Department Spotlight: Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue

Department Name: Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue
Department Location: Florence, OR
Department Type: Mostly Volunteer
Number of Active Volunteers: 36
Community Type: Rural

What challenges have you experienced in terms of recruiting new members to your department?
Florence is a retirement community with a medium age of 61 years old. Places to live within the means of service workers is at a premium. Increased training requirements have made meeting the requirements a challenge for some.

What methods have proved successful in recruiting new volunteers?
Paid Facebook postings have proven a good way to go. Recently, we’ve set up a table at the local department store for recruiting new members, with positive results. Our Reader Board is bringing recruits in, too. Recruiting at the gym is also where the majority of our volunteers come from.

How does your department support the retention of volunteers?
Probably the biggest incentive is the EMR and EMT certified classes we’ve had at the department. Monetary stipends for training, incidents, and community events are paid to volunteers. Cell stipends for all who use the apps our department subscribes to in regards to responding. Awards banquet is very popular. BBQ’s and annual picnics help.

What tips or advice do you have for departments that are struggling with recruiting and/or retaining volunteers?
Stress to their contingents [that] the best way to bring others in is by showing pride in their departments for others to see and actively recruiting when the opportunity presents itself.

Anything else you’d like to share?
This is more for those who think the old ways are the best ways. More families are financially strapped with little spare time available. Make training available to those who can’t meet obligated and set training times. We are now offering additional optional day time and Saturday training. Also, ensure training is fun and consistent.

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