NVFC and USFA Release Comprehensive Guide to Retention and Recruitment
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), in partnership with the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), has released an in-depth guide on two of the biggest challenges facing the volunteer fire and emergency services retention and recruitment. Retention and Recruitment for the Volunteer Emergency Services: Challenges and Solutions (Second Edition) addresses the primary challenges departments face regarding retention and recruitment and then outlines proven solutions to overcome these obstacles. This valuable resource is designed for all volunteer and combination departments who are experiencing retention and recruitment challenges.

"Retention and recruitment remain a challenge for our volunteer fire and emergency medical services," said Philip C. Stittleburg, Chairman of the NVFC. "Statistics show that the number of volunteer firefighters has declined as much as 10% over the last 20 years, yet our nation relies on the volunteer fire and emergency services now more than ever. It is our hope that this guide helps departments overcome the hurdles they face in recruiting and retaining volunteers."

Among the challenges identified and addressed in the new guide are time demands, training requirements, increasing call volume, changes in the "nature of the business," changes in sociological conditions, leadership challenges, federal legislation, internal conflict, higher cost of housing, aging communities, and the effects of the decline in volunteers. The text contains a thorough and insightful look at each of these issues and provides examples of solutions that have worked in volunteer organizations across the nation. There is also an expansive Appendix section that contains further information such as study results, statistics, sample documents, references, and additional resources.

"Volunteer firefighters comprise two-thirds of the estimated 1.2 million firefighters in this country," said Charlie Dickinson, Acting Assistant Administrator of USFA. "Maintaining these front-line responders through retention and recruitment is paramount to America's safety and security. Communities across the nation continue to find creative ways to support and maintain these critical community first responders."

The USFA and NVFC originally teamed up in 1998 to release the first edition of the guide. This second edition has been enhanced with new research and current issues the emergency services face in the 21st century. A new curriculum based on the guide is also being developed for Retention and Recruitment Seminars, which will be offered by the NVFC at state association conferences across the nation.

Download a copy of Retention and Recruitment for the Volunteer Emergency Services: Challenges and Solutions (Second Edition). A hard copy of this publication will be available through the USFA Publications Center in September 2007.