Where there’s smoke…

home-content-bgWhere there’s smoke…there’s a Delaware Volunteer Firefighter! proclaims this web site dedicated to recruiting more for their ranks.

Delaware’s recruitment clearinghouse site does a great job of getting the right information in the hands of the right people by sharing scrolling sections that explain what it means to be a volunteer; and detail both the benefits and requirements of volunteering.

It lays the foundation for realistic expectations, sharing that “In any given week you will spend some time in training, attending meetings, maintaining equipment, and a variety of other duties in addition to going out on calls…an average weekly commitment can be five to eight hours.”

It also talks about how some volunteer fire departments have [smartly] diversified their workforce with administrative staff to help run the corporate side of the Fire Company, Fire Police, and Auxiliary members who support in a variety of ways – exemplifying the FireRECRUITER.com motto that “Firefighting isn’t for everyone – but volunteering can be!” 

I had the pleasure of sharing my “Xbox Live(tm)” conversation at the Delaware State Fire School last month for a group of dedicated and engaged fire service leaders who are definitely on the right path to doing something positive about their recruitment and retention ‘situation.’ Continue reading “Where there’s smoke…”

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Orange Beach Creates Resident Firefighter Program

1452391_434657416634597_1389338889_nOrange Beach, Alabama’s Fire Department has gotten creative with a bunk-in program that leads to real career opportunities.

While other FDLiveIn.com-like programs may prepare you to take a paid firefighting position in a neighboring fire department, county or state, the Orange Beach approach a step further (or closer to home) to create a farm system for the future of their fire department. And, it offers a ton of great tangible benefits in return for running calls.

Here’s the announcement from their Facebook page. Check it out. Live the dream! Continue reading “Orange Beach Creates Resident Firefighter Program”

The Hiring Pool is Open – Leland NC

Advertisement for Hiring Pool

Leland Volunteer Fire/Rescue Department, Inc. is accepting applications for our 2013 hiring pool. This pool of applicants will be used to fill any part-time or full-time hiring that the department may need for 2013. Once the pool is created it will be used for all vacancies in 2013, until all qualified applicants are exhausted. The applicants shall possess one of the following:

NC Fire/Rescue Commission Firefighter II, Emergency Vehicle Driver, and Hazardous Materials Level I (Operations) and NC Office of EMS Credentials as an EMT- Basic or EMT-Intermediate. Continue reading “The Hiring Pool is Open – Leland NC”

Draft Choices

Josh Football02Volunteer fire departments, whether they realize it or not, compete for recruits. Sometimes with other volunteer fire departments but most often with a busy home life, other community organizations, volunteering opportunities and a wide array of social activities.

What if our recruits, like in college recruiting, were in competition with other recruits wanting to be selected by our fire departments? Would we see more or less candidates? More or less qualified? Or are they already in competition with each other?
UB Football01More importantly, what can we learn from college athletic recruiters like the NCSA who set up this registry for potential recruits? Do you use language like: “SEIZE the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – and change your life” to describe the benefits of joining your volunteer fire department? Continue reading “Draft Choices”

“VetNet” To Help Military Veterans Re-Enter Civilian Life

As we’ve shared before, recruiting veterans into the volunteer fire service can be a great solution to our staffing challenges. They might just be the perfect candidate as we don’t have to teach them discipline, respect, honor, loyalty, chain-of-command or teamwork. In return we offer the camaraderie, adrenaline rush, teamwork and sense of value that they miss from active duty. Check out this article at our sister site and think about the “VetNet” we could create in the Volunteer Fire Service. There’s an army of volunteers out there just waiting to be asked. Recruiting a Soldier|Firefighter may be the perfect fit for your volunteer fire department. … Continue reading “VetNet” To Help Military Veterans Re-Enter Civilian Life

My Bologna Has a First Name

Grabbing and keeping the public’s attention for the purpose of promoting a product, service or a cause has become a billion dollar business.

As fire and emergency medical services struggle to find or maintain its identity in this generation of flux, what can we learn from the advertising and marketing industry that will help us build our brand?

A recent web-surfing adventure randomly brought me back to this commercial I remember from when I was a kid:

That jingle first hit the TV screen in 1973 but all I need to hear is the start of the theme music, and I can’t help but break into song. Now that’s a lasting marketing message.

When you market your fire department for the purpose of gaining financial support, recruiting new volunteers or simply building company and community pride — do you have a theme, jingle, motto, or tagline that makes your message memorable? Is it integrated into all of your community education, relations and recruitment efforts? Continue reading “My Bologna Has a First Name”

The Jury is Out on Criminal Background Checks

What you should and can ask an applicant about their criminal history is a smokey issue. What you can legally do with the information you receive can obscur your visibility even more.

As happens pretty frequently, I had a fire chief call recently to ask for some advice on what has become a bit of an arresting matter in his volunteer fire department.

It appears that a prospective candidate for membership was being honest when they checked off the little box on their fire department application that asks whether or not they’ve been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense. Essentially, they were being honest about being dishonest — now that’s what I call irony.

What to do? Deny the application. Case closed. Simple as that. Right? Continue reading “The Jury is Out on Criminal Background Checks”

Where is Recruitment on your list?

I just visited a volunteer fire department’s web site based on a referral from Facebook and was disappointed, if not dismayed, to find that “Recruitment” was listed at number 11 out of 18 options on their site’s sidebar menu.

I did a double-take just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything obvious, like perhaps that the menu items were in alphabetical order and that’s why recruitment fell lower on the list. Nope. Not the case here.

Now in their defense, I don’t know too much about their fire company other than what I learned from their web site, and maybe they’re flush with members and recruitment doesn’t need to be their number 1 priority. Or, perhaps that’s simply the order in which the pages were added to the site and that’s how they fell. Intentional or not, there appears to be no rhyme or reason as to the order of the links, which is apparent in this list: Home, Apparatus, History, Archives, Events, Downloads, Guest Book, Members, Members Zone, Photos, and finally: Recruitment. Continue reading “Where is Recruitment on your list?”

Burning Question: Is a Co-Op Campaign Right for You?

Has your fire department ever considered conducting a co-op advertising and marketing program for recruiting new volunteers, promoting fire and life safety or just generally good public relations?

Maybe you should. Think of the benefits of partnering with a local business, corporation or even another community group or non-profit organization. Cost sharing is the most obvious outcome but there are several underlying themes that could benefit both parties in the partnership.

A recent article in Fast Company Magazine got me thinking once again about what the fire service can learn from other industries and disciplines — both good and bad.

While the article titled “3 Ways to Win in a Brutal Economy” focused on retail businesses, it certainly offered great suggestions that we can apply to our service-driven business. Continue reading “Burning Question: Is a Co-Op Campaign Right for You?”

GX Magazine Catches on to the Soldier-Firefighter Connection

As they often do, the most recent edition of the National Guard’s GX Magazine featured my favorite kind of two-hatter: Those who wear both a soldier’s helmet and a fire helmet. The featured Guardsman is Specialist Rob Fox – a Soldier in the California Army National Guard’s 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and firefighter with the San Diego Fire Department. Read the rest of the story at: SoldierFirefighter.com Continue reading GX Magazine Catches on to the Soldier-Firefighter Connection