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FIRE 20/20 Introduces Free Diversity Recruitment Video for Volunteer and Combination Departments

Is your department struggling with recruiting volunteer firefighters and emergency responders?

Why I Chose Fire™: Next Generation is a free volunteer firefighter recruitment video designed to encourage qualified, inclusive, diverse and safety-conscious 15-25 year-old women and people of color to explore opportunities in the volunteer fire service. The eight-minute video was produced by FIRE 20/20, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting diversity in the fire service.

“With the state of the economy and peoples’ busy schedules, many departments around the country are facing a shortage of volunteer firefighters,” explained Heather Schafer, Executive Director of the National Volunteer Fire Council. “FIRE 20/20’s free recruitment video offers volunteer departments a fresh opportunity to reach out to a new demographic and the next generation of volunteer firefighters.”

Why I Chose Fire: Next Generation focuses on firefighter values, including service, commitment, caring and compassion. It features interviews with passionate young firefighters from diverse backgrounds highlighting the benefits of serving as a volunteer firefighter. This includes: training and education, opportunities to work with new technology, the job’s physicality, flexible schedule, camaraderie, and a strong sense of family. The video features music of Grammy winners Cee Lo Green and Bruno Mars.

“Our country is becoming increasingly diverse, and volunteers who represent all aspects of our community make us a better department,” said jona olsson, Fire Chief - Latir, NM and the 2012 Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year. “The FIRE 20/20 recruitment video will help us to inform, inspire and engage the next generation of volunteer firefighters who understand that our strength truly comes from our differences. Our diversity is the powerful fuel that drives our highest performance.”

“The video is perfect for our local cable access channel, school media, Facebook, our website, and community presentations,” said Lt. Angela Hughes, Baltimore County Fire. “It provides people who may not have ever considered volunteer firefighting with a realistic picture of the tasks, training, commitment, and benefits of serving in this noble profession.

FIRE 20/20 can customize the introduction and closing of the video to create a department specific recruitment video for a small fee. This allows organizations to promote benefits of their department and their commitment to inclusion and diversity.

Why I Chose Fire: Next Generation was developed with a grant from Motorola Solutions Foundations, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions Inc. It is designed for use by volunteer fire and emergency services departments, college fire science programs, fire academies, Cadet/Explorer programs, high school/college guidance counselors and diversity organizations.

“Motorola Solutions and Motorola Solutions Foundation have partnered with fire service and first responders for decades,” said Matt Blakely, Director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. “It is important to support training programs that improve first responders’ ability to keep themselves and their communities safe. We’re proud to sponsor these videos because they may inspire individuals from a variety of backgrounds to enter the fire service.”

Additional sponsors who are committed to a qualified, inclusive, diverse and safety-conscious volunteer fire service and the Why I Chose Fire: Next Generation video include Tyco, Scott Safety and PBI Performance Products, Inc.

“Volunteer and combination departments around the U.S. and Canada continually ask us for help and tools that will enhance their effectiveness in recruiting volunteer firefighters,” said Odessa Kawai, FIRE 20/20 Interim Executive Director. “Our Motorola Solutions Foundation grant and sponsors allow FIRE 20/20 to provide the video to volunteer and combination fire organizations at no cost.”

The video will be promoted by organizations, including: National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Center For Public Safety Excellence (CPSE), International City/County Managers Association (ICMA), Fire & Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE), National Fire Academy Professional Development Initiative (NFAFDI), International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services (iWomen), National Association of Hispanic Firefighters (NAHF), National Native American Fire Chiefs Association (NNAFCA), Asian Firefighters Association, You Can Be Anything, National EMS & Firefighters Pride Alliance, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and Washington Fire Chiefs.

“It’s free, it’s targeted, it’s high quality, it speaks to the next generation,” said Ronny J. Coleman, Retired California State Fire Marshal. “Hopefully every volunteer department will integrate the Why I Chose Fire: Next Generation video for volunteers into their recruitment campaigns. This is a no brainer!”

For more information or to receive a link to the volunteer video, please visit the FIRE 20/20 Web site ( or contact FIRE 20/20 at