Tag Archives: volunteer

Creating a Clearinghouse

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Patience is some times not one of my better virtues. I’ve been kicking around the idea of creating an online clearinghouse of recruitment and retention resources for quite some time. Needless to say, it’s an area of the fire service that I’m quite absorbed in but I’ve always waited for someone else to create such a […]

It’s Time to get SAFER!

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Are you SAFER than you were last year?

That is, did you submit a grant application under the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response” program for recruitment and retention?

If you didn’t, you missed out on a great opportunity to better your fire department, or in our case, the entire volunteer fire service in our region.

Here’s the good news. You get another chance. DHS just announced that the application period for the 2009 SAFER grants opens November 16, 2009.

Is this our best approach?

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Unfortunately, I think it follows a growing pattern of articles and news pieces that focus on the problems — and not the solutions to our recruitment and retention challenges.

While we certainly need to identify and acknowledge what the challenges are, I don’t think that promoting them, making a news story out of them — is our best approach to motivating people to help us overcome our staffing issues by volunteering. Do you?

Conveying Tragedy

Buffalo News Photo-Tonawanda Fatal Fire

Buffalo News Photo-Tonawanda Fatal Fire

I consider myself a student of effective public and media relations. One of the most difficult messages a fire chief or public information officer must convey is that of a tragedy where, despite our best efforts, the results are fatal.

I often coach fire officers and public officials at incident scenes as how to best deliver difficult news. While I encourage them to focus on the role of the rescuers – not the victims, showing respect and concern for all those affected by the tragedy is very important as we speak publicly. This difficult and uncomfortable situation is one that any of us could be faced with at any time.

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