Recruitment & Retention – What’s working, what’s not.
Eriks Gabliks, Superintendent of the National Fire Academy
Friday, June 14, 2024
2:00 PM – 3:15 PM
Applicants for fire service vacancies aren’t knocking on your door anymore. An agency looking to fill ten vacancies, finds two qualified candidates. Qualified individuals are leaving your agency because your neighbors are offering a $10,000 signing bonus for lateral hires. Sound familiar? You are not alone, it’s a national issue and is impacting career and volunteer fire and EMS agencies. As a result of the U. S. Fire Administrator’s 2023 Summit on Fire Prevention and Control, a work group was tasked to address this important issue for career and volunteer fire and EMS agencies. This session will share the work that has been done by the U.S. Fire Administration/National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Recruitment and Retention Work Group. We will share the national discussion and provide insight into various best practices implemented around the nation that you may find of interest.
Eriks Gabliks has the honor of serving as the superintendent of the National Fire Academy (NFA). He was named to this position in November 2020. As superintendent, Eriks works with a talented team of professionals committed to developing and providing professional development opportunities for career and volunteer fire and EMS providers at the NFA in Emmitsburg, Maryland, through virtual opportunities, and around the country in partnership with state fire academies. Eriks leads the NFA, which focuses on enhancing the ability of fire and emergency services and allied professionals to deal more effectively with fire and other emergencies.
His interest in the fire service began in 1982 when he joined his neighborhood volunteer fire company in Adelphia, New Jersey. Over the years, he would serve with four volunteer, combination and career fire agencies in positions ranging from entry-level firefighter to deputy fire chief.
In 1991, he joined the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST). DPSST sets professional training and licensing standards for more than 41,000 public and private safety professionals in the state of Oregon. DPSST also operates the Oregon Public Safety Academy, which provides training to more than 25,000 first responders on an annual basis. Eriks served as agency director from 2010 to 2020, overseeing a staff of more than 450 employees. He is the first employee in the agency’s history to have ascended to this position from the internal ranks and served under three governors.
Mr. Gabliks holds a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Portland State University. He has also completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the NFA and the Executive Development Institute at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA.
Eriks and his family live in Hanover, Pennsylvania