Volunteer Firemen’s Insurance Services, Inc., better known as VFIS, recently activated a new one-stop-shop online resource for fire departments - ResponderHelp. Free of charge, VFIS has consolidated a vast library of resources, ranging from sample standard operating guidelines (SOGs), technical bulletins by industry experts, checklists, informational flyers, and articles/research papers on a variety of fire service topics.
The departure of a firefighter provides an often missed opportunity for valuable data collection. Through conducting exit surveys with each departure, both career and volunteer fire departments gain a final opportunity to receive critical insight about how firefighters perceived their experience with the department. Here is how to get an exit survey started in your fire department.
Here are three ideas you can implement today to help your volunteer fire department with recruitment. 1) Create a Membership Interest/Inquiry Form on Website. 2). Simplify Volunteer Fire Department Application. 3). Guide Volunteers Through On-boarding Process.
My grandfather, Jerry Levitan, Sr, was a volunteer firefighter in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for over twenty years. He didn’t start his firefighting career until he was 48 years old, completing fire academy training with recruits 25 years younger. He went on to have a successful tenure, serving as captain, lead instructor for department driver training, and as a trustee on his department’s executive board. Here are the five most important lessons my grandfather taught me about the fire service.
Our volunteer department started playing pickup ultimate Frisbee one Saturday per month from May to October. We create a schedule at our April meeting, post it on the bulletin board in our meeting room, and email it out to all the members. There are a few ultimate Frisbee fans on the department who had been meeting up behind the firehouse randomly a few times per month for a pickup game. We proposed making it a formal activity for the department two years ago and it’s been a success.
“Communication breakdown” is cited in almost every after action report. Internal department politics and poor mutual aid relationships are problems that plague every fire station in the country at some point. If only there was a solution… Well, that is where the power of food comes in.
Time is too valuable to be wasted. Fire departments must maximize the limited use of time we have our firefighters together, especially as we continue to do more, with less. If your fire department hasn’t already done so, you must arrange an organized, consistent, and well-thought out training program. Use a drill calendar or schedule to get started.