Finding volunteers: Chief Robert Rielage, Wyoming, Ohio Fire (Ret.)


If you run a volunteer fire department or a combination career-volunteer department, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that it’s been getting tougher over the years to find and recruit qualified volunteers.

With changes that have included living a longer distance from the workplace, employers’ unwillingness to allow for personnel to leave work to answer an emergency call, and, to some degree, a change in Americans’ attitudes toward committing to volunteer service, the landscape has looked pretty bleak.

Chief Robert Rielage

But retired Chief Robert Rielage says it doesn’t have to be that difficult to bring new volunteers into the fire service family, and in this week’s podcast, he explains how it can be done.

Robert R. Rielage is a former Ohio State Fire Marshal, where he served under Governor Bob Taft and was a member of the State of Ohio Security Task Force and a delegate to the National Governor’s Association for Homeland Security.

He retired in 2013 as the Fire Chief of Wyoming (Ohio) Fire & EMS, a 74-member full-service combination fire department bordering Cincinnati.

Prior to becoming Fire Marshal, Chief Rielage served for 27 years as an Assistant Chief of the Colerain Township Fire Department. A graduate of the Kennedy School’s Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University, Rielage holds a master’s degree in public administration from Norwich University.

Read his commentaries at FireRescue1.com and FireChief.com.

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