Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Services Recruitment

Over the past decade, the shortage of available volunteer fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel especially in rural parts of our state has steadily risen to cause some concern. In an effort to address this shortage, the State of Connecticut Commission on Fire Prevention and Control teamed up with the Connecticut Fire Chiefs’ Association to implement a statewide volunteer emergency services recruitment program. Starting July 1, 1998, a toll free telephone number 1-800-FIRE-LINE was placed in operation to link interested citizens with a volunteer fire or Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organization within their community. To date, most towns have designated a contact person, either the fire chief, recruitment officer or other town official to be available to speak with interested citizens. Many organizations require only that candidates for volunteer emergency services positions be healthy, ambitious adults, 18 years or older and have the time necessary to complete required training and then be an active responder.

The 1-800-FIRE-LINE program began several years ago in the state of New Jersey and is now active in almost twenty states nationwide. The program is sponsored nationally by the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and the Prudential Foundation. To help in recruitment efforts, the Prudential Foundation has funded the production of a ten minute recruitment video which was sent free of charge to each high school and public library throughout Connecticut.

In announcing the program, State Fire Administrator Jeffrey Morrissette stated "...at minimum, the program will heighten the level of awareness among Connecticut’s residents that nearly 80% of our state benefits from the services provided by volunteer emergency responders. Although staffing shortages are not yet critical, shortages do exist in many communities especially daytime hours during the workweek. The intent of this program is to aid local communities in their recruitment efforts to alleviate or prevent shortages from occurring."

Program participation is totally voluntary and there is no expense to local fire/EMS departments or to citizens who call for information. Don’t delay, call any time day or night and leave the requested information...

Contact State Fire Administrator's Secretary, Kara Ouellette at 860-264-9231 or email her at kara.ouellette@ct.gov