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  1. #41
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    Generally utilities will allow you to put mailers in with thier bills every once in awhile. All you need to cover is the cost of getting the inserts to thier bill processing facility and obviously the inserts themselves.

    Another idea may be small real estate type signs at key intersections. I used these with great success several times and they are rather cheap, usually $8-10 each and will last a couple of years (of course you only keep them out for a few weeks.. then put them up 3-4 months later). Put them in both directions so they see them coming and going.

    Something simple is to have bumper stickers made up for your members car with a quick 4 or 5 word recruiting jingle. it's amazing how many people will read them while they are stopped at a light. Alwso recruiting info on the trucks is effective ... something simple like "Looking For Volunteers .. call xxx-xxxx.

    Just think of ways in your community that people can see a slogan or short message for 5 or 10 seconds... and put them as many places as you can. Repition is the key in marketing, which is essentailly what you are doing.


  2. #42
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    I am a Captain of a Volunteer/Paid dept in Colo. And the biggest problem we have is keeping the newbies interest. We are probably with out a doubt one of the most elite volunteer depts. in the country. We have some of the newest most up to date equipment any dept. could hope for, our chief spares no expense when it comes to our gear, safety, needs or ability to do the job. We offer training every monday night minimum, extra training is always available. Not to mention the extra curicular activities we have going on thru out the year. Each applicant is questioned n a review board process prior to being accepted to the dept. as to whether they would be willing to comit the time, and with out fail all always reply yes. But then once they have made it thru the fire academy, and placed on a response team they seem to lose their interst. Any ideas as to how to keep them interested and coming to trainings would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by tckojac77; 04-09-2006 at 09:17 PM.

  3. #43
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    Default tckojac77

    tckojac77 -

    Perhaps the membership has a similiar elitest attitude and new people don't get credit for their accomplishments...
    Trucks, gear, equipment are all great on paper... However, there are two things they can't do. Portray an attitude towards the membership and put out fires...
    Don't get me wrong, it sounds like you have alot of company pride. Which is important. But you must ask yourself; are you and your department paying attention to the human side of the equation....

    When a new guy comes in the door: Does the crew know his name, his wifes name... What hobbies he has...

    Do your senior guys have stains on their work shirts from running saws, washing rigs, checking the oil? Do the senior firefighters have dirty fingure nails from being out in the bay floor? Racking lines/ pulling lines with new people, explaining why hose is folded and racked certain ways... Or is the IFSTA manual's explination in the acedemy adequate? Who's setting the example around the firehouse? and is it by example?

    In my humble experience, the GREAT firehouses I've been around, in different parts of the country, are the ones with the most grease spots on the front ramp and the senior guys on the crew have the dirtiest hands.....
    Cause they lead the crew... Dont get me wrong, there was an Officer around. But lets face it, Officers have alot of business to tend to. You need a strong guy on the floor whos not affraid to have high expectations. And to work hard knowing everything in the station and teaching others too.

    The Tung

  4. #44
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    Default Professionalism

    Seeing how you have the latest greatest, do you know how to properly use it effectively. Showing the newbies some professionalism goes along way. Teach them what they need to learn. To keep them interested you have to keep them coming to the firehouse. In my firehouse we have alot of newbies with very little experience. We have decided to have all companies train as one station rather individual companies. This gets everyone working as a team from the beginning. The younger generation needs a little kick in the *** from time to time. Plus, you have to make them feel like they belong to something and have pride in what they are doing.

  5. #45
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    Default west virginia house bill 2080

    I Am A Lieutenant With The Valley Grove Vfd. We Had A Local Politician Come To One Of Our Meetings Wanting To Learn A Little More About The Fire Service. His Office Just Awarded Our Department With A $5,000 Dollar Grant To Help Build A Bridge To The Site Of Our Future Firehouse. While At Our Meeting He Discussed A Bill That He Is Trying To Pass Inwhich Would Give A $500.00 Tax Credit To Anyone Who Is An Active Member In A Volunteer Fire Or Ems Agency. Now $500.00 Seems Small For All The Hard Work We Do, But It Is Start In The Right Direction. So If This House Bill Passes, We Hope That Will Get Some More People Interested. I Will Let You All Know How It Goes. Good Luck To All In There Search For New Membership.

