The Task of Recruiting Firefighters is tough.
It’s no secret that the number of volunteers active in the fire service has been on a steady decline for years, nationwide.
The increasing training and commitment requirements, coupled with a societal change that demands more time at work for young people, makes for a challenging recruiting environment.
It's just harder to recruit and maintain enough volunteer or paid-on-call firefighters and get them to respond to calls than it used to be. Chief Joe Tuckey of the Tecumseh, MI
In a report from The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) titled "U.S. Fire Department Profile Through 2014," states - 69 percent of firefighters in the U.S. are volunteer or paid-on-call. The same report records a 12 percent drop in their numbers between 1984 and 2014. At the same time, the population has grown by 27 percent between the 1980 and 2010 census.
In the same period from 1984 - 2014, the number of emergency calls has tripled.
In short, the demand on fire services is increasing, while the firefighter base is shrinking.
How can buying a fire truck be used as a recruiting tools?
In a FireRescue1 online article, Robert R. Rielage offers three keys to recruiting: marketing, community connections, and training. Having a new fire truck roll into the station can be a huge opportunity for combining these 3 keys into one event.
Why did you get in the fire service?
...of course, those are all reasons we do it.
Also, (Let’s be honest), fire trucks are awesome.
The low roar of a diesel engine, lights, chrome, cleaning the truck on a Saturday; those are real reasons
2) Community Connections
When that new truck comes to the station, it’s one of the best marketing opportunities a fire department has. The public rarely sees the truck after that point.
But, when it gets into town, hold an open house,
let people sit in the driver’s seat,
crawl through the cab,
have copies of the spec sheet ready for them to read,
tell them the story of how you bought it,
and, most importantly, ask them if they would like to join.
It doesn’t take a genius to know training is the foundation of every successful fire department. Training on a new apparatus can not only help recruit new members who what to learn. It can also re-ignite the passion in existing members, who may have fallen by the wayside or become lackadaisical in their training attendance.
The fire rescue and other emergency services of a community are essential and will continue to be so. No matter the tool, it is vital to keep the needs of these services before the city, and the search, purchase, and arrival of a fire truck, can help.