With volunteer firefighting down over 12% nationally, there has been a real need for available and trained personnel to respond to fire-related incidents. For Community Fire Company, Inc., an all-volunteer company located in the small town of Exmore, the need has been critical. In 2018, the organization applied for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant, a national program designed to provide funding directly to fire departments to help them increase or maintain the number of trained firefighters available in their communities.
After a rigorous application process, Community Fire Company was selected for the grant and will be executing the funds using two primary mechanisms to increase or maintain the number of trained, firefighters available in their communities. After a rigorous application process, Community Fire Company was selected for the grant and will be executing the funds using two primary mechanisms.
The first is the hiring of a Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator to manage onboarding new recruits and the internal process of mentoring and conducting programs on behalf of Community Fire Company. The second is a partnership with strategic marketing firm, Dotted Line. Based in Richmond, Dotted Line brings years of marketing experience in volunteer firefighter recruitment as well as strategy, messaging, creative and media expertise.
“While the efforts of this campaign will be focused on recruitment for Community Fire Company, specifically, we expect to see benefits and membership growth to other volunteer fire stations in both Northampton and Accomack Counties,” said Community Fire Company Chief, Greg DeYoung, “Almost all local stations need additional volunteer firefighters to support their efforts and help protect those in need.”
The campaign, which will run over the course of a year, will be geared towards recruitment of new volunteers and retention of existing personnel and is expected to have a broad reach. Ads are anticipated to run on social media, radio, billboards, direct mail and online.
“We are excited about the doors opened by this campaign for Exmore and the surrounding jurisdictions,” DeYoung says, “The need for more volunteer firefighters has been critical for many years and we are thankful to now have the means to actively recruit.”