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Martinsville Fire & EMS Kicks-off Volunteer Recruitment Campaign

September 12, 2011


** For Immediate Release **

Contact:           Kristopher W. Shrader, Deputy Fire Chief
                        Program contact
                        (276) 403-5203

Martinsville Fire & EMS Kicks-off Volunteer Recruitment Campaign

As Part of Unprecedented Statewide Study

Martinsville, Va., September 12, 2011...  The Virginia Fire Chiefs Association (VFCA) announced earlier this year that the Martinsville Fire & EMS Department had been selected as one of 20 departments in Virginia to participate in a federally-funded program to develop a first-of-its-kind model to achieve and sustain adequate levels of fire and emergency service volunteer staffing.

A total of twenty departments were selected by the VFCA to participate in the year-long effort based on geographic information, population, fire department statistics, and an interest to participate by the community.  Ten departments participated in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Segmentation study.  The other ten departments are in a control group engaging in a traditional recruitment campaign.

"This is an excellent opportunity for the department and the City," said Deputy Fire Chief Kris Shrader.  "Over the past five years we have tried several different approaches to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters; however, we have not been very successful.  Being a part of this program will allow the department to utilize cutting edge technology to enhance our recruitment of volunteer firefighters."

Martinsville Fire & EMS was one of ten departments selected to work with the VFCA in the GIS portion of the study.  The study is based on the premise that a citizen profile analysis will provide information that will improve the ability to identify the types of people who would be the best candidates for volunteer fire service, where they can be found, and how best to communicate with them.  VFCA enlisted two firms, Esri and Intterra to perform the detailed analysis.  Esri is the world's leading geographic information systems (GIS) software manufacturer which is used by more than 350,000 organizations worldwide.  Intterra was founded by leading professionals from the fire service, intelligence community, and emergency management fields, and brought its analytical tools and subject-matter expertise to the project.  Esri's Tapestry Segmentation system was used to perform the detailed analysis.  It is intended that these studies will provide a roadmap for the individual community to identify the characteristics of the neighborhoods in which their current firefighters live and, based on that knowledge, suggest recommendations that can further advance the recruitment and sustainability of volunteers.

Tapestry Segmentation classifies US residential neighborhoods into 65 distinct market segments.  The distinctions between the market segments are based on key determinants of citizen behavior such as income, source of income, employment, home value, housing type, occupation, education, household composition, and age.  Tapestry Segmentation combines the "who" of lifestyle demography with the "where" of local neighborhood geography to create a model of various lifestyle classifications, or segments, of actual neighborhoods with addresses - distinct behavioral market segments.  Identifying these Tapestry segments assisted in the development of the study's marketing campaign - Everyday Hero VA.

The Everyday Hero campaign will direct advertising with the right message to the right audience through personal outreach and recruitment events. The campaign and outreach events will highlight the aspects of volunteer service to the community as well as neighbors helping neighbors. The campaign will also include one central website, www.EverydayHeroVa.org that will direct prospective volunteers to their respective department for more information.

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Background on Study:

The Volunteer Workforce Solutions (VWS) program is being led by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association, who identified the need for departments in Virginia to seek new solutions to address continuing downward trends in volunteer staffing levels. The VFCA secured the funding from a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant. The VWS program is working to identify and address recruitment and retention challenges facing volunteer fire departments while helping the departments and elected officials in effectively planning their future emergency response systems.

The following fire departments are in the GIS Segmentation Study:

•·         Fauquier County Fire Rescue Department and Volunteer Fire Rescue Association

•·         Frederick County Fire and Rescue Department/City of Winchester Fire and Rescue

•·         Goochland County Fire-Rescue

•·         Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue

•·         Hanover County Fire and EMS

•·         Louisa County  Fire and EMS

•·         Page County Fire and EMS

•·         Martinsville Fire and EMS

•·         Namozine Volunteer Fire and EMS

•·         Spotsylvania County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management

The following fire departments are in the Control Group (Traditional Group):

•·         Bedford County Fire and Rescue

•·         Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Department

•·         Caroline County Department of Fire-Rescue and Emergency Management

•·         Culpeper County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association

•·         Rockingham County Dept of Fire and Rescue

•·         Botetourt County Emergency Services

•·         Charlotte County Fire and Rescue Association

•·         Colonial Heights Fire and EMS

•·         City of Hampton Fire and Rescue

•·         Huguenot Volunteer Fire Department


About the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association, Inc. (VFCA)

The VFCA (www.vfca.us)is an advocate for leadership to emergency response organizations. The VFCA provides a comprehensive and integrated statewide public safety effort to enhance the quality of life for its customers. The VFCA is committed to providing its members the educational opportunities, leadership skills, and support tools to manage and lead today, and into the future.