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  1. #21
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    Default Recruitment/Retention Plan - Federal Income Tax Credit

    Hello All,

    To address the recruitment/retention problem we're all facing in the USA, I'm attempting to do something that will literally take an act of congress.

    I'm lobbying for a $1,000 federal income tax credit for active volunteer firefighters, a $1,000 tax credit for employers who let their active volunteer firefighter employees leave work to answer alarms/emergencies, and a $2,500 grant/scholarship for active volunteer firefighters.

    As we all know first hand, which has been reported by studies and by the newspapers (USA Today 11/7/05) there is a critical shortage of volunteer firefighters and our numbers our dwindling rapidly. I believe these tax credits will help to recruit and to retain active volunteer firefighters.

    I'm going to need firefighters posting here and to the forums at VFD-Funding.com to support these tax credit initiatives.

    I'm using slogans and some pretty strong lobbying as I'm approaching congress. I'm using things such as: "Homeland Security begins at home" and "Without volunteer firefighters, Homeland Security will go up in smoke".

    For more information and to see what you can do to help me get this done, which should have been done a long time ago, please visit http://VFD-Funding.com

    Please give your support and your input for this, because if congress and the public see that the firefighters want/need this, we've got an excellent chance of getting this done.

    THANX,
    Will Griffin


  2. #22
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    what about the ems workers that volunteer countless hours, i think we could use some kind of grant. actual if I never get one as a volunteer, I will survive. I am doing this because I love it and I am able to tolerate the sites that are roll up on. why not take advantage it. i volunteer about 200 hours a month and never wish to be somewhere other then the station

  3. #23
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    Default Recruitment/Retention Plan - Federal Income Tax Credit

    Quote Originally Posted by 4everirish
    what about the ems workers that volunteer countless hours, i think we could use some kind of grant. actual if I never get one as a volunteer, I will survive. I am doing this because I love it and I am able to tolerate the sites that are roll up on. why not take advantage it. i volunteer about 200 hours a month and never wish to be somewhere other then the station
    Unfortunately, there aren't enough of us, who do it because we like to do it. This is certainly true of younger folks these days.

    And I would agree, if you're volunteering that many extra hours/month, then you should get some kind of tax credit, which should extend to all others then. These are things we need to work out, as we approach congress with this.

    This is why I asked for input, so that we take to congress the best and fairest bill possible. How about posting this also at http://VFD-Funding.com/phpBB so that when we send members of congress, their aides, and folks from the administration to this forum to see how much grassroots support we've got, they get to see this and all of the issues/ideas presented.

  4. #24
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    Being public servants, we should put the community up on a pedistool. But on the same note, be a sore thumb, be a presence on the streets. Train in the community, shut down streets, get in everyone's way but welcome an audience and explain whats going on. Don't go training on some back parking lot where no one sees you. Use hospitality to gain interest. Blow the occasional horn at kids. If nothing else it will increase good public relations.

  5. #25
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    Default Recruitment/Retention Plan - Federal Income Tax Credit

    Quote Originally Posted by nwvfd93
    Being public servants, we should put the community up on a pedistool. But on the same note, be a sore thumb, be a presence on the streets. Train in the community, shut down streets, get in everyone's way but welcome an audience and explain whats going on. Don't go training on some back parking lot where no one sees you. Use hospitality to gain interest. Blow the occasional horn at kids. If nothing else it will increase good public relations.
    I agree with you. There are numerous ways to recruit volunteers. However, you do have to have something to offer. Many companies don't practice good public relations and unfortunately there are some so cliquish that they discourage new members, because they've got threatened egos and they're worried about maintaining their prestige and "turf"...and we all have seen folks like these! We've even seen their fragile and threatened egos manifest inappropriately in something as simple as posting to these forums, where they falsely believe they are anonymous . . . but, so much for the immature and dysfunctional.

