Illinois Fire Chiefs Association Volunteer Combination & Chief Officer Committee


To represent the leadership of the volunteer and combination fire departments in the State of Illinois; to assist officers in the development of professional leadership skills, representation on important issues affecting the volunteer services of the State, and enhance local capabilities of our volunteer organizations.

Illinois Fire Chiefs Association is awarded a 2012 SAFER Grant 

Friday, March 1, 2013 The Illinois Fire Chiefs Associations Volunteer Chief Offers Committee received a communication informing us that IFCA have been awarded a SAFER grant for Recruitment and Retention of Volunteers.

The SAFR Grant award is great news for both our Association and the State of Illinois.  While recruitment is important to every volunteer departments continued success, retention is a top priority.  Having spent the time and funds to recruit, train and enable personnel to obtain the experience, we are looking at programs to encourage a longer term retention.  This work hand in hand, as retention of experience is vital to continued recruitment.  

The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA) is a professional organization dedicated to promoting Excellence in the fire service.  IFCA is a participatory, member-run coalition of fire chiefs and officers from municipal fire departments, fire protection districts, industrial fire brigades, and government fire agencies. The IFCA responds to the needs of its membership, which include addressing the problem of volunteer firefighter retention and recruitment. 

To turnaround the decline of volunteer firefighters in Illinois, the IFCA is proposing a 4-year, two-part retention and recruitment program. The first component entails a statewide media campaign to attract new volunteers to the fire service. The goal of the campaign is to generate 5,000 applications from prospective volunteers. The media campaign will be modeled after the successful SAFER campaigns in Idaho, Alaska, California, Ohio, and Colorado. The programs in these states were overseen by DHS program managers Victor Esch and Diane Breedlove. As the DHS managers have validated, the campaigns have exceeded expectations by successfully reaching target audiences to generate prospective volunteer firefighters. 

The second component of the plan consists of a statewide training program to educate fire service leaders on local volunteer retention and recruitment strategies. The goal is to educate 360 fire service leaders about skills and tactics for retaining and recruiting volunteers. The two components will take place simultaneously and complement each other by focusing on the volunteer process from beginning to end. 

Stay tuned for more information as move forward with this project.