Department Spotlight: Big Island Emergency Crew, Inc.

Department Name: Big Island Emergency Crew, Inc.
Department Location: Big Island, VA
Department Type: Combination
Number of Active Volunteers: 13 on the roster
Community Type: Rural

What challenges have you experienced in terms of recruiting new members to your department?
We are a rural EMS-focused agency, and that has made it hard to recruit. The nearest “city” is 20-30 minutes away, meaning we have to recruit within our community to maintain the quickest possible response time.

What methods have proven successful in recruiting new volunteers?
Community presence – pulling trucks out, opening bay doors, riding around in the rescue apparatus, and running calls when we can. Social media and events hosted by us tend to [generate] applications.

What has your department done to reach all demographics in the community?
We’ve sent out letters in the mail to the community numerous times, and we try to keep at least 2 volunteers at the station at most times so if someone does want to join, we are there to talk with them.

What tips or advice do you have for departments that are struggling with recruiting and/or retaining volunteers?
Never stop trying to recruit members. There are candidates for membership within your community, they just don’t know it yet. Open those bay doors when you can, and staff the station when you can. That looks good to the community, and that arises the possibility of someone stopping in asking how to help.

Find resources to help with volunteer recruitment from the Make Me A Firefighter campaign department portal. View more department profiles here.