About National VWS

Running from December 2018 until December 2020, the National Volunteer Workforce Solutions (VWS) program aims to create a more diverse and inclusive fire service. The initiative is a continuation of our previous effort to increase the number of women and other underrepresented groups in the volunteer fire service. This program will lead to the creation of a Guide for Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Department.

The IAFC, in partnership with the Council for Future Volunteer Firefighters (CFVF) and the IAFC's VCOSare pleased to undertake a national initiative of the VWS program. 

This 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.   

National VWS Informational Flyer (PDF)

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

Monica Willemssen
Program Manager 
mwillemssen@iafc.org
703-537-4845

Kaitlin Lutz 
Program Specialist 
klutz@iafc.org 
703-273-9835 
Catherine Lugo 
Program Coordinator 
clugo@iafc.org
703-537-4851 
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