About 85% of fire departments are all volunteer or mostly volunteer, protecting about a third of the U.S. population. Since 1986, however, the number of volunteer firefighters per 1,000 population has been decreasing. (NFPA’s “U.S. Fire Department Profile,” 2016). Connecticut is no different. Fire service leaders there are addressing the problem head-on.
Last Friday and Saturday at the Branford (Conn.) Fire Department, volunteer firefighters and leaders of all ranks across Connecticut met to share information about the financial and training opportunities available statewide to volunteer departments. It was part of the IAFC’s Connecticut Volunteer Workforce Solutions program which is providing much-needed assistance to recruit and retain volunteers.
Local TV stations covered the meetings. WTNH / FOX61
So far, the Connecticut Volunteer Workforce Solutions program has exceeded expectations and recently was awarded Phase III of its FEMA SAFER grant. During Phase II, with 15 departments and the goal of recruiting 150 new volunteer firefighters, the program exceeded that goal by recruiting 397 new members.
Among leadership, recruitment and retention classes sponsored by the program was a cadet program which introduced fourteen and fifteen years old into the fire service through a six-day camp.
Phase III will be a statewide initiative delivered over three years in the form of NFPA physicals, basic firefighter reimbursements, conference scholarships, and much more.
To get more information about how to apply for the physicals, trainings and scholarships, please visit www.everydayheroct.org.
Check Out Other Current IAFC Workforce Solutions Programs