Despite recruiting during a difficult year filled with COVID-19 uncertainty and lockdowns, Norriton Fire Engine Company is meeting its goals for its volunteer recruitment and retention campaign. Last March, the Fire Company launched its new recruitment website, NorritonFire.org, to kick off the campaign. The website collected 29 volunteer inquiries and five applicants officially joined.
“In the first year, the recruitment campaign benefited the Norriton Fire Engine Company tremendously,” said Fire Chief Kyle McClure. “We have noticed an increase in staffing levels and improved training attendance. Having higher staffing levels improves overall safety and efficiency on calls throughout East Norriton Township.”
New Volunteers Join Norriton’s Ranks
Two of the new volunteers Norriton Fire Engine Company recruited this past year are enjoying their time volunteering for numerous reasons.
Shane Henderson, 19, joined about halfway through 2020 after his friends encouraged him to join. “I thought I would do well under pressure,” said Henderson who is a volunteer firefighter.
“I love training and learning more about fighting fires,” he said. “The fire company has great role models with a lot of experience.”
Henderson says going on calls is a lot of fun, especially being part of Norriton’s team.
Similar to Henderson’s experience, volunteer firefighter Tess Giordano, 27, joined Norriton Fire Engine Company in June 2020 and felt very welcomed from the beginning. She started training early on with the fire company and also attends classes at the Montgomery County Fire Academy.
“I didn’t expect to get involved so quickly, but the officers really try to train good firefighters and part of doing that is getting people involved on the fireground early on,” said Giordano.
Giordano not only enjoys serving and interacting with the community she lives in, but also becoming a part of the firefighter community.
“Through my classes at the Fire Academy, I’ve gotten the chance to meet and build friendships with firefighters from all over Montgomery County that are in similar places in their firefighting career.”
Although Giordano was a bit hesitant to join a male-dominated field, she says being a woman hasn’t affected her experience that much and has fit right in.
“Sometimes I’ve had to find work-arounds for certain skills that have been harder for me, but the officers that I’ve worked with have been great at helping me find out how to leverage my strengths,” she said.
Giordano would tell other female firefighters to “go for it.” She advises them to find other female firefighters and talk to them about their experiences, learn their tips and tricks, and build a community with them.
“I remember how impactful it was for me to see female firefighters when I was a kid and I hope that I can show little girls today in my community that they can be firefighters too,” said Giordano.
About the Volunteer Campaign
The volunteer recruitment campaign uses the tagline “Fight Fires. Forge Friendships. Volunteer.” to promote Norriton Fire Engine Company’s high call volume and camaraderie among members. The tagline and recruitment website are incorporated into print and electronic marketing materials including media coverage, social media, a recruitment brochure, lawn signs and an outdoor booth display for community events.
The four-year campaign is no cost taxpayers and is funded entirely through the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“We look forward to expanding our volunteer base moving forward throughout 2021,” said McClure.
Norriton Fire Engine Company is always seeking more volunteers and encourages anyone interested to visit NorritonFire.org.