Firefighter Nation : Bucks Fire Chiefs & Firefighters Assoc. Launch Campaignto Increase Volunteer Firefighter Membership

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Bucks County is a large and diverse region. It has people from all walks of life, everysocioeconomic class. But,
across the board, from top to bottom, there’s one thing everymunicipality has in common: a shortage of
volunteer firefighters.

To address this challenge, the Bucks County Fire Chiefs and Firefighters Association has recently
launched several new recruiting initiatives including a new website, www.bucksfire.org.

“The need for volunteer firefighters in a countywide issue,” said Rob Kay, Co-Chair of the Bucks
County Fire Chiefs and Firefighters Association’s recruitment committee. “That’s why our 87
member stations are collaborating in a comprehensive marketing campaign with a core message:
Save. Protect. Volunteer.”

The new www.bucksfire.org website includes photos, videos, member testimonials, answers to
frequently asked questions and details on how to apply. A navigation map shows website visitors
the fire stations which are closest to them. Leads from individuals who inquire online are provided
directly to their local fire company for follow up.

“This is a great resource for us and the community,” said Jerry Barton who also serves as
Co-Chair on the recruitment committee. “This way people can learn more about volunteering 24
hours a day, seven days a week and get their questions answered.”

The new website is just one-step in a multi-step campaign to increase volunteer firefighter
membership countywide that includes a social media push on Facebook
(www.facebook.com/bucksfire) and Twitter (@BucksFireOrg), public relations in traditional media
outlets, and face-to-face recruiting at festivals and speaking engagements.

The association has also started running commercials on Comcast, Verizon FIOS and in movie
theaters across Bucks County.

In order to help pay for these new initiatives, the Association has secured a SAFER grant through
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) so that there’s no tax burden on county
residents. SAFER stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response. The grant
program was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter
interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, “front line”
firefighters available in their communities.

“All we’re asking for from the community with this initiative is their time and their service,” Barton
said. “If you volunteer, even the training and equipment is free.”

The Association is hoping to recruit members for all areas of fire service, not just firefighters.
There are plenty of opportunities available for individuals who want to help with non-fire,
non-emergency positions like fundraising, event coordinating and administrative duties.

“If you have a special skill or interest, we’ll find a way to put you to work,” Kay said. “We need
people who can help us maintain our vehicles, flip pancakes at fundraising breakfasts, keep our
books in order. Everything.”

The Association will also host speaking engagements at places like high schools and college
campuses to help recruit younger volunteers.

To help with its recruitment efforts, the Association has hired the Communication Solutions
Group, a public relations and marketing firm based in Jenkintown to help develop new strategies
“We’re really trying to get our name out there,” Kay said. “We want people to know that there are
ways they can protect and help their communities starting right now.”

In order to help pay for these new initiatives, the Association has secured a SAFER grant through
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) so that there’s no tax burden on county
residents. SAFER stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response. The grant
program was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter
interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, “front line”
firefighters available in their communities.

“All we’re asking for from the community with this initiative is their time and their service,” Barton
said. “If you volunteer, even the training and equipment is free.”

The Association is hoping to recruit members for all areas of fire service, not just firefighters.
There are plenty of opportunities available for individuals who want to help with non-fire,
non-emergency positions like fundraising, event coordinating and administrative duties.
“If you have a special skill or interest, we’ll find a way to put you to work,” Kay said. “We need
people who can help us maintain our vehicles, flip pancakes at fundraising breakfasts, keep our
books in order. Everything.”

The Association will also host speaking engagements at places like high schools and college
campuses to help recruit younger volunteers.

To help with its recruitment efforts, the Association has hired the Communication Solutions
Group, a public relations and marketing firm based in Jenkintown to help develop new strategies
“We’re really trying to get our name out there,” Kay said. “We want people to know that there are
ways they can protect and help their communities starting right now.”

Bucks County is a large and diverse region. It has people from all walks of life, everysocioeconomic class. But,
across the board, from top to bottom, there’s one thing everymunicipality has in common: a shortage of
volunteer firefighters.

Bucks Fire Chiefs & Firefighters Assoc. Launch Campaignto Increase
Volunteer Firefighter Membership

“We are excited to work with the Bucks County Fire Chiefs and Firefighters Association,”
Communication Solutions founder and President Leza Raffel said. “We have a strong history of
helping fire companies recruit volunteers, and we look forward to bringing the same success
here.”

For more information about the recruitment campaign please visit www.bucksfire.org, check them
out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bucksfire or follow them on Twitter @BucksFireOrg.