Recruitment of Non-Career Firefighters

Emelie Lantz, Västra Blekinge Fire and Rescue Service
Department of Fire Safety Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University


Despite non-career firefighters being the backbone of most fire and rescue services, the difficulties of recruiting and retaining personnel have increased in the last few years. This has been identified, both internationally and by the Swedish government’s investigation into a more effective municipal fire and rescue service (SOU 2018:54), as one of the fire and rescue services biggest problems. Several fire and rescue services state that they cannot manage to maintain the state of preparedness for rescue operations that is required. A problem that is particularly apparent in the Swedish countryside and thus results in unequal conditions with regards to protection against accidents. To be able to offer equal accident protection we need to identify and understand the factors which contribute to a durable fire and rescue service with regards to staffing.

Aims and research questions:

I am researching the work situation of non-career firefighters and volunteer personnel. I want to understand the underlying reasons for today’s problem and identify possibilities for a more durable fire and rescue service.

Examples of research questions:

  • Which factors affect recruiting and retaining non-career firefighters?
  • What are the reasons for firefighters resigning?

Research and Schedule

A number of research studies with different aims will be carried out during the next three years. The focus will be placed on the work situation of firefighters, future possibilities and the efficient use of the resources in society.

About Me

I am the Head of the Non-Career Firefighters Unit at Västra Blekinge’s Fire and Rescue Service. I am responsible for operations and personnel in our Non-Career Firefighters Unit, who are distributed across 5 stations. In addition to this, I work with the development of rescue operation leaders and hold this title myself in addition to the role of Fire Chief in Command. To start researching just part-time firefighters and their situation was a very natural and interesting step for me as I am faced with these challenges in everyday life. I also started my career as a non-career firefighter, which was a very positive experience that I still carry with me today.

Do you want to know more? Or maybe get involved? Please email me at