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Recruiting drive brings increase in applicants for Spotsylvania volunteer fire and rescue organizations
Since the recruitment drive started, Chancellor has had 24 applicants or new members; Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department has had 14; and Spotsylvania Volunteer Rescue Squad has had 22. The agencies have lost 19 members during that same period.
It's unclear exactly how many people applied or joined as a direct result of the campaign. Applicants must submit to background checks and some decide not to join, Eudailey said.
County spokeswoman Kathy Smith said in an email that it takes six months to a year to train applicants. "It takes longer to recoup the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the seasoned volunteer responders that leave the system."
Eudailey said the county's last big recruitment effort was in 2008. Spotsylvania spent about $61,500, and 92 people expressed interested in becoming volunteers. Eudailey said he's not sure how many people actually became volunteers because of that eight-week campaign.
Supervisor Benjamin Pitts, who was the sole vote against providing money for this year's recruitment campaign, said in March that the county didn't have much success with the 2008 effort. He said it's too early to say how well this year's recruitment program has done. The focus should be on the quality of those recruited, he said, not the quantity.
"The test will be when we are able to determine the true number of volunteers that remain in the program and the services that they provide," he wrote in an email.
Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402
The Spotsylvania County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management was selected last October for a yearlong, federally funded recruitment campaign called "Everyday Heroes." The department was one of 10 in the state chosen to participate in a geographical information systems study to help locate the best candidates for volunteer service.