Monroe Fire Department explores different ways to recruit staff
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - After looking to fill its chief position for nearly two years, the Monroe Fire Department is exploring a new approach to recruiting staff.
Al Rufer, MFD’s interim fire chief, said the department is looking to mix traditional ways of recruiting with new ones. Rufer said he knows of several other southern Wisconsin fire departments facing staffing shortages.
“We said you know we need to do something different,” Rufer said. “We can’t just throw the banner out front anymore and just do the Facebook stuff.”
Madison College’s fire program director Jen Roman said Monroe Fire Dept. is among many other departments trying creative ways to recruit staff.
“Fire departments are in a staffing crisis, particularly rural departments, which rely on a volunteer force,” Roman said. “We know that volunteerism statistically is down over the last two decades... the fire departments are having to do creative things and look elsewhere for volunteer
Rufer said his department is now looking into advertising on television and streaming services.
“We’re looking at TV ads, we’re looking at stream ads on things like Hulu and Netflix and things of that nature,” Rufer said.
Despite a focus on these new recruiting efforts, Rufer said MFD won’t put a stop to old-school methods.
“I really think boots on the ground and talking to people and making that connection is probably still the best way to recruit, but it’s also not the most efficient,” Rufer said. “So, instead of a one-step approach, we’re looking at probably a five or six-pronged approach.”
As departments continue to struggle, Rufer said he encourages anyone who might be interested to look into ways they can help their local fire department.
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