Needs assessment of U.S. Fire Service

Fourth Needs Assessment report shows that while some fire service needs have been declining, many have remained constant or increased

Report: NFPA's "Fourth Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service" (PDF)
Issued: November 2016

This fourth Fire Service Needs Assessment Survey was conducted by NFPA in 2015-2016 and follows three earlier surveys, which were completed in 2001, 2005 and 2010.  

This report shows that while some fire service needs have been declining, many have remained constant or increased. Fire service needs are extensive for departments of all sizes and in every area, including staffing, training, facilities, apparatus, personal protective equipment (PPE); and health and wellness. Overall, the smaller the community protected, the greater the need. 

The needs addressed in the report include: personnel and their capabilities; facilities and apparatus; personal protective equipment; community risk reduction: fire prevention and code enforcement; ability to handle unusually challenging incident; and communication and advanced technology. 

Report highlights 
  • Forty-nine percent of all fire departments in 2015 have not formally trained all of their personnel involved in structural firefighting, up from 46 percent in 2010.
  • The greatest need for training in large fire departments protecting populations greater than 500,000 is in fire prevention and code enforcement.
  • The greatest need for training in smaller fire departments protecting populations less than 2,500 is traffic control and wildland firefighting.
  • Two-thirds (69 percent) of departments reported that some of the SCBA equipment was at least 10 years old, up from 55 percent in 2010.
  • More than two-third (72 percent) of departments reported that some of their PPE clothing was a least 10 years old.
  • Two out of five (43 percent) fire stations are at least 40 years old, up from 32 percent in 2001.
  • There is an increasing need for additional stations in both the largest and smallest communities.
  • Forty-three percent of all fire department engines and pumpers were at least 15 years old, down from 51 percent in 2001.
  • One out of five (20%) fire departments have a behavioral health program.
  • One quarter (27%) of fire departments have a basic firefighter fitness and health program.

Past state-by-state reports 

The following are state-level reports based on the findings in each of NFPA's needs assessment reports from 2004-2011.

Alabama 
2004 2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Alaska  
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Arizona 
2004  2007 2011 
2011 fact sheet 

Arkansas  
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

California
2004  2007  2011 
2011 fact sheet   

Colorado
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Connecticut
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Delaware 
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Florida 
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Georgia 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Hawaii 
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Idaho 
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Illinois 
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Indiana 
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Iowa 
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Kansas
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Kentucky 
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Louisiana 
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Maine
2004  2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Maryland 
2004 2007 2011
2011 fact sheet 

Massachusetts 
2004 2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Michigan 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Minnesota 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Mississippi 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Missouri 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Montana 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Nebraska 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Nevada
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

New Hampshire
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

New Jersey 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

New Mexico 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

New York
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

North Carolina
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

North Dakota 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Ohio 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Oklahoma 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Oregon 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet

Pennsylvania 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Rhode Island 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

South Carolina 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

South Dakota
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Tennessee
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Texas
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Utah
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Vermont
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Virginia 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Washington
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

West Virginia
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Wisconsin 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet 

Wyoming 
2004  2007  2011
2011 fact sheet