Please take the time to complete the following survey from the Volunteer and Combination Officers Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. How will the Fire Service survive the next few years? The economic climate of 2008 shifted the focus for many leaders from growth to survival. The Fire Service is as diverse as the population it serves; therefore, it is reasonable to address the needs each fire department faces because our systems are unique. The Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) recognizes this diversity of needs and challenges and is attempting to provide resources to assist with your decision making needs. We are assembling a comprehensive database of best practices. We recognize the impracticality of trying to research, absorb and distribute these best practices without establishing priorities with manageable research parameters. Even though this endeavor will take a significant investment of time, we believe it will be a critical resource for the Fire Service. The following survey will establish the priority of issues you determine as needing prompt research to find and distribute "Best Practices." Once identified, these best practices can benefit us all.

Adequate and dependable revenue sources
Recruitment of capable and productive members
Creating and maintaining an effective training program
Retention of capable and productive members
Maintaining pace with area population growth
Apparatus replacement program/plan
Transition to a combination or career dept.
Maintaining or improving ISO rating
Facility improvement or expansion
Creating, maintaining or improving an incentive program
Building an effective team of community stakeholders
Establishing or building organizational and community support/equity to accomplish a stated vision/mission
Published report on-line
Annual emergency services conference
Regional emergency services symposium
National Fire Academy one-week class or Volunteer Incentive Program class

Questions 7-16 are intended to capture departments that may provide best practice examples. Completion of these questions are not required to submit the survey.

The outcome of our research is dependent upon discovering and sharing "Best Practices;" therefore, any of your electronic files, links (SOP's/SOG's, Policies, Recruitment programs, retention programs, training programs, leadership programs, etc.) you believe relevant to this research effort are appreciated. Please send all correspondence to Thank you for your candid responses and your time. We would like to send you a copy of our report based on this survey. We will email the survey results to the email address provided. Thank you for your participation in the process.

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