Most volunteer departments usually look for new recruits to join their department if they are citizens but how many department would allow citizens to form a group to support their efforts that does not require them to be emergency providers. Fire Corps has been one type of group that have many tasks they could do for a department from apparatus cleaning or repair, raising funds, and helping with paperwork etc.. At one time I heard of a group of citizens that wanted to help a department by letter writing to our county and state officials about problems the department was facing.
Today many volunteer departments face lack of members or raising funds a department needs. If there are citizens in a community that would offer for free their knowledge to help their local department with their problems. Some organized groups like Scout groups, Coast Guard Auxiliary, church or local community group can offer some of their assistant by rental of the fire hall for functions or raising funds to help the department or provide services that would benefit the department. Some of their group could become associate or honorary members as another way to help. A Scout group or USCGA could be a way to bring in new recruits.
I have seen some volunteer department that have done well in their communities and others that are falling behind and need to reach out not just for members but help from their citizens to help support them or help them with their efforts. A lot of it is some departments will not reach out and try to keep problems internal not letting others know what is happening. A lot volunteer departments needed to start reaching out to get the help they need to keep going strong.
Agreed! We found that there were citizens with abilities and talents and also who were connected that wouldnt be members of our Dept. but that would support us in functions outside the Dept. We worked with individuals to bring about tasks or activities that we needed help in or support. IE: we had a member of our community who was a retired National Geographic photographer who offered his services to the Dept in taking pictures of the Dept activities- calls and social events. Similar to a historian. This also helped in our public image by posting photos to the local Medea for story's in the press. This all came about by brainstorming of ways citizens in the community could assist the Dept outside of actual membership and response.
and lets not forget the disabled citizens as well many of them would be thrilled to help in any way they can.
My wife is deaf and has expressed the desire to teach basic sign language to any who want to learn it.
this would be a valuable tool even in a fire fight in the event of radio and communications failure
Many departments have 'associate members' or 'administrative members' who would fit that description. They are not required to be trained firefighters or EMTs but use bring other skills to the table. They may have administrative experience and are able keep the books in auditable shape or use their time for fundraising and community outreach. In most departments that have admin members those members are not eligible to vote on issues on the operations side.
And then of course you often have a 'ladies' auxiliary.