    This is why I think the tax credit and grant/scholarship incentives are so important, because it gives new/younger members a means of knowing that someone cares about their joining, their service, and reason to put up with some folk's "bovine feces".

    Will Griffin
    http://VFD-Funding.com

  6. #26
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    i am a volunteer for a combination dept in clear lake, texas. we have always had a problem recruiting and retaining volunteers. you will always get the young guys that want to join, " so they can be a firefighter " but have no real care in learning the trucks, and serving the community. but you have to take them as they come, as with them, you will get some of the younger generation that truly is interested. Our dept has no explorer type program, and does not intend to ever start one. we do paid per call for the volunteers at $2 a call, payed at the end of the year banquet. ( not much at all ) We currently have approximately 29 members, with almost 10 on the probie list trying to join( havent seen that many at once in years ) we have had signs made proffesionally to place throught the community, but as newer homes are being built, the area is becoming more and more " white collar ", in no way am i putting these people down, but usually, they arent very inclined to volunteer time. though some do. our dept is very progressive, always trying new stuff, we train hard, and are very aggresive on fire scenes. all i can really say is, volunteers will come and go, some will stay longer than others ( even though some you may not want to stay ) but keep at it. there will always be someone to volunteer. and as long as you can crew that rig. your doing good.


    www.forestbendfire.com

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by 275fbvfd
    we have had signs made proffesionally to place throught the community, but as newer homes are being built, the area is becoming more and more " white collar ", in no way am i putting these people down, but usually, they arent very inclined to volunteer time. though some do.
    The same thing is happening/has happened to the community where I live-- Purcellville, VA. The funny thing is that I'm one of the white collar folks who moved into the community... (Yes, I will agree-- one of the few who is inclined to volunteer... But that's just the way my parents raised me-- to have a worthwhile community with heart and soul, you need to give a little bit of your own heart and soul.)

    Of all the things that could have been used for recruitment for me (I just became a probie this week), a simple banner hanging by the road titled "Help keep Purcellville Rescue Squad all volunteer" was the most effective. It caught my attention and lead me to meet some folks and learn about what the rescue squad was all about. That lead to where I am today.

    Some of the other things that I found to be positive factors after my initial contact (which helped lead to me becoming a member):

    1. Contact with various members of the squad, done by stopping by the station at a few "random" times to meet different people. (I kind of did this on my own, as I wanted to meet as many folks as possible to see how well I'd fit in with everybody else on the squad.)

    2. The personalities of the folks I met before/during the application process. Every time I stopped by whomever was there was friendly and happy to see someone new who was interested in becoming a member of the squad. The other members were happy to chat-- whether it be about what I could expect as a squad member, or just to shoot the breeze. This was a key factor for me.

    (Notice that both of these are "people" related. No matter what organization you're involved with, or what you're trying to accomplish, I'm a firm believer that genuine warmth, courtesy, and friendliness can work wonders.)

  8. #28
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    Default Volunteer Recruitment

    Recruitment and retention of white collar personnel isn't as much different than for any other demographic. They key is warm greeting, appreciation of their willingness to serve as a volunteer, and seeing where their white collar skills also may be made of good use for the department...and willingness to learn from them too!

    In talking to fire departments and FF/EMS on a daily basis, one of the things I've seen is that there are many, who have taken advantage of the dwindling numbers, recruitment/retention challenges, and have thus used techniques to discourage new members with skills that threaten their turf and newly found management positions within the company. These officers (line & administrative) are then those who will find every excuse why they can't recruit and retain new members (every imagineable form of blame-projections).

    There are many who complain about some of the chiefs being like this, but it is administrative officers as well. The problem with these guys, in addition to threatened/fragile egos, is that they're not trained to be managers and have no experience at this in their regular vocational life. Some may power-thrust on others, because this is how their bosses at work conduct themselves and perhaps there exists a little bit of hostility projection onto others as the result. Some mean well and really don't have the ego issues, but they just don't know how to manage people and their office, because the folks they replaced weren't good role models.

