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Five Stages for Effective Firefighter Recruitment

Updated: May 27, 2022

Part 5 – Firefighter Retention

Jerry L. Streich, Fire Chief/Emergency Manager (Ret)

The past four articles on Effective Firefighter Recruitment have provided ideas to consider when recruiting new firefighters for your team. Each step of the process requires a plan that starts with the end in mind. Select a time when you anticipate the need for new hires to be prepared to respond. Then set up the steps, working backward, to develop a timeline of processes to meet your goal. Once the planning phase is in order, you can use it again moving forward. When I meet with fire officers, I like to ask them how many hours they spend per week on recruitment and retention. Not to my surprise, most do not even spend an hour planning for the most critical element of their department, people. To be effective in maintaining a roster of well-trained firefighters, you must make recruitment and retention a priority. It is that simple. We will spend more time planning for a new set of hydraulic tools than ensuring our lockers are full of the type of people we need to succeed.