Impact of the Digital Age on Recruitment and Retention

The world is changing rapidly and the fire service is getting caught up in the tornado effect of technology on our society.

More and more fire departments are smartly using web sites, e-mail and social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter to recruit new firefighters and to stay connected to their community. There isn't much you can't do with a mobile device today that took a super-computer to do less than 30 years ago.

I recently had the opportunity to facilitate a conversation with a large group of fire instructors titled: "From the Xbox to the Box Alarm" for the University of Kansas Fire and Rescue Institute wherein we discussed today's and tomorrow's generation of firefighters. The conversation focused not only on the challenges in understanding, motivating, training and leading this unique cadre of individuals, but also enlightened the participants as to the tremendous potential they possess for moving our fire service forward.

And, naturally, you can't have a conversation about today's generation of firefighters without discussing the importance of technology and the impact of social networking.

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Tiger Schmittendorf

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