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Montrose recruiting through social media
“Daytime response is the Achilles heel of every CFA brigade. That’s where you’re vulnerable.”
We don’t have to run a straw poll to determine that Captain Rob Waters from Montrose Fire Brigade speaks for hundreds of CFA captains.
With an average 225 callouts a year, this progressive Yarra Ranges brigade took an online approach to responding to nine-to-five emergencies by funding a sponsored advertisement on Facebook.
“It allowed us to target people between the ages of 18 and 50 who live within two kilometres of our fire station,” said Rob. “The recruitment drive was operational – we were looking for potential firefighters and inviting them along to an information session to learn more. We had engaging photos with a clear-cut message: ‘Do you have what it takes?’
“The post reached more than 9000 people with 24 interested in attending the session. We cancelled the subscription after three weeks because it had been so successful. Those interested were sent reminders and 16 ultimately attended with 11 of them joining up, four of them women.”
The result is a weekday bonanza. The new members include someone whose workplace allows working from home and university students with days off. The furthest from the fire station is only four and a half minutes away.
This successful recruitment drive followed the marketing of their 2016 calendar which is keeping the brigade in a prime position in homes and workplaces for 12 months. Each month has a professional member photograph and is sponsored by local businesses from plumbers and restaurants to butcher’s shops and florists.
Rob’s video blog to promote the calendar tagged the sponsors and “it went berko. We branded ourselves and businesses aligned their brand with ours. We got about 4000 engagements every few weeks from that.
“Another blog was a brigade selfie dedicated to a member recovering from an operation and that got 10,000 reaches.
“To other brigades recruiting online I’d say engage with your audience. When someone likes your post, send them a message and invite them to ask questions or pass on your details for them to make contact. Always follow up and make sure your responses are clear, correct and of a positive nature.
“Now we’ve got the excitement of those new members and the whole brigade is buzzing. They bring new ideas and a thirst for learning and they’ll be given plenty of time and support to gain operational skills.
“We’ve taken into account the lifespan of our membership. You need to have a five, 10 and 15-year plan to replace those people looking to slow down. We do and we’re thriving.”
All the photos attached to this story have been used on Montrose's social media channels.