  6. #46
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    Default Tax credit and insurance

    My town offers members of both the FD and EMS (both volunteer) a tax credit.

    It starts after 5 years active membership at $250, increasing yearly after that and capping off at $1000. It's not much, but it means a lot to the members.

    Recently, my FD uncovered a spot in the town (maybe state) charter that allows FD and EMS volunteers to buy into the Town's group insurance. This will allow members who are self-empoyeed to get group rate health and dental insurance through the town. It's still developing, but seems like it will be a great perk to some.

  7. #47
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    What state, RDog 14?

  8. #48
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    Connecticut. (yes, I did add that to my profile after)

    I read over our paperwork and it is a state statute that allows for the insurance options.
    Last edited by RDog14; 05-30-2006 at 04:55 AM.

  9. #49
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    Default Have you ever tried the local college?

    A very valuable resource that many communities overlook is the local college? I am a senior in college and I have just joined our local VFD. I know that our campus is completely overlooked by the community. College students have a lot of free time during the day because we are only in class for 2-3 hours per day and keep late hours. My campus has about 1500 students and it is a residential campus in a town of 15,000 and I am pretty sure I am the only firefighter on it.

    The college campus is a good opportunity it get students to become dedicated volunteers before they become white collar workers. If you start early you can get 4-5 years out of a college student and some might even stay for the summers because they would rather be at college than at home. One of the biggest hurdles to get over is that many fire departments do not like the local college kids because of the amount of false alarms that they have to report to in the middle of the night.

    You would be surprised how many people would be willing to join. You might even want to contact the college and work out a deal so that the student volunteers could receive a little bit if college credit if they respond to a certain amount of calls and this would cost the VFD nothing.

    Just my 2 cents worth!

  10. #50
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    Default students

    The biggest issue brought up in using college students is the length of service most students are here for 2-4 years and then off to a career. Many are from out of town to begin with and will return home after the graduate. Now it is nice to look at the idea that they might continue to volunteer in their "Hometown FD" but, the "Collage town FD" might well suffer. The first thing is to realize that the leadership in the Collage town FD will see little change, that may not necessarily be a bad thing, until the officers get burned out or want to retire. Fact is that the students move on the departments do not. I am not saying it is bad to recruit college students, in fact I love the idea. But I feel that there needs to be a real battle plan on the long term R&R fight. A conservative approach seems best. Consideration of the future and what is best for the student and the FD in the long term must be addressed. That is to say that there is room for innovative ideas and changes, but there are plenty out there that will not like the changes that are needed. Everything in the fire service seems to take few years to become acceptable. Including personnel how many people out there have 7-8 years on a FD and are still treated like it is new to them? Retention is a real issue here as well, recruitment programs attract new recruits but we loose experienced firefighters to, retirement, age, family, etc. and of course burn out. So the million dollar question really is how do we keep them in?

  11. #51
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    Default Ideas

    I am both paid and volunteer at two different stations and i have noticed that the things that help morale at the paid station are the same things that help get and keep members at the volunteer dept. We don't have just one way we recruit. We us 5 or six different things and with all of them together we have a membership of about 85 people.

    One of the retention tools we use is making everyone that turns in a application part of a team. We have a training packet that each volunteer must complete before they are allowed to function. Each new member that turns in a application starts his training on the first Saturday of the month with all the other people that turned in applications durring the last month. that way they all start together and the training can be more organized. they spend that first day learning all the SOG's and doing anything that needs to be done in the classroom and that can be done without gear. the day is a long one but at the end of it each member is issued their gear which to them is a big deal and something for them to be proud of.

