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…”


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?”

Can you rise to the challenge?

An article posted to FirefighterNation.com today outlines the challenges faced by volunteer fire departments in Pennsylvania in recruiting and retaining their members. Although these types of articles are becoming all too frequent, this one in particular is better than most in that it focuses on the positives of being a volunteer firefighter — not all the negatives. I’ve cited many examples of what not to say if you’re actually looking to solve your R&R challenges in a previous post titled “Is this our best approach?” Too often, we hand a prospective candidate all of the reasons and excuses why they wouldn’t join on a silver platter. Continue reading “Can you rise to the challenge?”

FireRECRUITER Goes to Indy

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. Here’s all the details from http://tigerschmittendorf.com/2011/03/07/x-box-live/. See you in Indy. Look me up. Continue reading FireRECRUITER Goes to Indy

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”

A Touch of Gray

This article from Long Island NY talks about an often-overlooked audience in the volunteer fire service today: 40+.

Joining later in life is becoming more the norm
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. Continue reading “A Touch of Gray”

The Art of Speed-Recruiting

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.  Continue reading “The Art of Speed-Recruiting”

Venturing down a new path to the Volunteer Fire Service

As we discussed in my netcast on recruitment and retention last night at http://www.firefighternetcast.com, programs like Venturing, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, Cub Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs and certainly Explorers and Junior Firefighters, etc. are all breeding grounds and a feeder system for youth development into the fire service.
Continue reading Venturing down a new path to the Volunteer Fire Service

CCVFA Publishes Report on Firefighters Behaving Badly

The fire service has a long-standing reputation as pillars of the community; the social epicenter of the community and as a vocation that citizens trust the most. 

However, reckless and inappropriate conduct by a small minority of the nation’s fire service is eroding the high moral ground occupied by firefighters says a White Paper sponsored by the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association, (CVVFA).  Continue reading “CCVFA Publishes Report on Firefighters Behaving Badly”