    To recruit, schools are good to get younger members, certainly if the department has a juniors program. Send notices to the local churches that you need volunteers as many of these folks have a tendency to volunteer to help others in the community. For one thing, you'll get volunteers who are serious about the job, rather than just joining a social club, where they can get a cheap beer.

    Also, who is/are the major employer(s) in your area? They may be a good source for new members too, given that their tax contributions to the community (sales, income, property) are a large economic seed for the area and thus they are a fire protection critical target.

    Local newspaper, radio & TV ads (PSAs) are generally underused. The recruitment ads could be used in conjunction with donation solicitations by combining them under a main theme of support the department by either joining or donating. Also define the need for volunteers and for the funding.

    It also helps to have a recruitment plan. This needs to be written very specific and in objective behavior terms such as "recruit 2 new members per month by using this/that method and within these costs", rather than something general like recruit more members.

    I'm finally getting to the point, where I can put more time into a VFD Management Course that I'm working on. Recruitment/retention will be one of the areas that I'll cover, because it is indeed a national problem. This will be a FREE on-line course for all, however, because of volume there will be a registration for a limited number of participants who will get more one on one, message board interaction and chat room classroom type of attention. I've only just started a few modules (working on more tonight), but I'll be able to cover more of this, rather than have long MB/forum posts trying to adequately cover the recruitment/retention and other issues. This will be a pretty extensive curriculum, so it will take me a while to write it.

    To do this, I'm combining my 33 years of VFD experience with my Ed.D, which I've had since 1981. So, I'll have more of this done, certainly per the recruitment/retention issues done in the coming weeks. I'm actually really looking forward to working on this, because I know there isn't anything really out there like it, it really needs to be done, and I really like challenging projects like this.

    Will Griffin
    VFD-Funding.com

  9. #29
    Forum Member KEEPBACK200FEET's Avatar
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    Who's really buying this guy? I mean really?
    Just know, I chose my own fate. I drove by the fork in the road and went straight.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    Go put your pussy 2 1/2" lines away kiddies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer343

    By the way KEEPBACK200FEET, you're so dramatic!

  10. #30
    Forum Member maximumflow's Avatar
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    Thumbs up recrutement / retension / incentives

    I'am responsible for getting new members in my company and enjoy every minute of it! any time I'am in a group of people, at a ball game in town, provide EMS at the high school, wherever, I sell my company!! Who we are as people first , what we have accomplished as firefighters, were we have exceled as a company, the benefits of being a member,and were we want to see our company go. one thing that sets us apart is we are a non drinking ,non smoking and do not deal or tolerate with the political crap that seams to destroy most departments company and it seams to work very well with retention. all our members make 60%, made losap $1150 (the funny thing ,nobody cares about losap) meets every wed for training, continues advanced training on their own. we stress family, brotherhood, profesionalism, and the most important " RESPECT "! our ENG 98% of the time rolls with a crew,the other 2% driver and FF. we have found that by asking to give what they can and provide good leadership they give more with out asking. what more could we ask for!

    "there is no greater family outside our own than the brotherhood of firefighters"

    LT. Dennis

  11. #31
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    Pardon me, what is "losap"?

  12. #32
    Forum Member maximumflow's Avatar
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    Post losap

    LOSAP is a " length of service wards program, based on a points system ,as a retirement fund for your years of volunteering to your dept./ squad. the idea behind it is to be an incentive to join the dept. and get something in return.

  13. #33
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    Thanks - out in the West, we call that a retirement plan. Points for each year, each call, each meeting.

  14. #34
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    Default How do you become a volunteer firefighter?

    Hey there current/future firefighters. I have just recently wanted to become a firefighter, but first I want to start off as a volunteer firefighter. Where do I start and how can I become a volunteer firefighter?

