Who are those men and women that respond to our 911 calls? Do we really know them? Probably not personally, but as another human being, yes, we know them. They are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters and perhaps some of the bravest men and women of all. We need to familiarize ourselves with our local firefighters, and with today’s decline in certified firefighters, this is not very difficult to do. All it takes is a short trip to your local fire department. Take some form of baked goods and simply introduce yourself, then listen. They have more stories they could tell you than most people have in a life time.
A lack of community support for the fire department, makes them feel slightly ostracized or cut off from the rest of the town. They really are no different from you and me, except that they have been trained in life saving skills, and fire suppression/prevention. More often than not, most fire departments attempt to reach out to the community by having fish fry's or other money raising events, but these are no the only ones. Holidays are special for everyone, including the firefighters of your community. They often have fun get-together for members of the community, in an attempt to also educate people about fire safety.
Many fire departments have a specified member or officer that visits the schools to assist in educating younger children on fire safety, and how to react in the even of a fire. The famous saying "Stop, Drop, and Roll" has been made into a song, a rhyme, and many other things. While it is a catchy phrase to say, it is ultimately true, and by teaching this to the children, it enables them to react properly should they find themselves caught in a fire. Many children are also learning that fire fighters are important members of our community, and as such, should be learned from and treated with respect.
Are you looking for ways to assist your local fire department? Want to show them that many members of the community support them and think highly of them? It is always good to volunteer; however, you need to keep a few important points in mind when engaging in activities of this sort. Start slowly! Try not to steam roll the fire chief or mayor about your plans or goals. It may be best if you talk to them, make them aware of your ideas, but follow them on where they "need" volunteers, which may not be where you would like to be, but it is where you are needed.
When recruiting other volunteers, you must maintain control of the group as a whole, as well as personally. The fire department does not need additional work added to their already full load. Keep the volunteer group that you will manage, to a controllable number, or consisting of people that genuinely wish to help, not control/change the fire department.
Perhaps the most important key is communication. Keep open lines between yourself, the fire chief, and the mayor. By communicating openly, you are allowing them to feel as if the group of volunteers is actually volunteering help, not more problems. Be sure what you have understood to be said is what was actually said. This will enable you and the others to help where you are needed, and keep problems to a minimum.
Supporting your local fire department can be a fun and rewarding experience so if you have ideas of ways to support them without trying to "fix" it or "change" it, approach the proper officials in a respectful, open manner. Give them your ideas, and actually listen to what they say. Supporting them could be as simple as cooking a special meal for them, to running a charity drive for raising funds. Work together -- after all, it is how a community stays together.