    After they are issued gear they are assigned to one of our 5 duty nights. Our volunteers are all assigned a weeknight sunday through thursday and that is their crew. each duty night has a CAptain and either one or two lieutenants. Each member pulls a shift from 7pm to 7am once a week on their assigned duty night. the friday and saturday nights are on a rotation and everyone ends up pulling "weekend duty" about every ten weeks or so. All new members are assigned to a duty night that the crew on that night is responsible for continuing the training of the probationary firefighter. When they are issued gear they are issued a blue helmet until their training is completed. The new members are also encouraged to come up to the station on some of the other duty nights besides theirs to both finish training faster and also to learn some different ways of doing some things. after completion of the training packet they are issued a certificate to hang on the wall, a patch, a station t-shirt and a black helmet. all together not that big a deal but we make a big deal out of it in the form of a presentation in front of everyone. we even have a guy on the station that is a photographer and he takes their picture and gives it to them later.

    I really think that having the station borken down into smaller crews helps make new people feel welcome. It is a little less imposing and they initially only have to learn 10 or 12 names instead of 85. they also have one set of officers to go to in case there are any problems.

    As far as for recruiting we use many different approaches. Our most successful is word of mouth. We have a very large military base here in town and many of our members are in the military and they bring in friends of theirs from work. Since we have members stay the night up at the station we do not require that our members live within the fire district. This allows young single guys and girls that are in the military and live on base to have somewhere to go and relax and serve the community. We can do this because the big town that we are next to doesn't allow volunteers so many people live in the city but come out and volunteer with us. We also use adds in the base newspaper. Open houses or community relations days are another thing we do. Every July we have a station picinic that is open to the public. Many of the local business come and set up booths, local radop stations broadcast from the station. we have all kinds of activities for the kids and it is tons of fun. At the picinic we set up a information table for the station that tells people how they can join. In october we do a fund raiser haunted trail that has people waiting in line for up to 3 hours. wile they are waiting they look around and get interested. many have come through the trail one night and come back the next wanting to volunteer and help out on the trail. after the trail is over they have made friedns with alot of the members and they join up.

    As for pay we don't pay much at all. Our members are not aoolwed to respond directly to the scene. We have crews at the station to get out the first out trucks so people respond from home to the station and ride the trucks to the calls. We pay $3 if you ride a truck to a call and $1.50 if you come up to the station to cover while the duty crew is out on a call. We also pay $5 a night when you stay at the station. Checks are issued once a year at our christmas dinner that is about 2 weeks before christmas. Mine is usually $1200-$1400 but some people get over $2000. I work 2 hours from home so i'm not around as much as some others.

    A final idea that i have heard of that i thought was great is for college students. A fire dept over on the coast near wilmington build a dorm room building for college students. they can have up to 8 i think. the students are given a free place to stay while they are in college in exchange for being on duty at the station every third night. they are also given $500 a month as a group for food. If they are state certified firefighters they are allowed to work part time and make a little extra money.

    I knwo this is a little long winded but compared to other stations in our area we have a very successful dept and i hope that our ideas might beable to help others get to the same level of staffing

  12. #52
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    Default Ideas

    I am both paid and volunteer at two different stations and I have noticed that the things that help morale at the paid station are the same things that help get and keep members at the volunteer dept. We don't have just one way we recruit. We us 5 or six different things and with all of them together we have a membership of about 85 people.

    One of the retention tools we use is making everyone that turns in an application part of a team. We have a training packet that each volunteer must complete before they are allowed to function. Each new member that turns in an application starts his training on the first Saturday of the month with all the other people that turned in applications during the last month. That way they all start together and the training can be more organized. They spend that first day learning all the SOG's and doing anything that needs to be done in the classroom and that can be done without gear. The day is a long one but at the end of it each member is issued their gear which to them is a big deal and something for them to be proud of.

    After they are issued gear they are assigned to one of our 5 duty nights. Our volunteers are all assigned a weeknight Sunday through Thursday and that is their crew. Each duty night has a Captain and either one or two lieutenants. Each member pulls a shift from 7pm to 7am once a week on their assigned duty night. The Friday and Saturday nights are on a rotation and everyone ends up pulling "weekend duty" about every ten weeks or so. All new members are assigned to a duty night that the crew on that night is responsible for continuing the training of the probationary firefighter. When they are issued gear they are issued a blue helmet until their training is completed. The new members are also encouraged to come up to the station on some of the other duty nights besides theirs to both finish training faster and also to learn some different ways of doing some things. After completion of the training packet they are issued a certificate to hang on the wall, a patch, a station t-shirt and a black helmet. All together not that big a deal but we make a big deal out of it in the form of a presentation in front of everyone. We even have a guy on the station that is a photographer and he takes their picture and gives it to them later.

