Eighteen new volunteer firefighters and EMTs have been sworn in to serve the Salisbury Fire Department.
In a ceremony held last month at Salisbury University -- led by Mayor Jake Day Fire Chief John Tull -- the new volunteers were lauded for successfully completing Fire 1 or EMT classes.
The swearing-in was an opportunity to formally recognize the work and determination volunteers have shown to become members of the Fire Department. It was also a way for department members, city leadership and staff members to formally welcome the volunteers.
“Volunteer firefighters have been a longstanding tradition in the American fire service and in the city of Salisbury Fire Department,” said Tull. “The need for an active volunteer membership is crucial to the overall success of a combination fire service and we are extremely excited that they have chosen to join our Department and wish them much success.”
Becoming a member of Salisbury Fire Department means making a strong commitment to learning everything there is to know about providing emergency services and keeping the public safe. Those working toward an EMT certification will typically spend about six months on their certification, while the Fire 1 class takes about four months to complete.
To aid in recruiting volunteer applicants, and helping them through the certification process, SFD brought in Shelby Gardiner to serve as a dedicated Recruitment Coordinator.
Gardiner is with applicants every step of the way as they navigate this new field and work toward becoming public servants.
“I make sure to follow all applicants as they go through the process of joining our team from the moment they submit an application, to the day they are sworn in as volunteer members,” said Gardiner.
Salisbury Fire Department has also recently implemented a mentor program within its department so that volunteers have someone that they can reach out to, rely on, ask questions, and receive support.
The program has been evaluated as a success and aids in showing volunteers appreciation.
Gardiner said she believes the most important thing about volunteer recruitment and retention is engaging with the volunteers and the community. The recruitment team regularly attends community events such as 3rd Friday to let people know about the program and help people with the first steps toward becoming a member.
“We are so proud to welcome the Salisbury Fire Department’s newest volunteer members to Team SBY,” said Day. “Thank you to Chief Tull, Shelby Gardiner and all other members of our department that work hard to recruit, train and welcome volunteers to our team with open arms. We thank you for your commitment to this city, its residents and their safety.”