The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) just launched the department portal component of its new Make Me a Firefighter volunteer recruitment campaign. Departments can now sign up to join the campaign and showcase their volunteer opportunities.
Volunteer firefighters make up 69 percent of the nation’s fire service, yet the number of volunteers has declined by about 12 percent since 1984. At the same time, call volume has nearly tripled. In addition, the average age of the volunteer fire service is increasing as departments are finding it difficult to reach millennials – those within the 18-34 age range.
To help departments counter these trends and increase the number of volunteers, the NVFC was awarded a SAFER grant from FEMA to conduct a nationwide recruitment campaign. The first component of the Make Me a Firefighter campaign consists of a department portal where volunteer and combination fire departments can register for the campaign and post their volunteer opportunities. Starting August 1, the NVFC will launch a public web site allowing potential volunteers to search for opportunities and connect with their local department.
This summer and fall, the NVFC will also be releasing resources through the campaign to help local fire departments recruit members. This includes recruitment ads and materials that departments can customize and localize using an online materials generator; tools to help departments reach target audiences such as millennials, women, and minorities; and training to assist departments in conducting a successful recruitment program. NVFC research has shown that there is strong interest in volunteering among millennials and minority audiences, and helping departments reach these largely untapped markets is a main goal of the campaign.
Learn more about the Make Me a Firefighter campaign and the department portal by watching this video, and share it with others facing recruitment challenges: