Friday Morning – Join Up, Will You?
One of the themes we have continually touched on ever since Firegeezer went online nearly five years ago, is the dramatic decline in people volunteering to serve their local VFD's and rescue squads. It has always been my opinion that this is primarily due to two reasons, one is cultural and the other is regulatory.
The cultural obstruction is the phenomena of the Yuppie generation that is marked by an affliction of self-centeredness that reaches extremes. Everybody knows some of these people who think the world revolves around them and spend their time rewarding themselves. Putting their efforts toward helping society in general is a horrifying thought to them, and taking time to go help strangers is not conceivable.
The regulatory obstacle is something else that we have mentioned here several times and I am referring to the ever-increasing minimum standards to be met before any participation can be taken. Briefly, requirements in some areas that every ambulance must have a certified paramedic on board is a real impediment. Very few people have the time or inclination to spend a full year of weekend classes to get the cert. And I don't blame them at all. Also, I question the validity of requiring a new volunteer fire recruit to likewise get certified before they can even ride the pumper and participate in activities. There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with giving them a couple of weekends of orientation and then allowing them to ride and help with basic needs (like straightening hose lines or charging the hydrant) while they progress through their FF-I, II, and III training. If you don't let them do something, then they are quickly disappointed and get the impression that they aren't really needed after all.
There are always recruiting drives and programs by departments and associations in an effort to stem the shrinkage of active volunteer members and one of our readers, Peter L. passed along this video public service announcement that was produced by a volunteer association in Washington State.
It's a well-produced clip, but unfortunately so far I haven't seen any of these types of promotions become effective recruiters. While the casual observer my find it interesting, I still think you must first change the regulations and, more problematic, change the culture.
Our culture here demands that we get this equipment checked out, so let's get started with that. And since coffee is part of the firehouse culture, I'd better get more of that going, too. See you back in the day room.
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