My name is Ron Chilston and I am the Assistant Chief for the Jerome Fire Department in Jerome Az. We are a small mountainside community in Northern Arizona that is on the National Registry of Historic Places. We are a town of 444 on 1 square mile, yet our small town gets 1.5 million visitors per year because of it's Historic relevance as well as close proximity to Sedona Az. Our response area is 200 square miles and we are a paid on-call department with 2 full-time employees. The Fire Chief and myself as a Duty Officer.
I would like to get some input or begin the conversation around recruitment and retention. Our department has been working under the Town of Jerome as a municipal department since 1899. Since we are a small town, the options for rentals is very limited and you must live in Jerome to be a JFD member. We've tried a number of things to recruit and retain members, but keeping them active is sometimes another thing entirely. We train each and every Thursday from 5 to 7 and have excellent gear, equipment and apparatus. The challenge is getting the guys and girls to show up at incidents, not just train. Training is important, but putting those skills to work in a real situation is invaluable.
Sorry for the many words, but I would appreciate anyone's insight into this hot topic.