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I am looking for any ideas on recruitment within my community that will really jump out and catch the attention of the public. If you’ve read anything I’ve posted before you’ll know that I’m a captain of a smaller department that turns around 300 calls a year give or take. What I’m trying to do is get our faces out more in the community other than when someone needs our help. The men that run out of 2 house now are some of the best firefighters I know and I’m trying to add more great firefighters to the bunch. It seems to me that nobody has the time to dedicate to the service anymore (I have my struggles as well) but I know that there has got to be more willing men and women out there that are wanting to be involved. So my question is how exactly do we as a department go out there and get them while at the same time boosting our public relations with those that aren’t interested? Any thoughts would be great. I’m just trying to get some ideas that I might be able to lay on the table and see what the higher ups think. Thank you all.

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Hi Dan -

I don't mean to oversimplify things but I think you answered your own question when you said: "Go out there and get them while at the same time boosting our public relations." Take every opportunity offered to you, and even some that aren't, to be in the community with the people you serve: Fire prevention, inspections, smoke/CO detector inspections and installations, community days, senior citizen and chamber of commerce presentations, non-fire service related community service projects, driver training, etc.

Your opportunities to recruit are only limited by your imagination and you don't have to be in uniform to do it. Go where the people are: school, work, church, sporting events and even incident scenes. Word of mouth and personal recruiting is the most effective means of capturing their interest,whether in large group settings or one-on-one. And the beauty of it is - it doesn't cost you anything.

The number of members in your department should equal the number of recruiters you have selling or at least bird-dogging for you. Work as a team to build a bigger, better team.

And never forget to "ask for the sale" and close the deal. Anything else is just conversation.

Hope that helps. If you're interested in other things that have worked for me and might work for you, visit my web site at: www.tigerschmittendorf.com - it's free.

Good luck. Let me know how I can be of assistance.

Stay safe. Train often.
Dan,

We have done a couple of things:

1. We started an explorer program, granted we only have 4-5 explorers but in the first year that we did it we had an explorer that joined after graduation. We also have one that will join after graduation this year.

2. If you can do it expand your recruitment area. We checked with our city insurance carrier to make sure there were no issues with recruiting from other areas. We are kind of unique in the aspect that we are landlocked, we have Iowa across the river and Wisconin to the north of us. We set up a radius of approximately 2-4 miles outside the city and have brought personnel into the department that way. Most of the personnel that we have brought into our department are from Iowa because of the fact that they are right across the bridge from us and that they are served by a career department.

We also have a recruitment poster that we have used that works out pretty well. If you want a copy let me know. I am at FDIC right now so it will be a little while before I could get it to you.

Hope this helped.

Stay Safe!!

Joe
Joe,
If you have time maybe you could email a picture of your poster to me, or whatever would be easy for you that would be great, I would like to see it. No rush I’m just trying to get some ideas on what can be done. Let me know what would be the best for you on the poster.
Dan,

I will send it when I get back from FDIC.

Joe

Dan Rice said:
Joe,
If you have time maybe you could email a picture of your poster to me, or whatever would be easy for you that would be great, I would like to see it. No rush I’m just trying to get some ideas on what can be done. Let me know what would be the best for you on the poster.
Joe _ I'd be interested in seeing the poster as well. I'm at FDIC too.

Joe Heim said:
Dan,

I will send it when I get back from FDIC.

Joe

Dan Rice said:
Joe,
If you have time maybe you could email a picture of your poster to me, or whatever would be easy for you that would be great, I would like to see it. No rush I’m just trying to get some ideas on what can be done. Let me know what would be the best for you on the poster.
Tiger,

I will send it to you also.

Joe
EDFD RECRUITING POSTER.pptTiger & Dan,

Here is the Recruitment Poster we use, it is in powerpoint so you should be able to change it.

Hope it helps.

Stay Safe!!

Joe
Thanks Joe -

Here's my two-cent review of the poster. Please forgive me for being straight forward but I prefer honest feedback.

I like the photo but it could use more information about what is involved or what benefits are available. All it tells them is what they need to do to join.

As we develop these types of marketing materials, we need to step outside of ourselves and put ourselves in the citizen candidate's shoes, as if we knew nothing about the fire service. ALWAYS incluce a "call to action" that motivates them to get off the couch and at least inquire about joining.

Hope that helps.

PS - There is no apostrophe in "wants."
Attachments:
Here's the full version of the same poster.
Attachments:
I would encourage you to be consistent. I mean, don't just recrute when your low on manpower. Recrute all the time, you never know when you will have an opening.

Be sure to focus on the benifits to being a volunteer. Some areas offer tax breaks discounts on home insurance, make sure you make prospects aware of these up front.

Invite them to sit in on a training day or a meeting night. That way they can see what your all about without a commitment. I had a friend who was taken a aback by the training and amount of work we are required to do and sadley he didn't join but he knew what he was getting into up front. You could consider inviting the public to a training day to up your pr, and show the citizens that you serve what their fire department is doing to be ready to help them when the time comes.

Hope I could help.
That's good advice Eddie -

Allowing them to test drive us also allows us to test drive them too. The fact is - it's not for everyone. The earlier we can help them figure out whether it is - or it isn't - the better off everyone will be.

I created a prospective member guide to perform the same, what I call: "pre-weeding" process.

I've attached a copy for your review and comment. Let me know what you think of it.

Stay safe. Train often.
Attachments:
Its really a win win for both the prospective member and the department, in the sense that you don't waste time and expenses on training and outfitting a new person only to have them quit or stop responding a few months down the road. This is the one delima that volunteers face that career and even combination departments don't face. If your on a career dept. if you don't respond you could get fired and replaced, not that easy with volunteers. Sometimes their is no one to fill that space, and the public suffers.

Anything we can do as firefighters (vol. or paid) to garner the support of our respective communities is in our best interest. We are providing them with a service and having their support is just part of good customer service. IMHO.

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