U.S. fire department profile

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Report: NFPA's "U.S. Fire Department Profile"
Author: Hylton J. G. Haynes and Gary P. Stein
Issued: January 2016

The report includes statistics through 2014 on the numbers and characteristics of U.S. fire departments and firefighters. It also includes information on the number of fire stations, pumpers and ladders nationwide, rates of usage of such equipment by community size, and total national direct expenditures on local fire protection.  State and federal firefighting entities are not included. 

Key findings

  • There were 1,134,400 career and volunteer firefighters in the U.S. in 2014, of which 82,550 (7%) were women firefighters. 346,150 (31%) of these were career firefighters and 788,250 (69%) were volunteer firefighters.
  • Since 1986, the number of career firefighters per 1,000 population has been constant, however the number of volunteer firefighters per 1,000 population has been decreasing.
  • 15% of fire departments were all career/mostly career and protected approximately 2/3rd of the U.S. population. Conversely, 85% of fire departments were all volunteer/mostly volunteer and protected about 1/3rd of the U.S. population.
  • More than half the firefighters (52%) were between 30 and 49 years old.
  • Nationwide, 39% of fire departments provided no emergency medical services, 46% provided basic life support (BLS) and 16% provided advanced life support (ALS).

U.S. Fire Departments by type and population