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‘Lights, camera, action!': 5 types of fire service recruitment videos

There are several ways to approach your recruitment efforts; which is the best option for your department?

Television News Camera

Television news camera on the scene of a house fire.

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While all striving toward the same goal – to get more capable responders on the department’s roster – not all firefighter recruitment videos are alike. Some may focus more on the action and high-energy response of major calls, while others take a more person-first approach through interviews about fire service life or focus on a niche audience to target.

When planning a new recruitment video for your department, consider what you want to highlight and how you want to target potential recruits – it can make a difference in how the content is received and acted on by community members you’re attempting to reach.

A recruiting video is a chance to expose community members to what life is like once you have your own set of turnout gear — make the most of the views you receive by providing an accurate depiction of station and fire service life.

1. Action-packed thriller

The adrenaline-fueled style of some recruitment videos is one way to grab the attention of potential recruits. These videos often include footage of fireground operations or trainings that involve large flames, dense smoke or specialty teams, like water rescues or smokejumpers.

2. Documentary style

Another approach for your recruitment video is to film it like a documentary, with interviews featuring current members and detailed information about daily life as a firefighter.

3. Niche outreach

Strategically focusing on a specific community demographic can be beneficial, as it allows you to tailor the video’s intent with a more targeted message specific and enticing. How you market the job to a group of recent high school graduates is likely different than how you would market it for women, or military veterans.

Targeting teens:

Targeting military veterans:

Targeting women:

4. Community inclusion

Holding a community-focused, open house event create the opportunity to speak with citizens and let them know about opportunities to join the department and have a hand in making a difference in their community.

5. Viewer engagement: Can you handle this?

Some recruitment videos focus on the characteristics and types of personalities drawn to the fire service and appeal to their giving nature and desire to help people in need.

Regardless your video editing or design skills, you can make a recruitment video that accurately showcases the types of calls, culture and camaraderie available to potential recruits while showcasing the good work of the fire department members. That’s all you really need.

Video: How to create an incredible FD recruitment video

Rachel Engel is an award-winning journalist and the senior editor of and In addition to her regular editing duties, Engel seeks to tell the heroic, human stories of first responders and the importance of their work. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and began her career as a freelance writer, focusing on government and military issues. Engel joined Lexipol in 2015 and has since reported on issues related to public safety. Engel lives in Wichita, Kansas. She can be reached via email.