Annual awards allow firefighters to recognize their fellow firefighters, strengthening the bond between them, and to their department. Annual awards inspire and recognize contributions, and in doing so, also benefit volunteer firefighter retention.
|Firefighter of the year||General||for all, except officers, and typically the most sought after|
|Officer of the year||Senior Staff||Recognizing leaders & leadership|
|Newcomer of the year||Trainees||Welcoming and building newcomer engagement|
|Wildland Firefighter of the year||Specialty||e.g. for specialty teams|
|EMT of the year||Specialty||e.g. for specialty teams|
Not all awards need to be based upon votes by fellow firefighters. Some are based on the total number of calls run (you do keep track of attendance, right?) or hours of training taken or provided.
|Top Responder||Incident Response||For those making response a priority|
|Top Night Responder||Incident Response||For those getting out of bed|
|Top Trainer/Trainee||Training Hours||For those who might not be able to respond, but make training.|
We used to do votes and tally those, and then one person would get the most votes and be recognized. That works, but it failed to show the true picture. Say you have 18 votes for one person and 19 votes for another … both are well regarded. We wanted both the awarded firefighter and runners up to know the respect they’ed received.
We ask firefighters to nominate and also give a nomination reason so we can list those reason … the context for their nomination … to allow others to see what contributions/efforts are being considered. Sometimes knowing the full nomination reasons have a great impact on results, but this also this publishes these good messages to all.
We’ve long used Survey Monkey and hand created a nominations survey with:
… then a voting survey with:
We usually allow a week for the first (ending Sunday evening, allowing weekend time) and a week for the second. We remind folks once in the middle (with how many have voted) and we remind folks at the weekend. We get good participation in this.
This year we used Google Forms for the survey, and it does come with some nice tools for collating and tallying answers.
Annual Awards are great for building bonds between responders, giving those who win the awards well deserved recognition and giving others inspiration. We provide a small plaque to commemorate the achievement, but the primary benefit is the respect of peers.