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Families of rural volunteer firefighters

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Rural Society
Issue number1
Volume18
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)17-25
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The protection of Australian rural communities from fire and other emergencies is provided mostly by volunteers. However, many fire agencies are facing concerns over falling volunteer numbers and are increasingly looking at factors potentially impacting on volunteering. Evidence suggests that family issues play a role in many volunteer resignations and could be contributing to declining volunteer numbers. Despite this, there is little research available on the families of rural volunteer firefighters and agencies have little evidence to inform strategies for supporting the families of their volunteers. In a preliminary effort to address this lack of knowledge, this review summarises the small amount of research available on rural families in general, and then volunteer firefighter families in particular. It then introduces a potentially useful model of Work-Family Conflict, which suggests that time- and strain-based pressures may be important sources of difficulty for spouses and partners balancing volunteer firefighter and family roles. This review concludes by summarising directions for future research that are important, if volunteer-based rural fire agencies are to develop policies to better support the families of their volunteers.