Use these resources to continue growing your crew and community outreach
As a volunteer firefighter, you have enormous responsibilities. Do you find yourself wishing that you had more hands to help carry the weight of this responsibility at times? There could be people in your community who have the desire to join your family of brothers and sisters, but don’t know how to start the process. Implementing an effective recruitment plan can ultimately help to save more lives.
Establish a strong online presence
Recruitment is quickly becoming an online process. The Aberdeen Group completed a study that revealed 73 percent of millennials had found their last job through a social media site. Create the following material and give it a home on social media pages as well as a user-friendly and informative website, which can be created at no cost:
- Videos and images—In today’s world, attention spans are decreasing, so visual elements are essential. Set your crew apart with videos or images that portray the heart of your department. What’s your culture like? What’s your mission? What’s most rewarding about being a volunteer firefighter?
- Advertising materials—Create postcards, social media posts, business cards, posters, invitations and more to distribute to your community. Spreading awareness and increasing recognition for your department will go a long way. The National Volunteer Fire Council has a program called “Make Me a Firefighter” that provides departments like yours free resources and marketing materials.
- Stories of inspiration—Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great places for you to develop a following. These sites allow you to share up-to-date information about everything you are doing with your community and interact with possible recruits, and are also fitting places for heartwarming testimonials. A volunteer firefighter with Cross Roads Fire Department, Amanda Brazil, said to CBC news: “There's a reward, personally, in terms of having my kids see that I've stepped up to help my community, and for my daughter it's that women can do whatever they want to do.” Stories like these can inspire your community to join you, or help them be more aware of your needs. Don’t hesitate to spread information through appropriate and helpful networks.
Join forces and hold events for your community
Williamsville, NY—“Operation Special Delivery”: A success story
Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company partnered with a popular restaurant in town, Pesci’s Pizza & Wings, to carry out a recruitment tactic. For one evening, Chief Scott Switzer and his crew became the delivery drivers. The firefighters drove the department’s apparatus, walked up to doorsteps in their turnout gear and delivered pizza and wings to customers who had ordered that day. If the customer could prove to the crew that their smoke detectors worked, their food was free from Pesci’s. If not, the firefighter installed either a new detector or replaced batteries—also for free. On top of this, the customer would receive a dry chemical fire extinguisher for no cost at all. This developed a bond between the members of the department and the community, as well as a chance for them to discuss how to become a part of their crew.
Look for local businesses that you can team up with to make a difference in your community. This will help you make connections and network, which can make a significant impact in your recruitment progress as well.
Working toward a better future
Recruiting new members isn’t an easy task, but developing a strong presence online and in your community may be the avenue you need to reach future crew members. It’s possible that some may not know they have potential to join your team or the desire to help save lives, but you can be there to guide them down the path to get there.
Brittany Wolf, Marketing
Brittany attends Penn State Harrisburg in pursuit of her Communications degree. When she isn’t studying, traveling or playing volleyball, she is spending time outside with her two dogs or planning her wedding.