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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Time to get SAFER!

The application period for the US DHS SAFER grant program for the recruitment, retention and hiring of firefighters opened today: July 16, 2012.

Applications are due by August 10. “SAFER grants provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, front-line firefighters in their communities,” according to this article on the National Volunteer Fire Council’s website.

The FireRECRUITER has been extremely successful in assisting fire departments and county-based fire service organizations in securing significant SAFER funding when acting as a clearinghouse on behalf of the volunteer fire service in their region. Continue reading “Time to get SAFER!”

Are You Ready to RecruitNY?

SHARED COURTESY OF FASNY and Nell Killoran, Senior Editor, The Volunteer Firefighter [www.FASNY.com and www.abcideabased.com] Images created or modified by FireRECRUITER.com

Erie County is supporting their 94 volunteer fire departments in their VolunteerNY efforts by offering free design and marketing assistance

Recruiting and retaining manpower is one of the greatest challenges, if not the greatest challenge, we face in the volunteer fire service.

To help address this issue, FASNY created and launched the Recruit NY campaign last April in 2011. Hopefully this rings a bell for you and your department was able to draw in some great new recruits from the event. If your department did not participate last year, this is your year to get involved.

As you may or may not remember, the campaign’s objective was primarily to implement a statewide recruitment initiative during National Volunteer Week in April 2011. This new approach saw FASNY, the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, Association of Fire Districts of New York State, Volunteer Fire Police Association of the State of New York and County Fire Coordinators Association of the State of New York all join forces to assist fire departments in expanding their recruitment efforts. This was a first-of-its-kind type of effort and a very successful one, at that. Continue reading “Are You Ready to RecruitNY?”

Video Killed the Recruitment Star

OK, maybe that’s not how the song goes, but I have to thank my good friend Bill Schumm over at FireGeezer.com for doing my FireRECRUITER work for me.

In his February 17th Morning Lineup features (and updated on February 20th), he discusses and demonstrates the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness, of using video as a recruitment tool. While his perspective on why we face the recruitment and retention challenges we do are certainly part of puzzle, the value of his commentary lies in the subliminal call to action that we need to be more creative in creating the solutions.

Certainly, a recruitment video with appropriate visuals and a good, solid message can be effective, but FireGeezer proposes that we need to do something about our culture, our society, to inspire and perpetuate volunteerism. I couldn’t agree more.

However, I feel that before we can tackle the 300 pound elephant of societal viewpoints, we should first look inward at our own culture. No longer can we afford to act as a “secret society” — shunning those who don’t necessarily fit our traditonal demographic or the model of what a firefighter “used to be.” While we must certainly strive towards those who can embrace or already share our value system, reality is that those people come in different shapes and sizes, colors and backgrounds too. Continue reading “Video Killed the Recruitment Star”

Got Cash for College?

Photo Courtesy of http://www.RaisingLaddersPhotography.com

A college education is one of the greatest gifts and rewards we can ever offer a volunteer firefighter.

Giving them the opportunity to earn a college degree makes them more employable. Making them more employable offers them the opportunity to secure and succeed at a better paying job. Succeeding at a better paying job offers them a better opportunity to remain local, allowing them to give their time and dedication to serving your community. That’s what’s called: ROI – Return On Investment.

It’s a relatively simple equation — stuff you don’t even need a college degree to figure out that it can work for your fire department and your fire service. Continue reading “Got Cash for College?”

Funk or Junk? Rockland’s Bravest

The FireRECRUITER’s helmet is off to my good friend and fellow recruiter Frank Hutton and Rockland County’s Creative Approach to the Fire Service Committee for putting forth a great effort in addressing recruitment and retention in their region.

With the help of a SAFER grant from the US Department of Homeland Security, they’ve produced a web site with cool videos for all age groups. B1O1.org features a music video and lots of great content in focusing on challenging prospective volunteers to “Be One of the Ones.”

And they’ve integrated collateral materials to support the web campaign including tent cards, brochures, kiosk, radio and outdoor advertising; and a complete package approach with a program folder wrapper. Continue reading “Funk or Junk? Rockland’s Bravest”

Valuing Volunteers

The organization IndependentSector.org released a document identifying the value of volunteers in America. The study indicates that the average value of a volunteer’s time was $20.85 per hour in 2009.

According to the report, that number was as high as $28.52 here in New York State in 2008.

The question is, how do we apply that dollar figure to the volunteer fire service in such a way that our stakeholders truly understand our value?

Certainly, on a national basis, if we were to multiply that number times the quantity of volunteer firefighters across the country and the average number of hours they spend volunteering — the number would be staggering.

Or would it? Continue reading “Valuing Volunteers”

Make the Right Investments

A Texas city is threatening to stop collecting donations that pay for critical equipment like this hydraulic-lift stretcher.

I typically reserve my commentary type articles for my flagship site but I think it’s appropriate to divest from that practice for the purpose of this post. 

The following article tells of a small city that is threatening to stop collecting a voluntary public donation that has brought thousands and thousands of dollars in mission-critical equipment to their combination (paid/volunteer) fire department. 

Apparently, the threat is in response to a dwindling number of volunteer firefighters in their department, between 5 and 10, as the article points out. Without a lot of volunteers, they apparently don’t feel it’s appropriate to collect a donation on behalf of the volunteer side of their fire department. This situation seems to be causing quite a riff in the department. Continue reading “Make the Right Investments”

VFDs Get Creative About Recruiting

This article from the Post Star in Northern New York State outlines some of the creative steps their fire departments are taking to attract new members.

I applaud their efforts to diversify their membership, both in age and in function. Fire Explorers, Junior Firefighters, and FireCorps members are a great way to expand your work force. Continue reading “VFDs Get Creative About Recruiting”