Firefighting, Leadership, Volunteer Fire Service

Succession Planning in Volunteer and Combination Departments

Issue 8 and Volume 167.

By G. HOWARD BLYTHE Mimicking the country’s strong beliefs of self-determination, volunteer fire departments have held elections to select their leaders for centuries. However, popular elections are not necessarily mechanisms for selecting the most qualified or the best candidate for the position. The popular election does exactly what it states-it selects the candidate who is the most popular. Ask yourself, “How mission effective are our elections?” If you are like most volunteer fire departments, the answer is, “Not as effective as they should be.” From the days of the Rattle Watch in Dutch New Amsterdam to today, volunteer firefighting efforts have thrived in North America. As our country has evolved, so have the demands placed on its volunteers. However, in the truest sense of dedication and service, the response of the volunteer fire service has similarly evolved. At the beginning of the 21st century, volunteer fire departments are being more…

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