National Volunteer Workforce Solutions

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The National Volunteer Workforce Solutions is an initiative to assist combination and volunteer fire departments with the means to improve their ability to recruit, retain, and manage the volunteer of the future.  The program provides specifically tailored assistance to 10 pilot departments, and has created and curated a variety of resources for combination and volunteer fire departments across the country. More about VWS | Contact VWS


Jul 21, 2017

IAFC, VCOS Release Report on Behavioral Health in the Fire Service

Report raises awareness about the emotional and behavioral health issues in the fire service.

Jun 23, 2017

Help Beat Firefighter Cancer

Register by July 31 for the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Symposium, Sept. 7-8, in Phoenix.

Jun 01, 2017

Human Relations: If We Build It, They Will Come

There are many untapped, talented people who would be ready to play on our team and work for our mission if we would just prepare the workplace to recognize and harness their diverse and varied talents.

Mar 29, 2017

Volunteer Fire Service: Finding Recruitment and Retention Solutions

Recently, volunteer firefighters and leaders of all ranks across Connecticut met at the Branford (Conn.) Fire Department, to share information about the financial and training opportunities available statewide to volunteer departments.

Mar 17, 2017

Taxing Times in Congress

With the new administration and Congress, the chances of seeing comprehensive tax reform increased dramatically. There may be several ways the fire and emergency service can capitalize on this to achieve some longstanding goals.

Mar 16, 2017

Bill Introduced in House to Provide Volunteer Firefighters Tax Break Incentive

VRIPA would provide a permanent reauthorization of a portion of the tax code which allows volunteer firefighters to receive property-tax based incentives and up to $600 in other incentives without being considered taxable income.

Feb 21, 2017

Is Your Pay-Per Call Program FLSA Compliant?

Pay-per-call programs can benefit volunteer and combination fire departments with their firefighter recruitment and retention efforts. They can also create significant liabilities for local governments when those programs are not FLSA compliant. The IAFC has resources to help departments be FLSA compliant.

Feb 16, 2017

Our Volunteer Family Life

Being part of the fire service family comes with responsibility and duty: to be part of a larger network with the obligation to support each other through good times and bad. It’s part of the fabric of the fire service.

Feb 13, 2017

Attention Tennessee Fire Chiefs: Volunteer Recruitment Assistance Available

Problem: Recruitment and retention of volunteers in fire departments. Solution: Volunteer Workforce Solutions.

Nov 01, 2016

Navigating the Gridlock: Finding a Path for Volunteer Legislation

Between the challenges of this year’s presidential race and the fewest number of laws enacted in more than 40 years, partisanship and gridlock have become a hallmark of the 114th Congress. Despite these challenges, however, Congress has made some progress ...

Nov 01, 2016

Us Versus Them: Can We All Get Along?

“Can we all get along?” Those words were spoken nearly 25 years ago by Rodney King during the Los Angeles riots that followed the trial of police officers accused of beating King during his arrest. The quote is often misstated and ...

Oct 21, 2016

Kidde Announces Winner of Step Up and Stand Out Contest

MEBANE, N.C. - Kidde today announced the winner of the "Step Up and Stand Out" contest. The honor goes to Bob Love, assistant chief of North Hays County Fire Rescue in Dripping Springs, Texas. The contest is part of a ...

Aug 19, 2016

Top Five Finalists Announced for “Step Up and Stand Out” Volunteer Firefighter Recognition Program

Fairfax, Va. - The top five finalists for the volunteer firefighter contest, “Step Up and Stand Out”, were announced today at the Fire-Rescue International (FRI) conference in San Antonio, Texas. The contest is part of a national campaign developed by ...

Jul 30, 2016

President`s Letter: Are There Other Ways?

Recently, while discussing the state of the fire service today with a friend (you know who you are), he suggested ...

Jul 30, 2016

VCOS Participates with the NVFC Recruitment and Retention SAFER Workgroup

The IAFC``s Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) has been invited to participate as a member of a SAFER (Staffing ...

