SAFER: Every Volunteer Department Has a Role
We have been very busy since being awarded our Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant a few months ago. Through the efforts of the SAFER staff and the Recruitment and Retention Committee, we have implemented our first round of the tuition reimbursement program (FASNY HELP), done numerous presentations and started the preparatory work for our statewide media campaign. As word continues to spread, so does the level of participation towards our goal of recruiting 16,000 new volunteer firefighters in the next four years.
Even though the application period for the first round of tuition reimbursement has passed, it is not too soon to encourage your members to participate during the spring, 2012 semester. They can go to www.fasny.com to obtain a program handbook, which includes all necessary forms to apply. Yet, despite all we have accomplished, there is much more to do and we need your help to get it done.
The programs supported by the SAFER grant are all designed to create minimal additional administrative work on local departments. But there is a part you must play for us to meet our statewide and individual goals. All in all, local fire departments will only be asked to do four simple things. First, is to maintain National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliance. Second, is to stay up-to-date with National Fire Incident Report System (NFIRS) filings. Third, is to participate in an annual NYS Fire Service Census each June. And, lastly, file an updated Fire Department Information Form with the FASNY Volunteer Programs Office.
In some respects, the single most important part of the SAFER grant is the proper handling of new recruit referrals received by the FASNY Volunteer Programs Office. For us to achieve this goal, we need the assistance of each local volunteer department. Towards this end, we have placed a downloadable Fire Department Information Form on the FASNY website. Each local department needs to fill out this form and fax or email it back to us. This simple form will enable us to have all the contact information relating to your department’s new membership point of contact. If your department doesn’t already have one, we are also asking each department to set up a separate email address, such as recruitment@XYZfiredepartment.com, to receive membership requests and questions.
As described in the SAFER grant application, each “Fire Department Recruitment Coordinator” is really just a new term for your membership chairman, the chief responsible for recruitment or any person who handles new members. When we implement our web-based referral system in mid-2012, it is mission critical to have a local department point of contact pre-loaded in the system. This will enable us to “grab” that recruit right away while his or her interest is peaked. While we all know that recruiting new members is always a challenge, this automatic referral system will be an invaluable tool if we build it as it is designed. This may seem like a tremendous effort but if the leadership of each department gets these forms back in a timely fashion we can hit the ground running in 2012. Forms can be faxed to (518) 694-3137 or emailed to HELP@fasny.com.
FASNY staff is working every day to make this SAFER grant successful and improve the volunteer fire service. Now it’s your turn – get your Fire Department Information Form in today!
Feel Free to contact me in the Northern Regions of NYS for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org