It's important to keep your department — especially volunteer and combination departments — visible in the community. Visibility is crucial not only for department growth, but also for its survival. You can use visual clues, citizen education and engagement, and the media to keep your department in residents' minds.
There are several ways to improve your visibility. Good signage, digital signs promoting departmental events or training, and flags all provide subtle and regular reminders of your department's location. Simple as it may sound, this may save lives as walk-ins show up at stations for medical treatment or during emergencies. Being visible also reassures the community that you are there and ready to respond to an emergency.
Citizen education and engagement
Do your residents know everything you do to respond to emergencies? Engage with your community. Open houses, booths at local fairs, carnivals, tours of the station or apparatus visits to schools give community members a name and face to connect with the department. They also provide opportunities to answer questions, explain the work you do, and can be excellent recruitment events.
Community involvement is important. Make sure your department is involved in social media. Share local events and let the community know what you are doing. Let them know about training and incident saves. Share home safety tips.
Lending a hand can get you noticed
Community involvement isn't only about your job or official duties. Many stories have surfaced in recent years of crews finishing the mowing of a heat exhaustion victim they just transported or cleaning up vandalism. These feel-good stories get noticed, show you care about your community, and have a secondary benefit of being good public relations.Source: FireRescue1