1. #1
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    Default Volunteer Recruitment

    How does your department acquire new people?I know that paid departments will throw an ad in the paper or other means of getting the word out that they are hiring but how about other volunteer outfits?
    When I work in a job that allows me to wear my Tshirts,I get asked a lot of times about how to join and I tell them how to contact the Chief and when our next training meeting will be.

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    throw an ad in the paper
    throw a message on our sign
    make a presence at all community functions
    visit the high school to get junior members and convert them to senior members
    signs on trucks during parades
    open houses
    demonstrations
    talk to neighbors, friends, and get them to talk to their neighbors, friends, etc.
    "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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    We do that.
    A lot of times,we'll be doing Sunday detail,rehabbing the rig before going home after a call or just hanging out at the station adjusting PPE or watching traffic go by and someone will bring their kids in wanting a tour of a "real" firehouse.Most guys will run through what is on the truck so fast no one can understand them or like the youngsters know what they are talking about.I try to take my time and explain it in ways that the kids will understand.It ends up with the adults also seeing better what a tool is for and they start getting interested.
    I don't keep the numbers of how people come in but I think most of the new members we've gotten in the past year have come in after talking to a member

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    No matter where you are I think it attracting new volunteers is nothing short of difficult. A few examples....

    Cable TV advertising

    Newspaper Ads

    Hit the High Schools -- Grab em' early

    Put together a Newsletter describing your department, the equipment, express the need for members and what the department offers {equipment, training, social activities} and mail it out to the residents in the district you serve.

    If you have a sign board outside the station post the need. A few years ago I posted this on a sign at a company I used to volunteer with....

    "PROTECT YOUR DREAMS........VOLUNTEER"
    MEMBERS NEEDED - STOP IN WEDNESDAY EVENINGS 7PM
    OR CALL {xxx} xxx-xxxx

    ended up with 15 new members that year {1994}

    During Fire Prevention Activities in October at the open houses push for new members - conduct question and answer sessions.

    It will always be hard to gain new members especially with all the training required these days and the time consumption required to be part of a Volunteer organization - But we'll continue to press on as has been done for decades.

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    Our biggest problem is retaining new members or keeping them active once they have been issued gear. It seems that most people around here just want to say that they are a firefighter. Few of them are willing to commit even a little bit of time to train and work.

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    Our sign has been down for about 5 years (long story), but people still quote it:

    IF YOU COME TO OUR MEETINGS, WE'LL COME TO YOUR FIRE!

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    Thats a good one. We have done the ad in the paper, message on the sign, word of mouth, fliers around town, not much seems to work, we're losing all of our "working" class population who might have been willing to do it. If anyone has a new idea let me know!
    Doug Velting Jr
    President Cassville Volunteer Fire Co
    dougvelting@fireexec.com
    www.cassvillefire.org
    Fire Exec .com

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    Where are you guys all located?

    Where I am (Illinois) it seems that everywhere I go to try and volunteer the list is so full that I can't even get my name added to it...

    I'd be willing to pay them to train me!

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    MAiello2: Where are you located in Illinois. I'm on a small department in Illinois and we are always looking for new members.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PO208159
    MAiello2: Where are you located in Illinois. I'm on a small department in Illinois and we are always looking for new members.
    I'm in northern Illinois, northwest suburbs. Crystal Lake/Cary area to be more exact.

    I see that you're in central Illinois, with my luck, probably too far. What town exactly though?

    I also noted this in the Il. forum...I'd be willing to travel a good distance but there is always that point where it's just too far.

    Let me know though please, thanks!!

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    Maiello2: Sorry it took so long to respond. Anyways, I am probably too far for you. I live about 30 south of Kankakee, in the watseka area. If you ever relocate to the area, let me know.

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    Default Volunteer Recruiting

    One of the best things I have done is "partner" with a local WalMart to become a recruitment partner. Once a quarter we have a recruitment drive at the store where we serve hotdogs, soft drinks etc. Ask the store manager if the store can subsudize the materials. Our first recruiting event we had 33 applications completed and about 24 people became members.

    Look at local grocery stores in your area also. It appears that most of these retailers are fully supportive of volunteer and combination departments and will do what they can to help in any way.

    If I can help in any way please contact me.

