Welcome and Key Note Address – Recruiting for the Fire Service and all other Religions – Deputy Chief Tiger Schmittendorf
Recruiting for the volunteer fire service is not much different than recruiting for other ‘religions’ as most volunteers are faithful and devoted. We can certainly “witness” that volunteering can be a religious experience for some. What some call “finding religion,” we call “giving them the bug,” and once they’re hooked, we’ve got ’em!
This somewhat tongue-in-cheek presentation will connect volunteer fire, and EMS recruitment and retention strategies and tactics and similar methods other organizations use to bring people together towards a common mission of serving others.
It’s easy to tell the difference between those who have the fire service in their blood and those who do not. But it’s like anything else that can get in your blood, and it can hurt you, harm you, and even kill you if you let it burn too deep.
While there are several similarities, there are also distinct differences. Life in the fire service is a volunteering opportunity like absolutely no other. In what other setting do we ask for a minimum of a long-term, but preferably a life-long commitment right from the start? The way we recruit volunteers is the equivalent of asking someone to marry you on the first date.
And speaking of marriage, we’re not really recruiting firefighters and EMTs; we’re recruiting who we call sisters and brothers, contributing members of our fire service [second] family who we hope to teach the mechanics of fire and emergency services too.
Just like our faith, the fire service is our gift to carry but not to hold. Our goal should not be to waste it away or let it slip away but instead to give it away openly, freely, willingly, and with a sense of urgency.