Though Montgomery County is the third most populous county in Pennsylvania, the critical need for volunteer firefighters mirrors the plight of the state and the country: there is a dire shortage of them. Fortunately, Montgomery County Fire Chief’s Association has a solution for this: a four-year county-wide recruitment and retention campaign designed to grow its base of volunteer firefighters.
With more than 80 fire companies involved, the Montgomery County Fire Chief’s Association has hit the ground running by launching a comprehensive multi-phase volunteer recruitment outreach effort. Their tagline, “Ordinary People. Trained for the Extraordinary,” as well as a new recruitment website, www.MontcoFireFighters.org, will be used to drive home the fact that everyone has what it takes to fight fires; they just need the desire to help others.
Those that visit the website can locate their local fire company using an interactive map, learn more about the different ways to volunteer, or fill out an inquiry form. They will then be contacted by the fire company that is closest to their supplied address.
Recruitment efforts will include targeted residential mailings and brochures, hands-on recruiting efforts at community events, and digital advertising. Social media management and public relations will also be crucial to reach potential volunteers in the community.
The Montgomery County Fire Chief’s Association’s four-year recruitment campaign is no cost to taxpayers. It is funded entirely through the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“The purpose of this grant is to help us increase and retain the number of trained firefighters in our communities,” said Limerick Fire Department Deputy Chief Glen Russell. “We are so grateful to be a recipient.”
“We hope with this campaign that the community will see we are ordinary people looking to give back to their community,” said President of the Montgomery County Fire Chief’s Association George Wilmot. “We come from all different walks of life.”
Potential volunteers should keep in mind no prior experience is necessary. The fire companies provide state-of-the-art training and gear, free of cost. There are other opportunities for those interested in volunteering but do not want to run into a burning building.
“Not only are we looking for firefighters, but we need administrative volunteers, EMTS, fire police, and junior firefighters,” said Wilmot.
To reach more members in the community and create awareness about the need for volunteers, the Montgomery County Fire Chiefs Association retained the services of The Communication Solutions Group, a Montgomery County public relations and marketing firm that has run multiple county-wide campaigns throughout Pennsylvania.
For more information visit www.MontcoFireFighters.org, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.
Editor’s note: To set up an interview with a volunteer, please contact Communication Solutions at 215-884-6499.