According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, volunteers make up 67% of our nation’s fire service. In Tennessee, volunteers account for 69% of all firefighters, but the number of volunteer firefighters in Tennessee is decreasing. There were 17,122 volunteer firefighters in Tennessee in 2013, and that number dropped to 15,833 in 2015. Many communities today face volunteer recruitment and retention issues, as volunteers strive to balance work, home, personal time needs, and the fire department in a depressed economy when many people have more than one job or manage a single-parent household. Many people do not have a lot of free time, and if they spend their free time helping their community, they want to know that their time and effort has value. Here are some examples of volunteer recruitment and retention efforts that have proven successful in communities across Tennessee. Not every idea will work in every community or situation, but these resources may provide ideas for programs that will work in your community.