The IAFC’s Volunteer Workforce Solutions program through a FEMA SAFER grant, is releasing a study report of the U.S. volunteer and combination fire service on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to help departments improve their recruitment and retention efforts, particularly as they relate to groups that traditionally have been underrepresented in the fire-rescue service.
Key findings include:
- Many respondents believe in the value of various DEI initiatives.
- Many respondents do not believe their department’s DEI initiatives have been effective.
- More than half of the respondents have had personal experience with discrimination, bullying, and/or hazing in their department.
- Respondents from traditionally underrepresented groups in the fire service reported a less positive experience at their departments.
- Common misperceptions about DEI are still prevalent in the fire service.
The study also identifies actions departments can take to create and maintain diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environments. Some of the recommended actions include the production of improved marketing materials, targeted recruitment efforts, social activities, and mentoring programs.