National Diversity and Inclusion Program Departments Announced

Chantilly, Virginia – The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) announced the selection of department chosen to participate in the IAFC’s Volunteer Workforce Solutions FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. This program will focus on improving volunteer recruitment and retention through more inclusive and diverse departments nationwide. The six departments are:

  • Benton County (Washington) Fire District #4
  • Golden (Colorado) Fire Rescue
  • McQueeney (Texas) Volunteer Fire Department
  • Sullivan (Missouri) Fire Protection District
  • Sumter (Georgia) County Fire & Rescue
  • Wheaton (Maryland) Volunteer Rescue Squad 

Over the next year, liaisons from these departments will work with the IAFC to enhance their department’s diversity and inclusion efforts to bolster their volunteer recruitment and retention. These departments will participate in a department-wide climate survey to assist leadership with gaining a better understanding of their departments’ internal culture and inclusivity. Once these surveys are complete, staff members from the IAFC along with representatives from the Council for Future Volunteer Firefighters (CFVF) will conduct a site visit to each department to gain better insight into the results from these surveys.  

At the conclusion of this grant, these departments will receive an after-action report, detailing the results of the survey and site visit, and ways they can enhance their departments’ diversity and inclusion through different recruitment and retention strategies. All this work will assist in the creation of a Guide for Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Department that will be made available to the entire fire service so that any department can create a more inclusive and diverse department to serve their communities better. 

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, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous response, 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.

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About the Volunteer Workforce Solutions National Recruitment and Retention Program (National VWS) 

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), in partnership with the Volunteer and Combination Officers Section of the IAFC, is pleased to be undertaking a national initiative of the Volunteer Workforce Solutions (VWS) program, to assist combination and volunteer fire departments with the means to improve their ability to recruit, retain, and manage a diverse and inclusive workforce.

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About the Volunteer and Combination Officer Section (VCOS)

The mission of the Volunteer and Combination Officer Section of the IAFC is to provide chiefs and chief officers who manage volunteers within a volunteer or combination fire, rescue or EMS delivery system with information, education, services and representation to enhance their professionalism.

Learn more 

Questions? Contact Monica Willemssen, IAFC Program Manager, via email or phone (703-537-4845).
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