Bunk-in or just “bunk”?

Photo courtesy of www.RaisingLaddersPhotography.com

I stumbled across a new resource recently that caught my attention: FDLiveIn.com

The concept of fire station live-ins or bunk-ins, depending on what you call them, has been around for quite some time and with quite a bit of success. Different departments run their programs in different ways but the common theme is that the firefighter lives in the fire station “rent-free” in return for volunteer service. Most live-ins are students but not all, and in some departments entire families live in the fire station.

For whatever reasons, the concept has not caught on in my area of Erie County NY and I’ve always wondered why. I’ve written three articles in the past month on the live-in/bunk-in concept and it’s gaining quite a bit of attention as a potential solution to recruitment and retention challenges in the volunteer fire service.

The program has intrigued me so much that later this week I’m traveling to Hyattsville MD — home to one of the longest standing and most successful bunk in programs in the fire service — and home to the X-Box Firefighters who created FDLiveIn.com. And to get a better understanding and appreciation for the program, I’ll be bunking in the station Friday night and they’ve arranged a tour of several live-in fire stations for Saturday.

Stay tuned here, at FireRECRUITER.com, on Twitter and Facebook as I report back on my experiences. My goal is to provide you with enough photos, information and stories to allow your volunteer fire department to consider whether a bunk-in program is right for you — or if the whole concept is just ”bunk.”

PS — Doc Moltrup, Chief Emeritus of Hyattsville VFD and one of the founder’s of their now-famous bunk-in program, will be my guest on my Internet Radio Show: Firefighter Storytellers –  live from FDIC in Indianapolis the week of March 22-26, 2011. Watch Storytellers for the formal announcement of time and date of the show.

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1 Comment

  • Jen D says:

    I was a live-in student through my college, it was a fantastic program and it gave me a great opportunity to learn. In addition to living rent free in exchange for administrative services i was also a paid on call member of the department giving me the money I needed for food and gas. I would love to see something like it catch on in more places, my hometown department has even considered starting a program now that the local community college is offering Fire Administration as a major.

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Tiger Schmittendorf

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