Employing a Fire and Emergency volunteer

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Employing a Fire and Emergency volunteer

About 85% of Fire and Emergency personnel in New Zealand are volunteers. In fact, most fire brigades rely entirely on volunteers.

Our volunteers are highly respected within their communities. Without them, there would be no local fire brigades respond to emergencies outside of our major population centres. That’s why the support of the people and companies that employ our volunteers is every bit as important as the volunteers they employ.

Volunteers also fill important non-operational roles, helping ensure we can respond quickly when there's an emergency. When you employ a volunteer, you're supporting your community and helping protect it in times of emergency.

Employing a volunteer requires some sacrifice. You need to be willing to support volunteers. Ideally, you'd allow them to leave the workplace quickly in the event of an emergency.

However, there is no obligation for you to release and/or pay your employees for any period they are absent from work on Fire and Emergency business. We recognise that releasing your employees isn’t always practical or possible. For this reason, we would encourage you either to make an agreement in advance, or to develop an emergency service volunteer absence policy for your whole business.

You may not be able to release your employee during work hours at all, but there might be other ways you can support them in volunteering, such as accommodating their training schedule or helping them manage fatigue.

What’s in it for you

There are many benefits to employing Fire and Emergency New Zealand volunteers:

Your volunteer employees learn new skills

By enabling your employee to volunteer for Fire and Emergency they will bring a range of new skills to your workplace, such as fire safety, first aid and medical response, event organisation and many more.

Showing that you’re a socially responsible business

Research shows that consumers expect businesses to support worthy causes in the community, and they are more likely to buy products and services from socially responsible businesses.

Enhance your public profile

Communities have huge respect for their local fire brigade. A partnership with Fire and Emergency New Zealand can enhance your public profile by demonstrating your contribution to your community.

Increase employee loyalty and engagement

Employees have greater pride and loyalty toward employers who ‘walk the talk’ and show they care. This can increase productivity and business success.

Become an employer of choice

In a competitive job market, job seekers are looking for a work culture that shares their values. Your support of volunteering encourages staff to give back to their community. This can be included among employee benefits  such as superannuation contributions and health insurance.

Employer Recognition Programme

We have an Employer Recognition Programme that provides ways to publicly recognise your support of your volunteer employees. This programme can help you attract customers, clients and business partners who trust the Fire and Emergency New Zealand brand.

What’s in it for your volunteer?

There are many benefits for your volunteer:

  • New skills such as fire safety, firefighting, first aid and medical response, specialised equipment experience, event organisation, fundraising, marketing, community and public relations skills.
  • Transferable skills such as leadership and decision making, problem solving, drive, lateral thinking, ingenuity, and an ability to perform under pressure.
  • Pride that comes from volunteering, which is motivating, rewarding and boosts self-esteem
  • Greater respect from co-workers.
  • Opportunities to make new friendships and expand networks, which could in turn benefit your business.

Other ways you can provide support

If you don’t have a volunteer working for your company but want to get involved, there are lots of other ways you can help. Your local brigade could have needs in the following areas:

  • Administration and book-keeping.
  • Hosting and promoting events.
  • Managing social media posts.
  • Catering.
  • Measuring and altering uniforms.

Meet with your local brigade to learn about their needs and get creative about how you can support your community.

What do our Employers of Volunteers have to say?