  15. #35
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KArata
    Hey there current/future firefighters. I have just recently wanted to become a firefighter, but first I want to start off as a volunteer firefighter. Where do I start and how can I become a volunteer firefighter?
    Go visit your local volunteer fire house. They will more than likely welcome you and get you started.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  16. #36
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    Default

    A lot of good info out there, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned the NVFC (National Volunteer Fire Council)! Log on http://www.nvfc.org/ and navigate to the Recruitment and Retention link.
    I live in a county where the average single family home price is $695,000. We also are faced with the stampede of workers moving out to cheaper housing 20 miles to the north. We have had a reimbursement program in effect for 15+ years now ($150 a month) and just went to a basic reimbursement with a PPC of $10 to $20 based on your rank.
    Over the years we have tried many programs to recruit help. I have learned that no one program works. While the best is word of mouth from our members it still takes creative and resourceful thinking. Believe me "It ain't easy."
    We just received a $50,000 grant from the Safer fund that will pay for some first class pamphlets, posters, newspaper ads and movie theatre slides. Next year we hope to get a grant for LOSAP although the young people today are not to concerned about what they might get in 30 years when they turn 60.
    And getting the people though the door is only half the problem. The day they step in that door you have a retention problem to keep them. Lots of problems there! Egos,clics, power trips, you name it. We've all seen it. Are you prepared with equipment (bunker gear) and novice training to get 10 new people up to speed?
    Maintaining a respected active volunteer department takes a lot of work and commitment to overcome all the problems we encounter, money, recruits, federal laws and dealing with training issues that we may not be familiar with such as hybrids and seat belt pretensioners.
    Maybe the next thread should be "What has worked for you?"
    Ike
    "Don't say much so when I do.."

    9/11 This Firefighter will never forget!

  17. #37
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    What happends when all of the things you do for your firefighters becomes expected or taken for granted. My department does so many things that it really is unbelieveable. I came from a department that had nothing, so I know what it is like to have to buy almost everything yourself. Starting with your uniform. Heck at my current dept. we will give you whatever you want, after the probation period you are given all of your uniforms Class A - Class E.

    I know that we cannot be the only people out there with this problem. Please let me know what your department does.

    Thanks,
    Chris

    www.fairviewfiredept.com

  18. #38
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    Talking

    As a farming community becomes a bed room communtiy. People from "the city" are building their 200k to 800k homes down the gravel road from the one room farm house built right after the civil war that is now a ballon construction rattling death trap with 8 rooms & a second floor. These folks have no idea that when they dial 911 the fireman aren't sitting in the house ready to respond. They don't read the local papers, because they don't care what happened at the fair, they read the metro area paper. Asking for volunteers, why we are asking for a tax increases or advertising a fund raiser doesn't reach them. There isn't a central loaction we can sit to inform the public. The business "center" is located near the largest town or village (pop. 260 District is 32sq. miles Aprox 2500 pop)in our District. To get to the big box type stores, you can get to just about any one you can think of in under 20 min, people drive in the opposite direction of these businesses. We are preparing to send a "news letter" to every address in our District, and this plan my friends is no cheap date! We can use bulk mailing by Zip code for half our district. As luck would have it, the northern half of our District's Zip code is he same as the largest town in our county with an estimated pop of 50,000, so the bulk mail rate to this Zip made our Treasurer cry. By the time this project is ready to go I am affraid the postal rate will have increased to the point that we will have to rob British cash storage depot to afford stamps. [Thanks for reading my rant. No refunds]
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

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  19. #39
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    I am looking into sending out info about our department with the county tax bills - it may help us reach the non-resident land owners.

  20. #40
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    for volunteers if you don't have the funding to pay them per call or however then give them a reason to volunteer. at my department we let the vollies wash there car and clean there cars out, allow them to hang out. we have basketball goals and work out equipment that they can use.
    EMS 172 Rescue 205 BLS 201 Engine 221 Truck 225 Pri. 1 10-50 PI 2 Pin-Ins!

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