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Morning Lineup – February 20

Monday Morning – Holiday for Some

For government employees and bankers this is the tail end of a 3-day weekend as today is a government holiday officially called Washington's Birthday Observed.  A while back most people started referring to it as President's Day which is easier to write and say.  Purists will wait until Wednesday the 22nd to honor our first president on his true birthday.

Back on Friday we talked in the Lineup about volunteer recruitment and the possible reasons why it has become so difficult in the past ten or fifteen years.  I capped off the essay with a recruiting video that the Washington State volunteers association has produced and is running currently.  (Click HERE to take a look at it and read the posting.)  Since then we have learned that a couple of other organizations are trying the video route, too.  One of our regular readers, Scott Anderson sent us the link to a recruiting video that is used by the city of Maple Grove, Minnesota, (a Minneapolis suburb) and is posted directly on the city's official website.  They use call firefighters in Maple Grove and this page tells what they do and how to join up.  CLICK HERE to go over to that page and take a look.  It's an excellent production that was put together by a couple of employees of a Twin Cities television station, one of them, the cameraman, is a FF and got it started.

Another reader, Nick left a Comment saying that a similar video running in Rhode Island got him "in the door" of a local VFD. 

Coincidentally, this weekend the local newspaper for Vancouver Island/Victoria, British Columbia, the Times Colonist ran a story that parallels just what we've been talking about.  It tells that several towns in the greater-Victoria area are now encouraging their public works employees to become active volunteers for the FD and they have them respond to the fire calls in the daytime while they are working.  You know without me telling you that workday hours are deadly for volunteer responses because they are unable to leave their workplaces when the siren blows.  But the public works people are usually already on the street when the emergency arises and the towns are glad to have the cadre of trained FF's right at hand ready to respond.  From the article:

Much of the recruitment problem arises from a changing demographic, say fire chiefs. Fewer people are able or willing to dedicate free time to a department for 20 or 30 years, as in the past. The majority of volunteers are younger men and women who use the departments as training grounds so they can land career positions within three to five years.

An area where chiefs are focusing attention is in attracting recruits. Sorensen said his Sooke department has an average volunteer firefighter retention span of about 2.8 years. "You just about train them to where you want and then they leave," he said. "The way it's going in recent years, you're lucky if you can get three or four years out of them."

That's not so much of a problem as long as the department can keep up recruitment, he says.

It's lengthy and well-researched and written article.  I encourage you to take a few minutes and read the entire STORY HERE.

We need to get our own equipment checked out now, so let's get started.  After I get more coffee going, I'll meet you back in the day room.

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