About National VWS

Current Program

Running from December 2020 to December 2023, the National Volunteer Workforce Solutions (VWS) program aims to improve volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention through education and collaboration to improve a department's diversity and inclusionary efforts in order to create well-staffed, safe and inclusive departments. 

The IAFC, in partnership with the IAFC's VCOS, are pleased to undertake a national initiative of the VWS program.

The national initiative is made possible through a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant for volunteer recruitment and retention. For more information, contact staff.

Diversity & Inclusion Program

From December 2018 until December 2020, the National Volunteer Workforce Solutions (VWS) program aimed to create a more diverse and inclusive fire service. The initiative was a continuation of our previous effort to increase the number of women and other underrepresented groups in the volunteer fire service. This program lead to the creation of a Guide for Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Department, the climate survey toolkit and an online scenario-based training, It's Your Turn: Scenarios for Developing Inclusive Teams. The program also worked with six pilot departments across the country to improve their recruitment and retention efforts. 

The Council for Future Volunteer Firefighters (CFVF)

The council supports our program by serving as subject matter experts and is made up of representatives from the following organizations:

  • IAFC's VCOS Board

  • IAFC’s Human Relations Committee

  • IAFC's Diversity Executive Leadership Program

  • IAFC's Women Fire Chiefs Council 

  • National Volunteer Fire Council 

  • International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services 

  • Oklahoma State University, School of Fire Protection & Safety

  • University of Maryland

  • National Association of Hispanic Firefighters 

Pilot Program

From December 2015 to December 2018, the National VWS program aimed to increase the number of women and other underrepresented groups among volunteer firefighting positions across the United States.  

The program supported ten pilot fire departments nationwide. The departments selected by the Council in 2016 were: 

  • Elkin Fire Department

  • Mountain View Fire and Rescue

  • Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue

  • Ketchikan Fire Department

  • Brooklyn Center Fire Department

  • Santa Fe County Fire Department

  • Prince George’s County Fire Department

  • Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department

  • Milton Fire Department 

  • Windsor-Severance Fire Department

These departments received marketing materials, assistance in public education efforts, access to an online volunteer management system, a national handbook that outlined how to successfully run the business of a fire department, access to web-based training and in-person workshops, along with the 2018 State of the Volunteer Fire Service report.

Contact Us

Kaitlin Lutz 
Program Specialist 
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