Sumter County Fire & Rescue recognized internationally

Published 3:07 pm Thursday, August 8, 2019

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CHANTILLY, Va. — The International Association of Fire Chiefs announced the selection of departments chosen to participate in the IAFC’S Volunteer Workforce Solutions FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. This program will focus on improving volunteer recruitment and retention through more inclusive and diverse departments nationwide.

Sumter County Fire & Rescue is among the six chosen. Fire Chief John Ekaitis recently left for Troup County. The interim chiefs are Battalion Chief Jerry Harmon and Battalion Chief Clint Boley who are alternating the responsibility until a new chief is hired.


Others are Benton County (Washington) Fire District #4, Golden (Colorado) Fire Rescue, McQueeney (Texas) Volunteer Fire Department, Sullivan (Missouri) Fire Protection District, and Wheaton (Maryland) Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Over the next year, liaisons from these departments will work with the IAFC to enhance their department’s diversity and inclusion efforts to bolster their volunteer recruitment and retention. These departments will participate in a department-wide climate survey to assist leadership with gaining a better understanding of their departments internal culture and inclusivity. Once these surveys are complete, staff members from the IAFC along with representatives from the Council for Future Volunteer Firefighters (CFVF) will conduct a site visit to each department to gain better insight into the results from these surveys.  At the conclusion of this grant, these departments will receive an after-action report, detailing the results of the survey and site visit, and ways they can enhance their departments diversity and inclusion through different recruitment and retention strategies. All this work will assist in the creation of a Guide for Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Department that will be made available to the entire fire service so that any department can create a more inclusive and diverse department to better serve their communities.