on safety and first aid (in conjunction with our regional EMS squad).
We can't really give them hands-on of any kind, take them out on apparatus, or anything like that, but we could do demos around the station, give them some simple insight into what goes on in the fire service and why we enjoy it, and things like that. Ideally, we spark their interest and get some juniors out of the deal (when they turn 14, of course). We also are considering ways we could involve the parents of kids who participate, and maybe hook a few of them along the way.
What do you think? Does anyone have experience with such a program? Any ideas on specific things we could do to pull this off (other than legal...we'll take care of that through our lawyer)?
Lt. Bob Snyder
FFC#2, Mohnton, PA
08-11-1999, 10:33 AM #2TigerFirehouse.com Guest
We are putting together a Citizens Fire/Rescue/EMS Academy. It's a two-part program that first teaches the students things they can do for themselves to make their community a safer place to live, work and play.
The second part gives them a hands-on introduction to the volunteer fire service.
Both parts give the host department a captive audience for identifying and targeting potential recruits.
Many of our 94 departments have BSA Firefighting Explorer Posts. Your program would be a precursor to Exploring. It's an interesting concept.
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08-16-1999, 04:26 PM #3Mike KFirehouse.com Guest
What a great idea Bob Synder!!! We also have been kicking around ideas for recruitment. We even went as far as inviting the local high school football players to our annual banquet. We did get a couple of members from that. We may try to get to the 10-14 year olds, we do sponcor the local cub scouts from our fire station.
Keep on trying Folks!!!! Something good will come out of it...
08-17-1999, 08:36 AM #4Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
Saw your post on the football angle a while ago. I like the idea. Unfortunately, there are six fire companies in our school district, and it would be hard to do anything like that alone without causing serious problems with inter-company relations. That's why the school recruiting is done through the school district, with all six invited.
We have discussed getting some sort of program together in conjunction with the local scout troop or cub pack, too. Sponsoring would be a good idea, if one becomes available...
08-17-1999, 02:48 PM #5docjwtFirehouse.com Guest
Interesting concept and one that my dept. is just now starting to explore more ourselves. One area you might also want to consider is getting in touch with your local churches. Many of them also have youth groups (some formal programs others more informal. Many we've been in touch with have more than welcomed a "visit" or two from our dept. and we've managed to recruit a few new members from the parents of those we've been talking to..
James "Doc" Tarpley
North Tooele County FD
08-19-1999, 05:53 AM #6Chief *Firehouse.com Guest
I have to praise the junior firefighter program. If it were not for this program, our department would not have many of its members. I started when I was 14 years old .I currently am the Fire Chief and have been for the last year and a half. I credit the junior firefighting program to my success.
08-19-1999, 05:00 PM #7bjff/paramedicFirehouse.com Guest
Have you thought about letting some of the younger kids in on a fire prevetion committee? Where I started out, we were very active in fire prevention. Our committee consisted of 4 fire depts. (all very small, rural areas). Our committee held meetings atleast once a month (more when we had events coming up). We also had officers and uniforms to look good. We had a few younger members that were the kids of adult members. At first I was a little weary about a 10 year old teaching fire prevention to other children. But I have found that they can put things into a different perspective for you. They help to bring you down to their level and the other children like seeing someone they know up there giving a demo. It keeps the kids interest and makes them feel important and all of the younger ones have moved on to junior/adult members of their depts. We have done various things such as: Christmas parade, fire prevention day at the school (grades k-12) twice a year, prom night, senior citizens, the local day-cares/nursery schools, and puppet shows and other projects. The younger kids have thrived at these events. If you want more info. feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tully FD/Cortlandville FD,NY
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