Jul 30, 2016

Department T-Shirts: Just Wearing Them or Living the Mission?

According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are over 1.1 million firefighters in the United States. ...

Jul 30, 2016

Engaging Younger Generations: What`s In It for Us?

As leaders of the fire service, we``re confronted with a multitude of challenges. These come in two predominate varieties: emergency ...

Jul 30, 2016

Company Officer Leadership: Slaying Two-Headed Dragons

(OK, one of them at least.) If you``ve been involved with combination departments for any length of time, you``ve witnessed ...

Jul 30, 2016

Asking the Right Grant-Funding Questions: A Look at Needs Versus Wants

As leaders of volunteer fire departments, we operate in different environments regarding budgets, sustainability and general day-to-day operations than our ...

Jul 30, 2016

One Company`s SAFER Story: How You Can Do It, Too

Fire departments charged with training and retaining emergency-service recruits continue to face existing and emerging challenges. With a plethora of ...

Jul 30, 2016

Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act: Restoring Important Tax Provisions

Congress has not yet restored recently expired tax provisions, including the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act (VRIPA), that expired at ...

Jul 30, 2016

GIS Helps Virginia Recruit Volunteer Firefighters

In today’s fast-paced environment, the fire service is always looking for the quickest ways to produce the best results. The ...

Jul 30, 2016

Tax Armageddon Comes Early for Volunteers

Inside the Beltway, a new term will be repeated throughout the 2012 election season: “Tax Armageddon.” This doomsday-inspiring term refers ...

Jul 30, 2016

Pinnacles and Pitfalls of Recruitment: An EMS Perspective

Recruitment quite literally means engaging in the process of finding new employees, members or personnel. In and of itself, the ...

Jul 30, 2016

Retention and Recruitment Program Honored at 2011 VCOS Symposium in the Sun

Manchaca Fire/Rescue (MVFD) serves the areas just south of the city of Austin, Tex., to the Travis County boundary line. ...

Jul 30, 2016

IRS Exempts Volunteer Fire Departments from PPACA

Taxes and firefighters are two words that aren``t often said in the same breath. However, fire chiefs last year shifted ...

Jul 30, 2016

Company Officer Leadership: Best Bang for Your Buck

From a financial and staffing perspective, a combination fire department provides the best bang for the buck, but the management ...

Jul 30, 2016

VCOS Education & Training Opportunities

The IAFC’s Volunteer and Combination Officers Section offers many specialized opportunities for leadership training throughout the year. Here’s a quick ...

Jul 29, 2016

Chief Chris Barron Wins the John M. Buckman III Leadership Award

Chief Chris Barron is the 2012 winner of the John M. Buckman III Leadership Award, sponsored by Provident Insurance. Barron ...

Jul 29, 2016

Affordable Care Act Call to Action

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) worked together to introduce bipartisan legislation (H.R. ...

Jul 14, 2016

Tax Reform: Not a Nickel-and-Dime Issue

Since January, the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives and the Finance Committee in the Senate have ...

Jul 13, 2016

Affordable Care Act Causing Concern for Fire Departments

In discussing historic healthcare legislation on March 10, 2010, former House Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stated, "But we have ...

Jun 22, 2016

A Game without Rules

Imagine yourself playing on a football team in the NFL. However, imagine that there are no written rules. The coaches ...

Jun 22, 2016

Volunteers and the 114th Congress: Where Are We Now?

The first half of the 114th Congress is rapidly coming to a close and it’s been quite a session! Some ...

Jun 22, 2016

Emergency Response in POVs Poses Risks

As a young volunteer firefighter, still in high school, I can remember driving at high speed, flying along curved rural ...

May 13, 2016

IAFC Declares Support for National Fire Service Cancer Initiative

Fairfax, Va. - The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Board of Directors has adopted a position statement in support ...

Apr 27, 2016

Pilot Departments for National Recruitment and Retention Program Named

Fairfax, Va. - The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has selected the departments that will participate in the IAFC's ...

Nov 16, 2015

Volunteer Recruitment Tips: Beyond Open Houses

It’s common knowledge that many departments are currently facing a shortage of volunteers. The fall season is often a time ...

