The Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department will analyze results of a survey sent out to community members in an attempt to gather more information on improving recruitment efforts.
The seven-question survey was active for one month and received responses from 140 people. Questions asked community members if they’re interested in becoming a member, what time and day works best for practices and reasons for not joining, among others.
Some of the more common responses included issues with time commitment, too many other responsibilities, age and physical ability and schedule conflicts.
Over 40 per cent of respondents, however, said they would consider joining the Clearwater VFD as a paid, on-call firefighter. The survey also provided a list of common reasons for saying no. Many respondents agreed that personal and time commitment, family obligations and unclear expectations were among reasons community members may turn down joining the VFD. As well, over 40 per cent, or 17 respondents, strongly agreed to the statement “fire department is non-inclusive.”
Clearwater VFD fire chief Mike Smith told mayor and council during the regular and virtual meeting on Jan. 4 that information gathered by the department’s survey will be analyzed and discussed to see how to proceed further with recruitment strategies.
Coun. Lucy Taylor suggested reaching out to the youth in the community, targeting those in their late teens and early 20s, before the family commitments and physical ailments become an integral part of their lives.
“We’ve talked about a youth program for a number of years,” said Smith. “I think now is the time we need to implement it.”
He added a youth program could potentially tie into high school credit requirements.