Chief Forum - July 2015

Recruiting and Retaining is a Full-time Effort

Nationwide, volunteerism is dropping to an all-time low; as you know, this trend affects the volunteer fire service as well. We hear it often: “I would love to volunteer but I just don’t have the time, ” or “I would like to help but I can’t be a firefighter, ” or “I can no longer volunteer all these hours; I have a family and a career that I’m neglecting.”

What it means to be a firefighter has changed, particularly in the past 30 years. Firefighters used to be people who mastered the art of responding to a structure fire and extinguishing it. Of course we’re still responsible for fire extinguishment, but being a firefighter now encompasses many more things, such as emergency medicine, hazmat, technical rescue and wildland firefighting. You name it; we seem to get involved, simply because if not us who? We feel we can just require firefighters to do it all.

The firefighter’s can-do-attitude has complicated the fire service as each of these disciplines were slowly added to our mission. Since firefighters have grown into “emergency response specialists, ” we must meet a greater number of mandatory qualifications and recertifications. We respond to more calls, at a higher level of technicality, with more elaborate equipment, with the same or fewer volunteers, who in today’s society have less time available to give. Before we knew it, whether we want to admit it or not, we have become apprentices in many things and are having trouble mastering anything.

Chief Breunig

 

 

Chief Doug Breunig

Doug Breunig was elected Chief in 2009 after being active in the department since 1979.  Doug had held other ranking positions, such as, 1st. Assistant Chief and 2nd Assistant Chief within his span of service.

Doug understands that the demands of the chief come from many directions.  He has the leadership responsibility of the department, the social aspect to the community and the administrative role to the common Board's and communities the department serves.

Contact Chief Breunig - SCFDChief@merr.com