Hanover Fire & EMS looking for marketing firm to recruit volunteer firefighters

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)  —  Fire departments across the country constantly struggle to attract new volunteer firefighters.

Most people already work full-time and are reluctant to commit their free time to fighting fires.

That is why Hanover Fire & EMS is trying something new to attract volunteers.

“It is a big commitment,” volunteer firefighter Will Penny said. “There is a lot of training and a lot of work, but on the other side of that, there’s the camaraderie that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.”

The department is in the process of launching a major marketing campaign that will target people most likely to volunteer.

“Through radio, television, whatever our experts tell us is the way to reach people, that’s what we’re looking for,” Assistant Chief Eddie Buchanan said.

He says that as the number of calls for service increases, the number of hours volunteers can work is decreasing.

“It is a big commitment,” volunteer firefighter Will Penny said. “There is a lot of training and a lot of work, but on the other side of that, there’s the camaraderie that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.”

Penny is one of more than a hundred volunteers who work shoulder to shoulder with paid firefighters to protect the Hanover community.

He adds that the firefighters at Station One would love to welcome new volunteers to their fire family.

“Most of the guys here I’ve grown up with and it’s our turn to learn from the older generation and to help carry the department forward,” Penny said.

Hanover is using federal grant money to pay for its marketing campaign. It expects to spend nearly $100,000 on marketing. The grant also provides funds to pay for training new volunteer firefighters.

Right now the department is still searching for a marketing firm, but Assistant Chief Buchanan anticipates they could start the campaign by the end of April.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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