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The Professional Volunteer Fire Department

Monday, April 15
Precon Workshop

This presentation delivers the message that earning the title of a professional firefighter has absolutely nothing to do with earning a paycheck. The title professional is never automatically assigned to an organization or to a firefighter. It is a respected title that needs to be earned and continue to be earned both individually and organizationally by building a strong culture. Successfully creating and maintaining a strong professional culture can improve membership recruitment, contribute to retention, enhance morale, increase funding, and lead to improved community as well as political support. All the members should feel this professional culture and, from the moment they join the organization, realize they are part of something truly special and continue to support and contribute to it throughout their fire service journey. The challenges facing the volunteer fire service today are well documented. However, all the ideas and recommendations that will be provided to create and maintain the professional culture are easily implemented and under the direct personal control of each individual department member. A professional department has nothing to do with its size, age of the equipment, number of members, or even its operating budget. No matter the dynamics or challenges, it is still possible to be a true professional volunteer firefighter serving in a professional volunteer fire department.

Thomas Merrill, Fire Commissioner/Past Chief of Department - Snyder Fire Department