1. #1
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    Default Retention Survey

    Wondering if anybody has any samples or information about a Recruit and Retention questionnaire/survey?

    I am participating in a Recruitment and Retention in my fire department. The department is a mixed department with volunteer and paid.

    We are developing a questionnaire/survey to hand out to all firefighters within the department to determine their level of morale, why they joined, what makes them stay, if they thought about leaving, what made them think about leaving, etc. As we don't have anybody within our group with marketing backgrounds or have retention experience, I would like to see if anybody here has any information or examples of whet they may have used.

    Thanks for your help.
    Stephen

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    I don't have a survey or scientific data to back this up, I can only speak for volunteers, and I may be going out on a limb here, but ...

    The biggest reasons for volunteer firemen to stop volunteering are:

    TIME
    and
    Automatic Alarms

    I know of a volunteer department who's annual carnival - 4 consecutive Saturdays and Sundays - 4 consecutive weekends away from their homes and families - ended up with a net profit of a whopping ...

    $49.37
    ... and I'm not exaggerating.

    Think those weekends were time well spent?

    Stay Safe

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    What do you mean by "Automatic Alarms"?

    I have been a firefighter for 2 years and don't know all the terms, so Automatic Alarms is new to me.

    Thanks
    Stephen

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    Automatic alarms are simply smoke/heat detectors that, when set off, send a signal to an alarm company. The alarm company then contacts the appropriate dispatch center to dispatch the appropriate fire apparatus. For us, commercial businesses are the biggest annoyance. Anything can and will set these things off - dust, spiders, cobwebs - sometimes there is no reason at all. They make up a tremendous percentage of calls, and get real old, real quick. The thing is, you have to treat each one as a working incident until you confirm that it is not - even though a ridiculously low percentage of them are nothing.

    Stay Safe

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    Default AUTOMATIC ALARMS

    I am not sure if this is what PA was referring to, but in my district we have only a couple of commercial buildings. There is one which is a "B&B Resort" that has an auto alarm system built into it.

    They regularly experience faults in the system and as a result, we get paged out to an "Automatic Fire Alarm", which usually by the time the first person gets to the station, the B&B and the alarm company have called to Dispatch to say that it was a "falsey". We always roll a truck anyway, cuz ya never know for sure until you go look. We get an average of 3 - 6 calls to this place per year, usually due to excessive heat from the sun (one sensor is located in the top of a steeple dorm) or high humidity.

    To answer your basic question, SLMC a couple reasons that volly's quit is as said by PA, time to devote to the station becomes less and around my neck of the woods, you can add on change in family priorities and occassionally guys just burn out too. They've seen nd done too much, and its time to move on.
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    Surf your way over to

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...bject_code=318

    and scroll down to "Recruitment and Retention in the Volunteer Fire Service: Final Report", a free book from the USFA. Lots of good tips in it; I haven't quite read it all yet.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
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    The "Recruitment and Retention in the Volunteer Fire Service: Final Report" is coming.

    They don't have it where you can download it, so I ordered it and hopefully it will get here soon.

    Thanks

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    27, you got any vacancies on your dept? I wanna swap We've got one huge processing complex that is fully alarmed throughout. It's not unusual to go there four or five times in a night, with the alarm being in a different section every time. Over the course of the night you see the numbers of firefighters responding dropping off steadily at each successive alarm.
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

    ...and before you ask - YES I have done a Bloody SEARCH!

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    Unhappy Wow...3 - 6 Alarms a year..........

    Yes, Automatic alarms are everywhere, so are gas leaks, and the biggie, the AMBULANCE!!!! Standard practice in this area is that the Fire Departments do all EMS things too. This single item has driven away more people than all the others put together. I would have to admit that we have people come on board, then leave again in a short time. We are busy,(Verrrry busy by most standards, see www.gdvfd18.com) but most of our members like it that way. I personally responded to over 1,100 runs last year and I'll beat that this year. (I'd go nuts only doing a call or two a week) But the complaints about the ambulance stand above the rest of the things by a wide margin. Most of our members have no problem with providing emergency care, they just do not want to be tied up with transport responsibilities. Many of our calls are not true emergencies, just someone who wants a ride to a medical facility. I had a "patient" a few years ago who we took into the ER, and when we were leaving to return to quarters, found him walking down the street a block away. A gentleman in the area of our station used to drink a bit too much and fall down. At least a call a week ended up being him laying on the sidewalk, we'd turn him over to the cops, they'd take him home, and all too soon, we'd do it all over again. As has been pointed out all too often, EMS is the last 3 letters in problems. Stay Safe....
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    Originally posted by PA Volunteer


    I know of a volunteer department who's annual carnival - 4 consecutive Saturdays and Sundays - 4 consecutive weekends away from their homes and families - ended up with a net profit of a whopping ...

    $49.37
    ... and I'm not exaggerating.

    Think those weekends were time well spent?

    In my opinion, this is the biggest problem facing recruitment and retention in the volunteer fire service: endless fundraising. My department has had 5 fund raising events this year. I get so tired of begging for money. Our cops and roads departments don't have fund raisers, why do we have to? You never see full-time departments having pancake breakfasts and feather parties to get equipment for their members. There's gotta be a better way...
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Originally posted by WTFD10
    You never see full-time departments having pancake breakfasts and feather parties to get equipment for their members.
    I'm not quite sure what a feather party is ... but it sounds like a heck of a fund raiser!!!

    So, what exactly is a feather party?

    Stay Safe

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    Default Inward look

    All good information. I agree with most posts here, particularly the time that is spent "begging" and "raising money". It is demeaning and inconsistent with operating a necessary emergency service.

    I would also like to add just one item that directly affects retention particularly; poor or ineffective leadership. Those who are put in positions of importance leading our fire companies/departments, should be the best qualified to do the job. And not just the part where we get to "play" incident commander. The part of the job where most of our leaders fail, is dealing with people: members as well as the public and political figures. A poor leader will do more to tank a good fire company than any other reason I have seen.
    Last edited by glowpop; 11-08-2002 at 10:20 AM.

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    Thanks for everybody's response.

    As for us:
    1. Our volunteer firefighters don't respond to EMS calls, and thus, we don't become a body transport company. As our station is being overhauled, we are shacking up with the EMS squad, so I hear about and see their jobs when they respond to the same people over and over and over just so someone can get to the hospital (not necessarily an emergency)
    2. We don't have to fundraise, as we are a combo department and are fully (over) funded.

    Currently, we are building a survey to give to our memebers about their experiences, but I think the major areas where we have to work are:
    Leadership
    Time commitment
    Conflicts getting personal
    Lack of a feeling of a team
    Lack of recognition of individual efforts

    Also, the town is a semi-affluent area, thus, when we recruit a young member who lives with their parents, eventually they will move out and, as they are starting their careers, can't afford to live in the town, and thus, end up moving away.

    Thanks for everybody's help.

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    Originally posted by PA Volunteer
    So, what exactly is a feather party?
    Yeah, what the heck is a feather party?
    IACOJ Agitator
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    Originally posted by PA Volunteer

    I'm not quite sure what a feather party is ... but it sounds like a heck of a fund raiser!!!

    So, what exactly is a feather party?

    Believe me it's not as fun as it sounds...

    A Feather Party is held around Thanksgiving and involves raffeling off frozen turkeys and other prizes.

    Alot of vollie departments around here have them, must be an Ohio thing.

    Ours is coming up soon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be scheduled to work second or third shift at my full time job those two nights. It would break my heart to miss it
    Last edited by WTFD10; 11-08-2002 at 12:38 PM.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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