Given the national decline in experience-building fire load (aka-the work we do as firefighters), I’ve written before about the challenge of today’s fire service leaders to dig in and invest more in their firefighters than ever before to prepare them for success – and succession.
While my first passion lies in recruiting the brightest and the best, training your replacements is one of the most important steps in retaining their valued services. A well structured, disciplined approach to company training is a proven incentive for your firefighters to invest more time and energy in learning their craft and “responding to the call.”
My personal research of what I’ve dubbed the “Xbox Generation” is supported and enhanced by more formal research conducted by folks a lot smarter than me (not that it takes a lot to qualify for that! LOL). As I often do when faced with a challenge, I look outside the fire service for resources from other disciplines to gain a fresh perspective and see how I can apply their solutions to the industry I love. For as two of my favorite authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath say, “Find a bright spot and clone it.” These resources may include books, magazines and other media outlets — especially if they mention the importance of storytelling as a means of conveying our message!
One such resource I regularly rely on to get a clue about these Millenials and their unique attitudes and attributes is a periodic eNewsletter titled “Engage: GenY” from MediaPost Publications. The short articles offer a variety of perspectives from a variety of contributors and you don’t have to read far to find titles that quickly grab your attention and correlate to our efforts to learn more about these young people infiltrating our fire service. (more…)
This great video from the Pontiac Michigan Fire Department depicts a day in the life of their firefighters, from leaving the house and their family in the morning to returning hours later to their loved ones.
Tastefully done, I think it’s one of the best videos I’ve seen that demonstrates the service of America’s firefighters and recognizes our families who make real sacrifices on our behalf so that we can do what we love to do. I’m not sure of its origin or if it was created just for the video but the voice-over is superb and includes a great motivational message, apparently intended for this fire department that is going through some its darkest times facing the deepest cuts possible. We wish only the best for them in their fight to save their ability to protect their community.
Check it out and let the FireRECRUITER know what you think and be sure to share your fire department recruitment and promotional videos and resources.
Tiger Schmittendorf, aka the “FireRECRUITER” will be going back to Indianapolis later this month to present at FDIC – the Fire Department Instructors Conference – the largest gathering of firefighters in the world.
He’ll be presenting “Understanding and Motivating Today’s Firefighters” as a repeat performance of “From the X-Box to the Box Alarm” presented at FDIC 2010.
I’m so intrigued by firehouse live-in programs that later this week, the FireRECRUITER is traveling to Hyattsville MD — home to one of the longest standing and most successful bunk in programs in the fire service — and home to the X-Box Firefighters who created FDLiveIn.com. And to get a better understanding and appreciation for the program, I’ll be bunking in the station Friday night and they’ve arranged a tour of several live-in fire stations for Saturday. (more…)
I love the fact that Syosset allows each company in the department to have its own identity. I took this photo when I visited all three of their stations about a year ago with my good friend Rob Leonard.
Don’t discount or write-off the value of people coming to the fire service with some life-experience under their belt. That maturity can turn out to be a huge advantage to your fire department, especially when teamed with the free spirits of Generation Y.
As I wrote in “From the X-Box to the Box Alarm” — This demo includes settled homeowners; their kids are growing to an age of independence; focused on giving back; perhaps even looking for an outlet – or just an excuse to get out of the house. (more…)
Doyle Hose Co. 1 Fire-Recruiters Brian Sas, Colton Marinelli and Don Keuck engage students during career day at their local high school.
If you had just 30 seconds to convince someone why they should join your volunteer fire department, what would you say?
What would your message be? Do you have a standard sales pitch that you use for just such occasions? Can you even say hello in 30 seconds?
I recently had the opportunity to coach and practice some speed-recruiting exercises with the Doyle Hose Co. 1 in Cheektowaga NY. They had been invited to be a part of career day at the local high school in their response area and they invited me to join them. (more…)
There’s an interesting conversation started at FirefighterNation.com that suggests the BSA Venturing program as an alternative path for young people to get involved in the volunteer fire service.
The discussion host offers what he feels is a broader opportunity to get more young people involved in their volunteer fire department by not pidgeon-holing them into just being Fire Explorers and Junior Firefighters.
Join the FireRECRUITER live via the Internet on Wednesday-March 10, 2010 at 8pm ET at FirefighterNetcast.com for a conversation discussing the challenges of today’s fire service in recruiting and retaining volunteers.