The first 90 days: Why firefighters leave and how to keep them

Detailing three reasons career firefighters don’t stick around – and solutions to keep them on the team


In the first episode of the FireRescue1 podcast Side Alpha, host Marc Bashoor speaks with Fire Chief John Butler about setting department missions, engaging in strategic planning and how to avoid "quick quits" among new firefighters. Listen to the podcast here.

With the overwhelming majority of fire jobs being volunteer and part time, you’d think that career departments would have no issues with retention. For a lot of departments, this certainly isn’t the case.

While new firefighters leave for a variety of reasons, it’s important to first identify why and then discuss ways to improve retention.

Over the last few years, I’ve met with several recruits and new firefighters to get their feedback on what interested them in their current department, as well as what they liked and didn’t like about where they work.

I’ve identified three main drivers of unhappy firefighters that lead them to either move to a different department or leave the fire service altogether.

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