1. #1
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    Post West Virginia -Looking for a few good......

    Sign seen in front of firehouses across the country: "Volunteers Needed!"

    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - Volunteer firefighters are becoming
    harder to recruit and retain.
    The problem is especially serious in West Virginia, since 419 of
    the state's 448 fire departments are manned by volunteers. Only 13
    of the state's fire departments are staffed by paid firefighters.
    The rest are staffed with a mix of paid professionals and
    volunteers.
    "If we can't recruit more volunteers and keep the ones we have,
    we are in a heap of trouble," said Joe Bostar of Barboursville,
    who chairs the fire commission.
    On Sunday, members of a West Virginia Legislature subcommittee
    discussed conducting a study to develop ways to combat the problem
    and get more men and women to join local fire departments.
    "It's a severe problem both here and around the nation,"
    Bostar said. "It's been growing over the past 10 years, but now it
    seems to be snowballing."
    Many people shy away from the job because it is not only
    difficult, it's dangerous, Bostar said.
    Firefighters can get seriously injured or killed while on the
    job. While fire departments have workers' compensation to cover
    on-the-job accidents, injuries may prevent volunteer firefighters
    from going back to their regular job. For people with spouses,
    children and mortgages, it's a big risk.
    "It's hard to get people to do one of the hardest professions
    in the world and do it for nothing," said Arnett "Sonny" Corley,
    administrative assistant to the State Fire Marshal.
    In the age of double-income families and mandatory overtime, its
    simply too hard for some people to find the time to volunteer, he
    said. Between work, school and carting kids to soccer practice,
    youth group and doctors appointments, families cannot find enough
    time to eat together, let alone have one of the parents out
    volunteering several hours a week at the local fire department.
    "It's a problem of the times," said Huntington Fire Chief Greg
    Fuller who started his career as a volunteer in Ohio. "Fewer
    people have the willingness or the time to get involved."
    But beyond the time and money issue, many rural areas simply do
    not have a large pool to recruit volunteers. West Virginia has the
    oldest median age in the nation. Most of the state's rural areas
    are populated with older people and retirees.
    "Young people are leaving to find jobs," Bostar said.
    "Volunteer firefighters need jobs, too."
    Volunteer firefighters said there are small things the state
    could do to compensate them. They could get reduced-cost license
    plates, a small pension after a certain number of years of service,
    credits at state parks or college credits for mandatory training
    classes.
    Others would like to see the state or federal government
    implement a program similar to the National Guard, where volunteers
    would get paid when they train and when they get called out for
    duty.
    "I think somewhere down the line that will happen," Corley
    said. "It's worked well so far with the National Guard, why can't
    it work for firefighters?"
    ---
    On the Net:
    West Virginia Fire Marshal's Web site at www.wvfiremarshal.org

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: West Virginia -Looking for a few good......

    Originally posted by NJFFS_A16
    Sign seen in front of firehouses across the country: "Volunteers Needed!"



    Others would like to see the state or federal government
    implement a program similar to the National Guard, where volunteers
    would get paid when they train and when they get called out for
    duty.
    "I think somewhere down the line that will happen," Corley
    said. "It's worked well so far with the National Guard, why can't
    it work for firefighters?"
    ---
    Wouldnt that be nice!
    Steve
    Proud member of the IACOJ
    SUA SPONTE
    "I've got no respect for any young man who won't join the colors."
    ~Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, CSA

  3. #3
    55 Years & Still Rolling
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    Default It's a sign of the times

    We have one of those signs in front of our station and it works. A few times a month someone will come in and inquire about volunteering, but, we have found that the most effective method of recruiting is knocking on doors. People seem to take you seriously when you are standing on their doorstep. Another good means of reaching a lot of people is a booth at the county fair. One fire company had a big sign made to hang on the side of the pumper and parked it in highly visible locations, including the parking lot of the high school for all home games and events. Try these, and other ideas, and people will show up. I would encourage readers of this thread to post their ideas on recruitment, you may have just the idea that will work for someone else. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  4. #4
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    Default

    I don't think I agree with a compensation system similiar to the National Guard.

    I do agree with small pension programs. In Oklahoma, you can organize your department as municipal, tax district, or non-profit charitable. Only the non-profit charitable departments do not qualify for the pension. Unfortunately, most of the volunteer fire departments in Oklahoma fall into that category.

    I much rather see a nice tax credit (say $1500 to $3000 a year) for being a volunteer firefighter and meeting minimum requirements. It costs me a lot in both time and money to be a volunteer, and we aren't that busy at all.

    As for recruited ideas, the most effective thing we've done to date is have a four-color brochure printed that told about our fire department, what we've done since we formed six years ago, and where we're plan to go in the future. Included was information on the different types of positions we have a need for (drivers, firefighters, dispatchers, first responders) and the explanation that the fire department provides required training, often at the fire station.

    What has made this work, I believe, is that we took the time to pass them out door-to-door rather than just mialing them.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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