Lincoln County, NC – In North Carolina and Lincoln County, the number of volunteers is dwindling drastically, deeply affecting life safety and property emergencies. Every 1.8 days in North Carolina a life is lost to fire. Are the two connected? The North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs (NCAFC), in partnership with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), is launching a campaign with North Carolina fire service agencies to recruit volunteer firefighters. Fifteen North Carolina fire department groups consisting of more than 50 departments, including Lincoln County, are launching a two-year program designed to address the critical shortage of volunteer firefighters. Volunteers make up the majority of North Carolina’s fire safety personnel. According to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), seventy-two percent of North Carolina firefighters are volunteers, and approximately ninety-one percent of departments are mostly or all volunteer-based. This North Carolina average is higher than the national average, where volunteers make up seventy percent of the firefighting workforce. Both operational and administrative volunteers are needed in Lincoln County.
The campaign entails:
Locally Targeted Research: Among the tools being developed, fire departments will use geographic information systems (GIS) to take in-depth looks at their communities, measuring demographic, cultural and economic data to predict the best way to recruit a volunteer firefighter workforce. The data informs the organization about what potential recruits do for fun, where they work, and even the likely makeup of their families. With this information, the NCAFC can host the appropriate events in communities and speak to the potential workforce in ways in which they can relate.
Workshops: In addition, several leadership workshops aimed at improving retention will be offered to all departments statewide. Agencies across the country will share data and information learned in order to have a greater impact on volunteer recruitment nationwide.
Being a volunteer is a rewarding experience and one of the best ways someone can make a difference in the community. It can be the first step to a career in the fire service as well as teach practical skills used throughout a recruit’s life. Volunteer firefighters make it possible for local communities to meet the demands of growing populations, density and a workforce that is aging out of the system. Ways you can get involved:
Reach out to your local fire department and ask them to come and speak to your students, your organization, club or your company.
Host a recruiting event sponsored by your club or restaurant.
Copy and paste this and share to your social media profile: “North Carolina critically needs volunteer fire fighters; you can be a hero in your own community! www.VolunteerFireNC.org. Find out more!”
For more information, visit www.VolunteerFireNC.org or call your local fire department.
About the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs. (NCAFC) The mission of the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs is to provide a wide range of programs designed to meet the needs and enhance the skills of Fire Service Managers, so they may better protect and educate the fire service and public from the adverse effects of fire, sudden medical emergencies, or exposure to dangerous conditions created either by man or nature. The NCAFC sets out to do this by providing education and training for executive development and management, collecting and disseminating information and establishing formal positions on relevant issues, administering mechanisms for networking, and providing a process to address legislative issues. Learn more at www.ncafc.com.
About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world’s leading experts in firefighting, EMS, terrorism response, hazmat spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public-safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more at www.iafc.org.