Fire/EMS Recruitment

Because of my background in Fire and EMS, I’m often asked to participate in related events. Unfortunately, time and travel rarely allow it. Brule Fire Department Chief Keith Kesler made a similar request of me recently, and although I can’t be there for the “Be Somebody” campaign, I thought I’d share some of their materials…perhaps they will be of use to departments elsewhere in the United States. We’re all doin’ the same thing, just with different accents.

Please note: more information below the photo gallery.

After the page break, more details on this year’s event.

NEWS from the BE SOMEBODY – Fire/EMS Recruiting Campaign

SUBJECT:                     BE SOMEBODY – Fire/EMS Recruiting Campaign Kick Off

MEDIA CONTACT:     Borg Isaksen, 715-372-5031 (W); 715-372-5964 (H); 218-269-1275 Cell

The 2011 “BE SOMEBODY – Fire/EMS Recruiting Campaign” will kick off on Friday, May 20th at 3pm to increase public awareness that (1) Emergency response in rural areas is generally provided by volunteers, and (2) Most small town Fire and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) departments are actively recruiting new members.

This highly publicized “Kick Off” will take place from 3-6pm in the small town of Brule, WI, directly alongside Highway 2.  Personnel from over 30 departments will be arriving between 3-4pm to answer questions and show apparatus. Also scheduled is an on site 3 hour remote broadcast with WNXR radio (107.3 FM) featuring their “Q-Ball” show personality. Additionally, a presence is expected from supporting state agencies and local dignitaries. Citizens and Media representatives will have the opportunity to speak with all parties, take pictures, and film interviews.

After the kick off and through Friday evening, volunteer departments and organizations will stage individually in their northwestern Wisconsin communities.   Departments will station themselves in higher traffic areas to emphasize their “24 Hour/Seven Day a Week” commitment to provide emergency services.  Major corridors including Highways 2, 13, 35, 63, 27, 70, and various county trunks, will have fire and ambulance department volunteers, emergency vehicles, and signs saying “BE SOMEBODY” and “HELP WANTED.”

Recruitment and retention is the number one challenge for volunteer emergency service organizations.  The need is not only for firefighters, rescue personnel, and EMS responders, but also for volunteers to fill roles such as fire hall and vehicle maintenance, secretary, treasurer, fire inspections, and food preparation during emergencies.


Communities have long relied on the commitment and dedication of volunteers to provide quality, professional, cost effective emergency service for their citizens in the time of need.  In fact, a 2004 “Cost Savings Study and Calculator” released by the National Volunteer Fire Council documents that each Fire or EMS volunteer saves their community an average of $45,000 per year.

The many benefits of being an emergency response volunteer include helping neighbors, becoming involved in the community, sharing in department camaraderie, learning career building skills and participating in service award/retirement programs.  Community members are encouraged to stop and discuss these opportunities with department members during this event.

The “BE SOMEBODY” phone line has been established to aid those interested in becoming emergency services volunteers.  Interested groups or individuals may call 888-926-1676 and leave a message indicating what service they are interested in and it will be forwarded to the appropriate department chief or director who will return their call and answer questions.

Questions concerning this event may be directed to Brule Fire Department member Borg Isaksen, kick off media coordinator, at 715-372-5031 (W), 715-372-5964 (H), 218-269-1275 (Cell) or borg[at]   Borg will assist in setting up any special arrangements that may be required to meet the needs of media wishing to cover this event as well as provide contact information for participating departments throughout northwestern Wisconsin.

The “BE SOMEBODY – Fire/EMS Recruiting Campaign” was established in 1997 by Jan Victorson, Director of Bayfield County Emergency Management, and Chief Keith Kesler of the Brule Fire Department with funding provided by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.  The event involves most departments in Douglas and Bayfield Counties, with frequent participation from neighboring counties throughout Northwest Wisconsin.

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