Bringing In Volunteers and Keeping Them: A Challenge the Cabin John Park Fire Department Hopes to Meet With Federal Grant

Bethesda, MD–The Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department (CJPVFD) has received a four-year federal grant of $245,680 that will be used to recruit and retain new volunteers.

The  (SAFER) Grant was awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Recruitment and retention of firefighters is a growing concern for fire departments across the country and here in Montgomery County,” says Cabin John Park Chief Corinne Piccardi. “We have worked hard to recruit new members and our work has paid off, but keeping them is another question.”

The options Piccardi and leadership are exploring include ridesharing reimbursement for carless volunteers, coverage of all in-station meal expenses, and tuition payments for student volunteers.

CJPVFD currently has over 100 members and has vigorously recruited new members during the last few years. The need is ongoing. Volunteers are tasked not only with fighting fires and responding to medical emergencies but also with participating in community events. They stand by, for example, at local fun runs, conduct a Christmas “Santa Run” to collect toys for children, and staff the annual open house.

CJPVFD serves the Potomac, Bethesda, and Cabin John area, including the nearby Potomac River and its adjacent hiking trails and climbing walls.

“By putting the SAFER grant to good use, we hope to continue to be a rock in the community and test new ideas that our fellow volunteer departments can put to use,” says Piccardi.

Contact: Avery Comarow, PIO