Hiring firefighters will always be a challenge due to the unconventional hours and specific skills needed. This task can be even more complex for volunteer fire departments. However, a few promising strategies can ease the strain a little.
Departments that actively reach out to the community and volunteers' family members may have more luck both recruiting and holding onto their firefighters. The Shinnston Volunteer Fire Department in rural West Virginia has seen great success with this approach, serving 10,000 residents members with over 40 firefighters.
Including spouses in auxiliary fire service work and holding local outreach events can keep bonds between department and community strong.
Managing volunteer fire departments is a unique challenge. This is especially true when career firefighters also volunteer on the side in other communities. Use of technology, like public safety workforce software, is helping stations coordinate multiple schedules and ensure that asset assignments are properly tracked. It's a great way to simplify processes while making sure that shortage gaps are filled.
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