    Stuart P. Norman
    Recruiter
    Public Information Coordinator
    Needham Fire Department
    Conroe, Texas
    spnorman@firehousemail.com
    www.needhamfiredept.org
    936-321-0999

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    We have tried everything short of kidnapping people at gun point. We are a bedroom community where the avg price is now creeping up to $250,000.00 plus for existing home and a hell of alot more for new ones.

    We get alot of younger members 18-25 but cant keep them. Mostly because they cant afford to live here and do not want to live in apartments all their life.

    Cant say as I blame them

    I would like to try a paid-call system. Anyone here running that way?

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    Yes, we get paid on call, but it is not enough to live on. As with everyone else, daytime weekday calls are the problem. Not enough fit retirees to take the calls. Ni8ghts & weekends, we get a good turnout.

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    The Juneau Fire Department here, Is mostly made up of Volunteer's. And from what i have seen its just a regular thing for the City to involed in what the Fire department is doing. They usually put up a poster or something on the message boards around town, and then on there website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainS
    We have tried everything short of kidnapping people at gun point. We are a bedroom community where the avg price is now creeping up to $250,000.00 plus for existing home and a hell of alot more for new ones.

    We get alot of younger members 18-25 but cant keep them. Mostly because they cant afford to live here and do not want to live in apartments all their life.

    Cant say as I blame them

    I would like to try a paid-call system. Anyone here running that way?

    Yeah we are POC. We get "paid" a whopping $8 per call (non-medical) and a $72 stipend every 3 months.

    I have found talking to our new recruits that the $8 did not influence their decision to join. Most of them didn't seem to know about it before they joined. The one nice thing about the program is that it gets paid in one lump sum in december. A $1200 check just before christmas is pretty nice.

    We really need to start a drive to get more reserves as well. Our problem is that we have so few right now that no one has time to organize it.
    We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering.

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    Open houses and tax incentives do wonders to help recruit, career, POC, or volunteer
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    We just had an open house, it looks like we could pick up two new members.
    When opening up the roof remember plywood comes in 4' X 8' sheets.

    www.94firedept.com

    IACOJ proud member

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    We're also having problems recruiting members. This is partly due to inactivity in the membership to focus on recruitment and partly because our community is much more "bedroom" then it used to be. I've been put in charge of our recruitment and I want to refocus our membership but I find that I'm starting from scratch when it comes to recruitment ideas.
    I've done some recruitment stuff in the past, but it was mostly "a little here, a little there". That didn't work that well since we weren't able to get our name out there consistently. I'm currently working on a recruitment plan to organize several initiatives at once.. really get our name out there.
    Some things I'd like to do:
    - Newpaper adds
    - Posters at key locations (grocery stores..etc)
    - targeted mass mailings
    - high school visits
    - door-to-door
    Another thing I was thinking was to get the membership involved. Hold a contest that says whichever member gets the most new members to join in a month gets a prize. It could also be extended to say that whoever gets the most members that stick around for a year gets a better prize.

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    How did I join my ambulance squad....

    I brokeup with my GF in August. I was driving down the main road and i noticed a sign for the BLOOMFIELD VOLUNTEER EMERGENCY SQUAD. Okay, being a firefighter sounds like something ive wanted to do, i'll call them and find out. So i call and learn they are the ambulance squad. Fire dept is paid. So i think about it. I didn't call back. The captain calls me one day so i say "okay i'll come down and take a look"

    I came down and wow was this place a HOLE IN THE WALL. Now let me tell ya, when my dad was a volly EMT in NY, they had the most beautiful squad building ive ever seen to this day still. The place was gigantic (http://www.adamdaley.com/gallery/bayshore_ambulance) and now im at this squad taking a tour and theres really NOTHING here (http://www.bves.org/gallery.htm) but anyway i talk to them and i figure i'll give it a shot. My dad was an EMT, i'l do it also, sounds exciting, and seemed like a good group of people.

    So i joined and ive loved it ever since and don't regret it. Fire does its thing, but we see more patients and help more people then they respond to actual fires. So im more busy with the ambulance squad.

    So thats how i joined. But it would be nice to have a REAL nice place to hangout in between calls. Im here 12 hours on shift, don't go home, so it'd be nice to have a bigger place with cool stuff, but i still do it to help the community.

    Im moving to Long Island this week and im still giving them 12 hours, because its not about the HANGOUT, its bout helping out the community. Nothings better then having a lil old lady look at you and say "thank you" cant buy that.
    Adam, EMT-B

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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