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Fire Science Recruitment And Retention Of The Volunteer Fire Dept

1882 words - 8 pages

"Volunteer Fire Department Recruitment and Retention"May 15, 2003John Jay College of Criminal Justice Volunteer Fire Department 2AbstractThe recruitment and retention problems in the volunteer fire department arebecoming more evident in today's society. There are many challenges facing theseissues. The physical demands and time demands associated with training, runningemergency calls, maintaining station equipment, fundraising, and operating a non-profitorganization are intense. Today, more than in past years it requires strong leadership andcoordination to make the fire service a place where people want to give their time.(Bush, Schaenman, & Thiel, 1998) History of the Volunteer Fire Service in America The history of the United States volunteer fire service began in 1648 in NewAmsterdam, founded by Peter Stuyvesant. Recognizing the need to secure the city fromfire he appointed four fire wardens whose efforts in fire prevention and extinctionincluded chimney laws, bucket brigades, simple ladders, and hand-pumped engines, allcontrolled by a loose organized group of volunteers. Hose companies supplied the waterto the engines and applied it to the fires. Hook and ladder companies were responsiblefor rescue, ventilation, and overhaul. Closely related to how it is today. By the mid-nineteenth century the volunteer fire departments were for the most part well organized,but at the same time extremely large, rowdy, and unwilling to adopt the new technologyof the steam engine. The resistance to this change, publicized fights, pressure from theinsurance companies and influential citizens along with politics, ethnic tension, greaterfire risks, increasing population, and a decline in the quality of membership led to theeventual end of volunteer fire departments in large cities. Thus, a change occurred from Volunteer Fire Department 3volunteer to career firefighters. (www.nvfc.org/pdf/retention_and_recruitment.pdf) Currently in the United States, both volunteer and career firefighters supply fireprotection. The volunteer fire departments outnumber the career departments. However,as changes in the fire service continue, volunteer departments are diminishing. The mainissues surrounding the demise of the volunteer fire departments are recruitment andretention. Recruitment and Retention ProblemsAccording to Bush, Schanman, and Thiel (1998) there are a number of factorssupporting the recruitment and retention problems in the United States volunteer service.The problems that are most commonly mentioned by fire service leaders are: Time Demands` - The two income family and working multiple jobs - Increased training time demands- Higher emergency call volume- Additional demands within the department (fund raising, administrative) Training Requirements- Higher...

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