    I really think that having the station broken down into smaller crews helps make new people feel welcome. It is a little less imposing and they initially only have to learn 10 or 12 names instead of 85. They also have one set of officers to go to in case there are any problems.

    As far as for recruiting we use many different approaches. Our most successful is word of mouth. We have a very large military base here in town and many of our members are in the military and they bring in friends of theirs from work. Since we have members stay the night up at the station we do not require that our members live within the fire district. This allows young single guys and girls that are in the military and live on base to have somewhere to go and relax and serve the community. We can do this because the big town that we are next to doesn't allow volunteers so many people live in the city but come out and volunteer with us. We also use ads in the base newspaper. Open houses or community relations days are another thing we do. Every July we have a station picnic that is open to the public. Many of the local business come and set up booths, local radio stations broadcast from the station. We have all kinds of activities for the kids and it is tons of fun. At the picnic we set up an information table for the station that tells people how they can join. In October we do a fund raiser haunted trail that has people waiting in line for up to 3 hours. While they are waiting they look around and get interested. Many have come through the trail one night and come back the next wanting to volunteer and help out on the trail. After the trail is over they have made friends with a lot of the members and they join up.

    As for pay we don't pay much at all. Our members are not allowed to respond directly to the scene. We have crews at the station to get out the first out trucks so people respond from home to the station and ride the trucks to the calls. We pay $3 if you ride a truck to a call and $1.50 if you come up to the station to cover while the duty crew is out on a call. We also pay $5 a night when you stay at the station. Checks are issued once a year at our Christmas dinner that is about 2 weeks before Christmas. Mine is usually $1200-$1400 but some people get over $2000. I work 2 hours from home so Iím not around as much as some others.

    A final idea that I have heard of that I thought was great is for college students. A fire dept over on the coast near Wilmington build a dorm room building for college students. They can have up to 8 I think. The students are given a free place to stay while they are in college in exchange for being on duty at the station every third night. They are also given $500 a month as a group for food. If they are state certified firefighters they are allowed to work part time and make a little extra money.

    I know this is a little long winded but compared to other stations in our area we have a very successful dept and I hope that our ideas might be able to help others get to the same level of staffing

  13. #53
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    Default re: Insurance for Volunteers through the Town

    Trumbull, CT recently passed a resolution (through work by vol fire & ems) to allow its active members to purchase health/dental insurance through the town at the town rates and level of benefits. Eligibility is tied to tax abatement, meaning we used the same criterea for eligibility for both (makes it easy on both the town and fire/ems to administer).

    If I could suggest one thing to everyone interested in increased R&R, have someone review your state laws, you will likely find a lot of availible incentive plans you may not be aware of some big, some small. Some incentives appeal more to others (for instance, our tax abatement program has had excellent results in increasing responses by previously not so active members).

    Another thing, a lot of volunteer departments I have found have sort of an "us against the world" mentality. You have to get over that, and cut that sort of thinking off every chance you get. To get some of the things you want, you need help. No way aroundit. Better to have good relationships (local PD, EMS, Town Hall) then bad ones. And if they are bad now, don't shrug shoulders, work on mending them. Seriously. We would never have gotten through tax abatement and insurance (and soon LOSAP) ben programs without the coorporation of our town. And for a town's whose average home price is approximately 550-600K, we need all the incentive progams we can get.

  14. #54
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Well................

