Hey Cameron, Not sure what issues you may have at your department so will start with the basics we went through this ourselves recently and our tactics have seemed to work so far, we purchased an old lighted sign and advertised for members this brought our membership from as low as 18 now up to 25 with 4 applications on file ( we can use these app's against the members who fail to maintain the minimum and be selective of who we take in ) also have your membership talk to there friends, neighbours and new people moving into the area. Onto retention, we done several things to increase the morale of the department and create a friendship/family we help our members when they do home renovations( we have several trades man in our department and when they see they could benefit themselves by helping someone else plus the fact it feels good to help out others (builds morale), also we allow our membership use of the hall and some equipment, at special Holidays we often have our family members involved around the fire hall for decoration parties as well as several get togethers over the year that get the members significant others, children and friends together. These are some ideas that have changed our department and if you haven't tried any of these then I am sure others have other ideas they could share as well. Take care, stay safe.
I echo Art's comment. Go to Tiger Schmittendorf's page on here (www.firefighternation.com/profile/tiger5).
He's one of the best Recruitment and Retention resources that NYS has to offer. In fact, my organization, The Firemen's Association of the State of New York just had him present his Toolkits for Recruitment and Retention at our annual Legislative conference, and he captivated the audience.
He'd be happy to help.
in one of the dept i voli for we use to give away things for the hours you put like let say you put in a 1000 training hours the chief would present you with an leather helmet or you own personial turn out gear to keep for your self.just an thought to keep in mind.
Well my department got a SAFER grant last year for recruitment and retention in the sum of just over 67,000.00. This is how we set it up
for new members - they are given a blue FD T-shirt and sweat shirt. (we used to pay for these ourselves)
1 year of service- they are given a hooded FD sweatshirt
2 years- You get a FD badge with your number on it issued to you. ( cost about $110 each)
3 years- You get a FD wind breaker style jacket
5 years- You get a FD winter coat and get to keep your badge when you leave the FD
6 years- you get a dinner for two at the resturant of your choice
7-9 years- you get a dinner and a one night hotel stay for two ( you get one each year,1 for year 7, 1 for year 8, and 1 for year 9 for a total of three.
10 years you get a ring
15 years you get a watch
30+ years diamond jewlery
We also have two parties each year like this year we had dinner catered in and a band with some events for the kids like the bounce house and ball room and facepainting. Now there is a set limit on how much you can spend on everything but its usually more than enough. it seems to be working very well for us. We have recruited more people in the last six months than we have in the past five years I have been on and We are keeping more people on since we got the grant than we have been able to without it. We also prorated everything so the one lady that has been a member of our department for 35 years received everything listed. I have five years in so I have everything listed up to the five year mark. Its pretty cool I am really glad we got the grant and I hope you guys do to.
[quote]At the end of the 5 years, you must absorb all costs for the new firefighters.[end of quote]
Which is why there have been layoffs in departments who got SAFER grants and the money ran out with no new money to fund.
The federal government is not in the business of continually supporting local fire department efforts. Volunteer or career, we need to learn to use their seed money to become sustainably self-sufficient.