Recruitment & Retention Spotlight: Daggett Fire Department

Department Name: Daggett Fire Department
Department Location: Daggett, CA
Department Type: Volunteer
Number of Active Volunteers: 30
Community Type: Rural

What challenges have you experienced in terms of recruiting new members to your department?
A major challenge that we face at the Daggett Fire Department is our distance from the large, well-populated areas. This far distance limits the amount of viable candidates to chose from within the local region. A majority of our current members drive anywhere from one to two hours to volunteer their time.

What methods have proven successful in recruiting new volunteers?
We consistently collaborate with local community colleges by offering students who are enrolled in an EMT course the opportunity to apply for our department. Once accepted, the new hires are required to continue and complete their EMT course to be eligible to continue with the department. Once the candidate completes their EMT course, they are ready to begin their in-house fire training by our state certified fire instructors.

What has your department done to reach all demographics in the community?
We make every attempt to reach all demographics within our community by proactive drives through town, attending and participating in yearly community service events, Facebook posts with department information, and always keeping our bay doors open to show the public we are welcoming of their visit and support.

How have you used the Make Me A Firefighter campaign in your recruitment efforts?
The Make Me A Firefighter campaign has helped with our recruitment efforts by allowing applicants an easy, one-stop shop place for applying for our department and keeping track of their application. It also allows applicants to find our department by a simple zip code search from their home. This allows for people who may not be familiar with our department the opportunity to find our current openings.

How does your department support the retention of volunteers?
We support the retention of our volunteers by offering continuing training by our state certified fire instructors. These courses allow the volunteers to gain valuable knowledge while obtaining various state certifications. We also partner with a local nonprofit, Silver Valley Fire Alliance, who provides monetary reimbursement for fees paid to attend fire training courses not offered by the department.

What tips or advice do you have for departments that are struggling with recruiting and/or retaining volunteers?
You should never give up on your recruitment efforts, regardless of how little response your efforts are receiving. Reach out to local businesses to post flyers and use social media to promote the good of your department. Continue posting on social media, as not everyone checks these every day, therefore they may not always see your posts.

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