Firefighter Recruitment for Today

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Office

Firefighter recruitment. One of those topics that’s like the weather: everyone is talking about it, but nobody is doing anything about it. What fire department out there–career, combination, all-volunteer–doesn’t have a tough “row to how” when it comes to finding and retaining good people?

I’m seeing more postings on social media platforms, e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, promoting social media infographicfirefighter employment opportunities in various locations around the USA and Canada. That’s a good thing, for sure, because if people don’t even know about the opportunities that are out there…but I don’t think that using social media to promote job announcements is any kind of “silver bullet” for fire service organizations looking to attract quality people to their “tribe.”

Looking back over my past blogging posts I’ve written on the subject of recruitment and retention a couple of time…I thought some of you might benefit for a bit of “refresher reading” on the topic.

Why did you want to become a Firefighter?

20150802_CFEMS StaffThat question has been around for generations, no? As leaders in Fire and EMS organizations, do we truly know the answer for ourselves and others in our organizations? If we are to continue to recruit and training and retain the individuals necessary to adequately staff our organizations in the coming years, perhaps we would be better served to ponder the question.  More so, what are the expectations of the next generation of firefighters? Read More

Want More Women for Your Fire Department?

So perhaps you need to focus those recruiting efforts at youth sporting events for girls, and young girls at that. Because Dodgers- Youth Sports Girls Softball Team Ages 13+by the time they reach college-age they’ve already got that “mental picture” of what kinds of careers are for women—and that picture probably doesn’t include them wearing turnout gear. Read More

Transition for the Future of Fire and EMS

My profession is currently going through an evolution. It was once perceived as, and sometimes unfortunately still is viewed as, a stereotypical “blue collar” job. The impression being that all it entails for one to be successful is that you be a “chest beating, knuckle dragging” Neanderthal. Nothing could be further from the truth these days. Read More

CampHERO Teaches Girls “Can Do”

CampHERO Camper 1“We really try to focus on changing their perceptions about what girls can do in life, whether that’s in protective services or any other endeavour as they grow up,” said Roman. “I go back to the research. If society at large can have an influence on how girls think about their roles growing up, then perhaps we can become a positive force through CampHERO in shaping their perceptions about women in the protective services.” Read More

Fire Camps for Girls & Young Women

In a previous post, I shined the “spotlight” on CampHERO, a fire camp designed to show young girls that they can become a firefighter, law enforcement officer, or EMS provider. I asked you readers to provide information about similar fire camps around the USA and Canada and you came up “in spades”! Check out some of these other camps that are working to give young girls and women an opportunity to experience life in public safety. Read More

Thoughts on Firefighter Recruitment Media

The job market, depending upon where your department is located, has become very competitive–for the employers. 20151012_Woman FF MedicFor volunteer departments, their very survival is dependent upon their ability to recruit new members to maintain their ability to provide services. How “up to the job” is your printed and on-line recruitment materials? (You do have recruitment materials, right?) Read More

What is your department doing to find good people of all colors, creeds, nationalities, religions, gender, and more that it needs to successfully meet its mission?


About Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec makes his home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, [email protected].