    I haven't seen these words, in this order, yet. So here goes:
    YOU HAVE TO GET OUT AND TALK TO PEOPLE.
    The key to reaching prospective Volunteers is reaching People. Anybody. Everybody. The department that reaches out to people is the one that gets folks interested in what is going on in THEIR community. We are in a "Bedroom" area, with homes running from $250K to over $1 Mil. And we get Volunteers from million dollar homes. It CAN be done, but you have to leave the Firehouse to do it. One BIG tip. If your VFD is the type where no one hangs out, there is never anyone there except for meetings, drills, or calls, CHANGE THAT. We have someone in the station 24/7, one way or another. Here, you can wash your car, watch the big screen, Sleep, or whatever. Our station belongs to it's members, in that we have no rules that interfere with having people here because They WANT to be here. Another thing: OPEN THE DAMN DOORS. Our doors are always open, the lights are on, and people are there. We have actually had several people join our organization, rather than a station closer to their home, because they could never find anyone at the closer station. Couple of other points: 1. If you have a residency requirement, get rid of it. Most of our member don't live in our first due, and it doesn't hurt us a bit. 2. If you have a limit on the number of members that you can have, again, get rid of it. In 2006, there is NO reason that a VFD should have a limit on the number of members that it can have. To see more about who we are and what we do, look up www.GDVFD18.Com
    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

  15. #55
    MembersZone Subscriber LVFD301's Avatar
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    Amen. You cannot hide waiting for volunteers to come knocking on your
    door.

    People dearly want to belong to something. That is why there are so many organizations, clubs, groups, churches, etc out there.

    People have to know that you NEED volunteers, you WANT them to become
    involved, and you INVITE them to be there.

  16. #56
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Yup!.........

    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301
    Amen. You cannot hide waiting for volunteers to come knocking on your
    door.

    People dearly want to belong to something. That is why there are so many organizations, clubs, groups, churches, etc out there.

    People have to know that you NEED volunteers, you WANT them to become
    involved, and you INVITE them to be there.
    Looks like I'm not alone........
    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

  17. #57
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    Along the lines of recruitment....

    I'll give a brief personal history: Career FIrefighter 10 years....Active Volunteer 19 years. Recentley Not real active due to the distiance from home to the firehouse after buying a new house last year.

    I made application to the local fire company in my community.....They currentley have about 10 active people, are in the process of rebuilding the company, run close to 900 calls a year, and opperate 5 pieces of equipment. During my recruitment interview last month my training was reviewed and I do meet their requirements however they want National FIrefighter I and I believe II. Records indicate that I was "grand-fathered" about 8 years ago to the national standard but I get the impression that this isn't what they want. Basically it looks like to be an active firefighter there I have to go back to FF 1.

    My question once you have FIrefighter 1 and II {through my local academy back in the late 80's, have extensive training, met the Career requirments for my job, and almost 20 years expirence does going back to Firefighter I make sense or should I just throw in the towel and stay where I'm at ?

    If Fire Companies need Volunteers as badly as alot of them say they do than when a guy with expireance who does this as a career comes in to join why make him {or in this case me} start from scratch ? Personally I think it's a waste of money and on occassion I teach the same things I'd be re-doing in FIrefighter I. I still throw ladders the same, opperate apparatus the same, pull the line the same way. I'm all about following rules but does this make sense to anybody ?

  18. #58
    MembersZone Subscriber LVFD301's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BD6413
    Along the lines of recruitment....

    I'll give a brief personal history: Career FIrefighter 10 years....Active Volunteer 19 years. Recentley Not real active due to the distiance from home to the firehouse after buying a new house last year.

    I have openings, and will honor your certs here in Missouri!

  19. #59
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    Thank's LVFD301 I'm happy to see that there are still companies out there that accept firefighters for their expirence as oppsed to a piece of paper.

    I'll have to turn-down the offer however......I'm trying to keep my response down to under 2 miles. It would be a little tough to make a rig at over 1100 miles.

  20. #60
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    Default

    It would be a little tough to make a rig at over 1100 miles
    I'll bet Kentland has members that travel that far.

    We don't require National Fire 1, but we do require NJ State Fire 1. IF you have the time, but not the paper, the State gives it to you free/no questions asked anyway. We don't require it to join, but by the end of your first year.
    "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?

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