RECRUITMENT & RETENTION

If Your Home Caught Fire Today... Who Would Put it Out?

Your Fire Department Needs You
If your home were to start on fire today who would put out that fire? For a vast majority of America the people who will put out that fire will be volunteers. The men and women responding will be the same people who are also your business owners, doctors, lawyers, contractors, plumbers and bank tellers. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council (www.nfvc.org) in the United States there are just over 30,000 fire departments. Only 2,000 of these departments have a 100% full time paid staff. The remaining 28,000 fill their ranks with citizens donating their time. Unfortunately the number of people willing and/or able to join the local fire department is diminishing. In 1984 there were almost 900,000 individuals in the volunteer fire service. Today that number is dipping below 800,000 individuals. Yet suburban communities (who typically can not afford full time fire protection) continue to grow.

There are a number of reasons that can account for the drop in memberships. Training standards have become stricter. As such more time doing training drills and gaining certifications is needed. More households are either dual income or single parent families. For many of these families child care is difficult enough with out adding all the unknowns associated with fire/emergency calls. Additionally the recruitment techniques used by the fire service can be lacking. Many departments only recruit new members by word of mouth. Person interested in joining may never be able to if they do not know a current member on a personal basis.

There are many reasons why a person should join their local fire service. 

Community service, this idea may seem generic and idealistic but think of it this way. When you make a donation of money, you do not truly see the good that donation does. When you donate your time in the fire service you will see, first hand, the good your donation of time brings. That leads right into the next reason to join, self esteem. People in the Fire service know they are unique and special, respected as heroes by all. This esteem and the training bolsters an individual?s leadership potential, making them more marketable for promotions in their regular career environments. The fire service can also improve your health. The work and training does require some physical exertion. Many departments have workout equipment to help keep members in shape. There are many more positives too numerous to list here.

Keep in mind also that not every member of a volunteer fire department runs into burning buildings. If you ever had the childhood dream of riding on a big red fire truck, but feel you just cannot walk into a fire, please still look into joining. Volunteer departments always need people to maintain equipment and the trucks. During fires volunteer departments need extra personal for crowd control, traffic direction and even persons to run for extra refinements as firefighters become dehydrated.

I hope you can see that your volunteer fire department needs you just as much as your community needs to have a fire department. I also hope you can see there are many roles to be played by people from all walks of life and ability. Finally I ask that if you ever did have a childhood dream to be a firefighter that you contact you local department and see if by helping them out, you can fulfill that dream.

Link to MN Fire Departments with websites: [Click Here]

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How do I become a firefighter in Minnesota?

Is there a mandatory age requirement for retirement?

How can I become qualified to fight forest fires?

How many fire departments are there in Minnesota?

Retention and Recruitment