I recently read an article about a large fire department's concern regarding retention of its members. This department is in the process of hiring 75 new firefighters to replace members who have left the department in the past year.
Other fire departments of all sizes are facing the replacement of significant numbers of firefighters in the coming years.
You don't often hear about retention as a critical issue for career fire departments. When a thousand people show up for every entry-level test, it is easy to think that the department will never have a problem with retaining members. But retention, especially among under-represented communities, has always been a problem for fire departments. This problem may not be obvious if departments do a decent job with recruitment.
For example, for a long time my own department prided itself on having a larger than average percentage of women among its members. However, this percentage represented something of a revolving door as women left before full careers and were replaced by newer women in a subsequent hiring process.