Tips for Volunteer Firefighter & EMS Recruitment & Retention

ems recruitment

The biggest challenge that first responder organizations face is the recruitment and retention of employees. A large proportion of fire companies around the country operate entirely by volunteers. This makes it all the more crucial to develop a strong culture and set recruitment strategies based on showcasing a culture that incentivizes and recognizes its members. 

We are seeing a nationwide shortage of first responder applications as departments struggle to connect with younger generations. Our team at 9-ONE-1 Marketing combines decades of firefighting experience with decades of marketing expertise to help first responders enhance their recruitment efforts through digital media and traditional methods. 

Below, our team shares eight tips companies can use to improve their recruitment strategies and help find qualified candidates to fill their uniforms. 

Targeted Facebook and Instagram Ads

Facebook and Instagram allow your company to target potential volunteers by specific demographics, age ranges, interests, and causes they are passionate about. Create lead-generating forms and boost your posts to reach a wider audience and your targeted demographics.  

Utilize Your Website

You use social media, search engine optimization, and other digital marketing tools, but you also need a well-designed website to drive traffic from your digital ads. Maximize your website as a recruitment tool with information about how and why to become a volunteer firefighter or EMT. The more detailed information you can provide and the frequently asked questions you can answer, the more likely you are to hook their interest and encourage them to apply.

Apply For a SAFER Grant 

FEMA’s SAFER Grant offers fire companies funds that can be used for their recruitment and retention by funding marketing programs, member progression incentives, PPE for recruits, and more.

Maximize Google’s Nonprofit Programs

If your volunteer department is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, you can qualify for the Google for Nonprofits Program. The program includes $10,000 per month in search advertising plus unlimited free email accounts, Google Drive storage, shared calendars, and YouTube enhancements that can help you expand your recruitment efforts and grow your company.

Advertise on Local TV and Radio Stations

Not everything needs to be digital. Many local TV and radio stations will support local non-profit organizations with free advertising that can help with your recruitment. Use this exposure to drive potential volunteers to your website or your recruitment events.

Host Recruitment Events

While social media, TV, and radio ads are great for spreading information, you still need to connect with volunteers to finalize the process. Host recruiting events at your station so that volunteers can get to know you and your company and ask any questions they may have.

Focus on WHO You Are

Making recruiting videos that show incredible fire rescues, flashing lights, and brave heroism is wonderful. But the best way to improve your recruitment is to show potential volunteers who you are as people. Show off your department’s leadership, culture, and community impact rather than the flashy lights and sirens.

Track Your Applications

It is crucial to remain engaged with applicants through the entire recruitment process. From the initial inquiry, continue to follow up on leads until they are officially members. Save leads with Google docs or a CRM platform, keep a centralized recruitment calendar, and share recruitment information throughout the firehouse.

Maximize Recruitment and Retention with 9-ONE-1 Marketing

9-ONE-1 Marketing is a specialized agency that partners with emergency services to help them maximize their marketing recruitment efforts. We take the time to understand the unique needs and personality of your company to tailor our recruitment packages to fit your department. From traditional advertising strategies to modern digital methods, reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you enhance your volunteer firefighter recruitment strategy and grow your team!