AAFD Participates in SAFER Group Recruitment Effort
By Assistant Chief Tim Llewellyn
January 25, 2018

In addition to joining together to standardize on-scene operations, the five Butler County SAFER Group fire departments have teamed up to add members to their ranks. In a joint effort at recruiting volunteer members, the SAFER Group has released a public service announcement ad campaign. The ad welcomes prospective firefighters to ponder the satisfaction of serving their community with the slogan: "There is no greater feeling than saving a life. Find the firefighter in you." The ad also directs individuals to visit the SAFER Group Recruitment website (www.safergroup.org), where they can find general information about the SAFER Group Organization as well as direct links to each participating Fire Department's website.

While the shortage of volunteer firefighters is a well known national problem - our local area is not immune to it. According to AAFD Fire Captain Sean Sokolowski, the AAFD often feels the pinch of the volunteer firefighter shortage. "There are times when our fire engine leaves the station for a suspected fire incident with only 1 or two qualified firefighters on board. Sadly, during the weekday business hours, that response is becoming the norm." While the establishment of the SAFER Group has attempted to automatically increase the number of responders and apparatus that get called to fires, difficulty still remains. According to Sokolowski, "Even though our SAFER first alarm assignment structural assignment hits out 7 different fire departments, there are times when each department is only able to turn out 1 or 2 qualified firefighters during the daytime - and sometimes departments scratch those calls if nobody is able to respond due to work or other family obligations."

In an effort to solve the problem of the personnel shortage, on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, one member of the AAFD participated in a volunteer firefighter recruitment effort at Seneca Valley High School along with members from the other four SAFER Group Fire Departments. Firefighter Andrew Blaney, a Live-In at AAFD, spent part of the day during the lunch periods talking to students at the high school who live in Seven Fields and other communities about possibly becoming volunteer firefighters. "We had a nice time and talked to a lot of kids. We passed out a lot of ad post cards and SAFER business cards. We took some of our equipment for them to try on in hopes of spurring their interest even further," noted Blaney. The event at SVHS was geared towards introducing the area fire departments as opportunities for students to gain valuable volunteer and resume building experience; while at the same time, potentially satisfying their service hour requirements for their senior projects. The other hope is that individuals will become interested and invested while still in high school and start the training process before they head off to college or start families - when time becomes a precious commodity.

The SAFER Group recruitment effort, like this one, will continue at local festivals and other public events. Find out more at www.SAFERGroup.org !

Mutual Aid: Callery Station 19; Cranberry Station 21; Evans City Station 20; Harmony Fire District Station 22
Hyperlinks: SAFER Group Firefighter Recruitment Page
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