Nov 16, 2015

Can Diversity Save the Volunteer Fire Service?

I don't need to recite the statistics; we all know the problem. We need to be honest with ourselves and ...

Nov 06, 2015

IAFC, VCOS, Kidde Home Safety Team Up with Country Music Star to Recognize Volunteer Firefighters

Country Music star and former first responder Craig Morgan joined representatives of Kidde Fire Safety, the International Association of Fire ...

Aug 27, 2015

IAFC, NVFC Release Report on POV Safety for ESO Responses

Fairfax, Va. - The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) today released a ...

Mar 06, 2015

The Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association Announces the Kick-Off of the Everyday Hero Recruitment Campaign

Cromwell, Conn. - Today, the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association (CFCA), in partnership with the International Association of Fire Chiefs ...

Feb 27, 2015

IAFC Supports Bill to Protect Volunteer Incentives

Fairfax, Va. - The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) today applauded bipartisan legislation that would protect incentives for volunteer ...

Nov 20, 2014

The Making of a Volunteer in a Volunteer/Combination Department

Here's a deeper look at what volunteers are seeking through their service to their communities with your fire department.

Nov 12, 2014

IAFC Announces Gift to Firefighter Cancer Support Group

Clearwater, Fla. - The International Association of Fire Chiefs' (IAFC) Volunteer & Combination Officers Section (VCOS) announced it will ...

Nov 04, 2014

Grassroots Recruiting: Increasing the Ranks with Decreasing Budgets

It will be no surprise to any of you that one of the primary chronic problems facing volunteer and combination ...

Dec 11, 2013

National Fire Service Organizations Address Volunteer Fire Service Concerns With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI), the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), ...

Oct 01, 2013

VCOS Names 2013 Award Winners

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is pleased to congratulate the following winners of the IAFC Volunteer & Combination ...

Sep 10, 2013

IAFC Asks IRS to Clarify Treatment of Volunteer Firefighters Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), has issued official comment (pdf) on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) deliberations in ...

Feb 28, 2013

Volunteer Recruitment and Retention: Technology versus Tradition

With 80% of the fire service consisting of volunteers, recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters can present significant staffing and response challenges if not properly addressed. Most departments perform recruitment activities, but are th ...

Jan 29, 2013

From Passive to Active Recruiting: Recruitment Findings from Connecticut

Here are some key lessons learned from the Connecticut Volunteer Workforce Solutions Program.

Mar 15, 2012

SAFER Volunteer Workforce Solutions: Helping To Solve Recruitment and Retention Issues

The SAFER Volunteer Workforce Solutions (VWS) program continues to move forward in its effort to help solve the recruitment and retention issues faced by volunteer fire departments in the United States.

Mar 14, 2012

Retention Begins with You

Retention starts in the fire chief’s office. If you as leader of the organization fail to recognize the volunteers as ...

Mar 14, 2012

Perception, Politics and Professionalism in Volunteer Departments

The focus of every department is getting new recruits in the door. Get them in, get them trained, get them ...

Oct 27, 2011

VCOS Summit Update: Latest Progress and Next Steps

In March, the Volunteer & Combination Officers Section (VCOS) of the IAFC held a national Summit, “Constructing a National ...

Oct 27, 2011

Meet One of the World's Largest Volunteer Fire Departments

Australia is one of the most fire-prone regions on the planet—and protecting its most populous state is the New South ...

Jun 10, 2011

National Leaders Gather for Landmark Summit

This afternoon, more than one hundred leaders representing the fire and emergency service community, the federal government, local government and ...

Training & Events

VCOS Symposium in the West

  • Dates: 03 – 05 May, 2018
  • <strong>Location:</strong> Phoenix, AZ

We've taken what you love about Symposium in the Sun and moved it WEST! Here at Symposium in the West, volunteer and combination fire and emergency service leaders will experience everything they need to be the change – new ideas, connections and practical skills.

Add event to: ICal Outlook Google Calendar


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