Millennials might just be what the fire service needs

Millennials might just be what the fire service needs

Millennials, those born approximately between 1980 and 2000, have gotten a lot of press the past few years. Not much of it is very flattering. This generation is quite different in lifestyle, social interactions, values and expectations. For a field as set in tradition and resistant to change as the fire service, transitioning this generationinto its ranks may be a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be.

Regardless of all that negative press and the preconceived notions you may hold,consider the following: the Millennial generation is bigger than the Baby Boomgeneration by about 15 million people; they take health and physical fitness seriously;they grew up with new and evolving technology and are “digital natives;” and theyembrace diversity of all kinds and are a very diverse generation.

In this time when the fire service is struggling to integrate technology, embracediversity and, in some cases, desperately needs to fill in dwindling ranks, the traitslisted above seem to fit the bill. Now, how do you successfully recruit them?

Though this article by Rackspace is about spending habits, it offers sound marketingideas departments can use to engage Millennials as volunteers or employees. Hereare some key takeaways:

  • Be where they are. Without an active social media presence, you are missing them entirely.
  • Provide experiences and seek authentic engagement. Your department or agency’s brand must have a human face and a conversational voice.
  • Video is a critical medium. Millennials spend 48 percent more time watching online videos than other age groups.
  • Speak to their values. Social causes are important to them. FireRescue1 offers an in-depth look at Millennials’ implication to the fire service.For more information on recruiting Millennial volunteers, see this article from theNational Volunteer Fire Council. (Source: FireRescue1)