Coordinated Attack!

define-active-crotty2If you vent too early, oxygen is introduced and the fire can grow. Put water on the fire without proper ventilation and the trapped heat converts the water to steam and everyone’s survivability is compromised.

A coordinated attack is critical not only in firefighting, but in the volunteer firefighter recruitment process too. While many states and counties, my own included, have created web sites and campaigns for regional based volunteer firefighter recruitment, Oregon has taken it a step further by creating a networking site for fire department recruiters to collaborate and share best practices: OregonFireRecruitmentNetwork.

Similar to my goal for to serve as a national clearinghouse for recruitment and retention resources, their stated purpose is to allow better communications regarding finding new volunteer firefighters, sharing and implementing new programs, and sharing ideas to benefit the fire industry as a whole – all needed resources in the fight against the decline in volunteer firefighters across our nation.

I think that their group is a natural extension of what I see as a growing national trend towards joining forces among volunteer fire departments in promoting a unified message and leveraging the power in numbers. As my 10+ year old forecast for the volunteer fire service comes to fruition, “The survival and success of the volunteer fire service relies on our ability to create more opportunities for more people to volunteer less time” – many volunteer fire departments struggle to muster a team of recruiters or the resources necessary to be effective at recruiting in this world of ever-increasing competition for potential volunteers. Thus, pooling resources and leveraging what others have done can help you get your recruitment message on the street faster than going it alone.

In the March-2012 article on SAFER Volunteer Workforce Solutions in their On Scene magazine, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Volunteer and Combination Officers Section suggests three keys to success:

  • Dedicate a Volunteer Coordinator in Each Fire Company and Region
  • Centralize the Application Process
  • Obtain Support and Buy-in at All Levels

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of volunteer firefighter recruitment or a rookie recruiter looking to break into the field, here’s a brief sampling of state, county and regional recruitment efforts that might serve as a standard to shoot for:

And if you’re serious about attacking the most logical connection to the volunteer fire service:

Recruitment Resources & Creative Consultants:

Have you found a great county, state or regional volunteer firefighter recruitment resource? Share it in the comments and we’ll be sure to share it with our followers @FireRECRUITER.