Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Joan Mazur


The number of calls for service by firefighters has increased by over three times since the 1980s while during the same time, the numbers of firefighters per population has decreased. The increase in the number of calls for service by fire departments is further complicated by that fact that nearly 70% of the firefighters who respond to these calls are volunteers. Further, the number of training hours to become a certified firefighter has also increased. Complicating the issue more is a decrease overall of volunteerism in general in the United States. Increased demand for calls for service, more demanding training requirements and competition for volunteers’ limited time has created a serious problem for the millions of Americans who depend on volunteer firefighter assistance in an emergency. A survey was provided by the International Association of Fire Chiefs – Volunteer Workforce Solutions to the North Carolina Fire Chief’s Association. The responses from this survey, which was completed by firefighters in North Carolina, were analyzed for this study. The data from the study identified firefighters’ perceptions about the recruiting efforts employed by the departments participating in a recruitment and retention program. Additionally, the study determined if volunteer firefighter’s age or years of service impacts their perceptions about which recruiting methods are effective. The study concluded that the data indicate both age and years of service can impact perceptions about effective recruiting methods. Recruitment activities that involve some form of personal contact with another person were reported to be more effective regardless of age or years of service. Recruitment methods such as Twitter and Facebook had stronger relationships to those with less years of service or lower ages, while recruitment methods such as fundraising events or being asked by a firefighter exhibited a stronger relationship to those who were older or had more years of service. Implications for these findings include how to design public relations campaigns for those indicating interest in volunteering for firefighting as well as informing initial instruction and orientation training for new recruits that will promote retention of new recruits and increases in interest in volunteerism. Without those willing to volunteer many residing in rural areas will have little to no access to the services offered by fire and emergency medical services in their communities.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)