Why make time for Annual Awards?

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.

Annual Awards

Example Annual Awards

Award Type Objective
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

Numbers-based Awards …

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.

Award Type Objective
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.

Why a nominations phase?

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.

Do-it-yourself Awards program

We’ve long used Survey Monkey and hand created a nominations survey with:

  • Who are you? (For administration only, some firefighters need help/make mistakes.)
  • Who do you vote for “Firefighter of the Year?” (from a randomly sorted list of eligable firefighters.)
  • Why? What reason do you nominate this person for “Firefighter of the Year?” (a free-form comment field.)
  • [Repeat for other awards] …

… then a voting survey with:

  • Who are you? (For administration only, some firefighters need help/make mistakes.)
  • Who do you vote for “Firefighter of the Year?” (from a randomly sorted list of candidate firefighters with reasons.)
  • [Repeat for other awards] …

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.

Note: Responserack provides this feature natively. See how Responserack can help your volunteer fire department.

Annual Awards

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.

Responserack provides revolutionary volunteer fire department software and NFIRS incident reporting software for volunteer fire departments. Responserack integrates CAD dispatch notifications - publishing to member communications platforms such as Slack or Group Me, combining location/place information and department notes into real-time notifications. Learn more about Responserack - Volunteer Fire Department Software.

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