Christine Bennett

Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company Retention and Recruitment Coordinator Christine Bennett presents an annual update detailing efforts to bolster membership, while OCVFC president Jay Jester listens, during an Ocean City Council work session on Tuesday. 

Increase in new members and candidates reported after program’s first year

(Aug. 2, 2019) One year after creating a position to focus on retention and recruitment volunteer firefighters, the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company has seen an increase in new members and interested candidates.

Christine Bennett, who was hired as retention and recruitment coordinator last summer, presented an annual report detailing those efforts during the Ocean City Council work session on Tuesday.

“We’ve already seen an incline in our membership interest throughout the year,” she said.

After coming on board last May, Bennett said reinvigorating the nearly defunct Retention and Recruitment Committee was an obvious initial improvement.

“Prior to my arrival, I was told that the committee wasn’t very active and nobody was able to tell me when the last meeting was held,” she said.

During her tenure, Bennett said the committee has met seven times, with an average of 10 members contributing to the proceedings.

Thus far, the organizational sessions appear to be paying dividends.

“We … hit our highest number of probationary members in June 2019 with 28,” she said.

Improving the fire company’s online presence was another objective, Bennett said.

“The membership couldn’t tell me the last time the website was updated,” she said.

“Some of the information on our different programs wasn’t even present,” she said. “A lot of the widgets … didn’t work, so it was always 67 and cloudy in Ocean City, which we know is not the case.”

The refreshed site, which focuses more on retaining members and recruiting new ones, was rolled out to the general public on March 22.

 “We wanted to make sure recruitment was at the forefront,” she said. “We do need the help, we do need the membership and we wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to access that information.”

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