Leadership

FIREFIGHTER RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION IDEAS YOU CAN USE

Issue 10 and Volume 157.

BY WALTER A. MORRIS Rockland County, New York, like many areas throughout the nation, has felt the impact of the declining number of men and women volunteering for the fire and emergency medical services. The county’s 26 all-volunteer fire departments protect 285,000 residents in an area located about 40 miles northwest of New York City. These departments face the same recruitment and retention limitations identified in national fire service studies: a more mobile society, more demands on time, both parents working, other involvements, demanding training standards, and an increasing number of alarms. Five years ago, recruit and advanced fire training classes were regularly canceled because of lack of enrollment. Through the effective use of a strong mutual-aid system, Rock-land’s volunteer firefighters continue to mitigate large fires, haz-mat incidents, and other emergencies. Volunteer fire service and EMS leaders applied the mutual-aid concept to the recruitment and retention issue, setting up several…

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