Featured RecruitNY Success Story:
On Friday, April 13th, one week prior to RecruitNY’s Open House event, Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company in Williamsville, in conjunction with Pesci’s Pizza & Wings, a good local eatery in town, held an event called “Operation Special Delivery.” For the duration of the evening, Chief Scott Switzer and members of his department took care of delivering pizza and wing orders to residents in their district. This was done with firefighters in turnout gear and department apparatus, and what made it really special was if the resident/pizza customer could demonstrate working smoke detectors, their food order was free! (Courtesy of Pesci’s!) If they didn’t work, the firefighters installed a free detector or new batteries. They also received a free dry chemical fire extinguisher. Obviously, this also gave them the opportunity to throw a pitch for recruitment or set the table for a visit to the station.
Step two in their strategy came on the very next day. Utilizing proceeds from the Clarence area volunteer firefighters golf tournament, they conducted a free babysitter education seminar at their station which was attended by approximately 25 teens, mostly girls, with about five boys. They spent a day learning fire safety, basic first aid practices, CPR and were instructed by not only the firefighters but a New York State trooper. Did I mention that all these teens were right around the age for explorers or junior firefighters?
What it also accomplished besides setting the table again for the big weekend, was more positive community service by the members of the Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company. The coup de grâce was the weekend of RecruitNY. Saturday, April 21st was the day the department had selected to have their open house. Chief Switzer explains that they had a need for a professional shredding service company to take care of some departmental documents as well as those belonging to their members, and after doing some thinking, figured, hey, why not offer free shredding to the residents of the fire district if they stopped by the fire station for the open house. They advertised it as ”The Shred-it Event at the RecruitNY Open House.” Over 2800 pounds were shredded that day which means the community responded well, and they also ended up receiving numerous monetary donations as well. As far as their recruitment success, two new members, a father and son, as well as a prospect who has future interest. Great ingenuity for sure by the leadership and recruitment committee for the Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company.
Other Great Ideas from Departments Across the State:
From the Town of Onondaga in Onondaga County, Chief Harold “Smitty” Smith of the Nedrow Volunteer Fire Department, along with his PIO Firefighter James Emm, approached a youth group from nearby Rockwell Elementary School involved with an Earth Day cleanup in their town. Since the department had a relationship with a refuse company, they made arrangements to provide the refuse truck for their cleanup if they agreed to end their day down at the fire station for their open house. Can you guess what comes with kids? Well, 200 people later (and lots of popcorn and sno-cones for the kids) they ended up with five applicants for their efforts!The Monticello Fire Department in Sullivan County had their local radio station, “Country Thunder 102 FM,” broadcast live at their RecruitNY event and they offered free hotdogs.
In Orange County, the Cronomer Valley Fire Department utilized one of the flyers off of the FASNY RecruitNY microsite and developed it into a mailer which went out to all the residents in their district. Great idea…
The St. Remy Volunteer Fire Department in Ulster County held their open house at their Union Center Rd. fire station. Their station is not equipped with a signboard, neither manual nor electronic, so they made up their own RecruitNY open house sign, fastened it to a pole, hung it horizontally from a tall A-framed ladder and placed it roadside at the front of their apparatus parked in front of their station.
The Southwood Volunteer Fire Department in Onondaga County utilized FASNY’s RecruitNY.org microsite and had two VolunteerNY banners printed on heavy white vinyl with grommets around the perimeter. Assistant Chief David VanSlyke then purchased a variety of 1 ½” vinyl pvc piping and fittings and constructed a framework that would allow the two signs to be fastened by plastic electrical ties attached to the grommets. A few sandbags on the base and they had a very impressive RecruitNY sign that was portable and sturdy.
The Taunton Fire Department in Onondaga County constructed a 10 x 8 x 8 burn room, lined with sheetrock and set up as a typical bedroom which really demonstrated the dangers firefighters face.
The Aurelius Volunteer Fire Department in Cayuga County went all out at their station by including blood pressure readings, an extrication demo, car seat inspections, onsite interviews with the membership committee to shorten the process, repelling demo, drawings for $50.00 gas cards and a display table outlining FASNY programs for firefighters including the incentives provided.
Fire Chief Steve Mott of the Brownville Volunteer Fire Department in Jefferson County really believed in FASNY’s RecruitNY campaign and felt it could work, so he approached one of his newer recruits from last year and asked if he would chair the recruitment and retention committee. He felt this young man had a reason to join the fire service when he did and wanted to utilize the enthusiasm and ideas he had so far demonstrated. After reviewing RecruitNY.org, his committee arranged to hang the large printed banners, post yard signs, distribute posters, letter their sign in front of the station and set up a Facebook page dedicated to RecruitNY. On their posters they bulleted all the benefits of being a volunteer firefighter including those provided by FASNY as they have had a full department membership since 2005. Their open house was advertised for Saturday, April 21 with hours of 08:00 – 16:00. Early in the morning as they were setting up they happened to look out the windows of the overhead doors in the engine room and noticed a young man walking slowly by the front of the station. He would stop, then continue on by, but then come back. Turns out, he was a little bit early, but anxious to stop in because he had seen the advertising that Brownville had done, so he had taken the day off of work to come down to the station and become a volunteer firefighter.
The Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department in Erie County went door to door notifying their residents of the upcoming RecruitNY open house.
(A big thank you goes out to FASNY Public Relations Committee Vice Chair Gordy Kotars for collecting this information and compiling it for FASNY.)
(Courtesy of CNYhomepage.com)The Frankfort Fire Department relies on a partnership with Schulyer High School to help with recruitment. Since 1998, the fire department and high school created a program where students can volunteer at the fire house. As long as the students keep up their grades and commit at least 120 hours a year to the fire department, they receive school credit and valuable life skills. Currently there are five students from Frankfort- Schuyler in the program. Chief Charles Conigliaro says it’s a win-win situation for the recruits. They get the thrill of learning fire protection and serve their community. And if they take the training courses, the students can be certified to answer alarms. Students must be at least 16 to volunteer, but Chief Conigliaro says they welcome younger students and their parents to the meeting to learn about the program. That way when they are eligible to be a part of the team, they know what they are getting themselves into.