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Recruitment and Retention Workshop

 Recruitment and Retention Workshop being offered at the 2017 WSFA Convention

Hyatt Regency on Main, Green Bay, WI

March 16, 2017

A session on Recruitment and Retention will be offered at the 2017 WSFA Convention. This is a hot topic in the fire service field. Plan to join us on Thursday evening and hear Chief Juan Bonilla of the Donnelly Rural Fire Protection District in Donnelly, Idaho and a member of the NVFC Board of Directors discusses the NVFC’s national campaign called Make Me A Firefighter.

 Make Me A Firefighter
Recruitment and Retention Workshop

Many departments across the nation are struggling to find and keep volunteer members. Volunteer firefighters make up 69 percent of the nation’s fire service, yet the number of volunteers has declined by about 12 percent since 1984. In addition, the average age of the volunteer fire service is increasing as departments are finding it difficult to reach millennials – those within the 18-34 age range.

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) developed a national campaign called Make Me A Firefighter to assist departments in conducting a successful recruitment program. This workshop will provide an overview of the recruitment landscape and examine ways to overcome barriers. Participants will be introduced to the creative tools and strategies developed under the NVFC’s Make Me A Firefighter campaign. The workshop will also provide an overview of retention best practices with special attention paid to the importance of leadership.


Chief Juan Bonilla

Juan Bonilla serves as Fire Chief of the Donnelly Rural Fire Protection District, a combination department located in Donnelly, Idaho. He serves on the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Board of Directors as the Idaho Director, is the Chair of the NVFC’s EMS/Rescue Section, and is the Vice Chair of the Recruitment and Retention Committee. Juan has served the Donnelly Rural Fire Protection District since 1996 both as a volunteer and full-time employee. During his career, he has managed the implementation of the department’s current fire training program and 24-hour station coverage. Juan serves as a state fire fighter essentials instructor and has held the positions of fire captain, training officer, and assistant chief for the Donnelly Fire Department. Since being appointed fire chief in 2007, he has been active in local, state, and national government concerning fire and EMS. Juan serves as the Idaho Fire Chiefs Association vice president, is chair of the Valley County Fire Working Group, and is a board member of the Idaho Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services Association.