It’s a new year and a new opportunity to re-align our focus and our commitment to volunteer enlistment. This is the question I ask at the start of every presentation, class or simply conversations with others as passionate about the survival and success of the volunteer fire service as I am.
If you’re not focused on recruitment and retention, what are you focused on? All that other ‘stuff’ – fire apparatus, stations and equipment – the widgets of the fire service – are 100% useless without the proper quantity and quality of people to make it all work.
What percentage of your total operating budget is your organization dedicating to recruitment and retention? 50%, 25%, 10%? I urge you to dedicate at least 1% of your total operating budget to ensuring you have enough of the one resource you need to make the other 99% of your assets work: your people! Put your money where your mouth is. If you can’t afford to do that, you and your community likely can’t afford the alternatives to a lack of human resources.