FDIC 2021: Busting Through Recruitment and Retention Challenges: Developing Your Game Plan

How can departments cost effectively and successfully recruit and retain volunteer firefighters?
(Dr. Candace McDonald, YouTube)

Monday, August 2, 2021: 8:00 PM – 12:00 PM
Wabash 2

Candace McDonald
Firefighter, NREMT-B
Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association

The volunteer fire service is experiencing its biggest challenge to date with volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention. With today’s era of competing demands for the volunteer/potential volunteer firefighter, the question becomes, how can departments cost effectively and successfully recruit and retain volunteer firefighters? This workshop is based on a three-year doctoral study on firefighter retention and offers participants research-based/proven strategies to reduce turnover and increase recruitment among all generations of volunteers. These strategies are not based on costly recruitment campaigns and incentives; they offer practical professional applications that are easy to implement. You will learn strategies to help overcome the biggest barriers to retention and recruitment. Through discussion and hands-on activities, you will leave with the skills to draft a personalized plan to increase and maintain members. You will receive a planning document for creating your own plan and will leave with strategies designed to fit your department’s needs.

The workshop will start with a review of research findings on the key factors contributing to recruitment and retention issues and will offer a review of research-based strategies needed to increase firefighter recruitment and retention. Once the review is complete, students will participate in discussion surrounding each strategy that will empower them to brainstorm to develop solutions custom to their department needs. Students will leave with the workshop with easy to implement strategies designed to fit their specific department needs.

Students attending this workshop will learn strategies to help overcome the biggest barriers to retention and recruitment in the fire service. Through both discussion and hands-on activities participants will be able to draft a plan for developing internal programs to increase retention and recruitment rates. Students will leave the session with easy to implement strategies.

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