NFPA reports find improvement but continued needs for America's fire departments
NFPA has conducted a series of national surveys to identify the needs of the fire service for resources required to safely and effectively carry out their responsibilities. The surveys indicated the resources fire departments had, while NFPA codes and standards and other national guidance documents defined the requirements. The gaps between resources in hand and resources required defined the needs.
These reports look at personnel and their capabilities, including staffing, training, certification, and wellness/fitness; facilities and apparatus; personal protective equipment; fire prevention and code enforcement; the ability to handle unusually challenging incidents; and communications and new technologies.
All three studies began with requests from Congress, and the first two studies were conducted with and sponsored by the U.S. Fire Administration and its parent agencies.
A Third Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service (PDF, 1 MB)
Errata incorporated August 22, 2011. (PDF, 12 KB)
Updated study examining the needs of the U.S. fire service in such areas as training, certification, personnel, apparatus, equipment, and fire prevention, with particular attention to homeland security type incidents.
Selected findings of the 2011 Needs Assessment
Nearly half (46%) of all fire departments that are responsible for structural firefighting have not formally trained all their personnel involved in structural firefighting, down from 55% in 2001 and 53% in 2005.
Seven out of ten (70%) fire departments have no program to maintain basic firefighter fitness and health, down from 80% in 2001 and 76% in 2005.
Nearly half (46%) of all fire department engines and pumpers were at least 15 years old, down from 51% in 2001 and 50% in 2005. Half (51%) of all fire departments cannot equip all firefighters on a shift with self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), down from 70% in 2001 and 60% in 2005.
Two out of five (39%) fire departments do not have enough personal alert safety system devices (PASS) to equip all emergency responders on a shift, down from 62% in 2001 and 48% in 2005.
Download a Powerpoint presentation on the Needs Assessment report. (ppt, 336 KB)
The following are state-level reports based on the findings in each of NFPA's needs assessment reports.
*Erratas issued February 23, 2012 for West Virginia report (PDF, 79 KB) and fact sheet (PDF, 74 KB).
**Erratas issued April 19, 2011 for Kansas 2004 report (PDF, 12 KB), Maine 2004 report (PDF, 12 KB) and Nevada 2004 report (PDF, 12 KB).
Four Years Later – A Second Needs Assessment of the U.S.Fire Service (PDF, 4 MB)
Department of Homeland Security, USFA, and NFPA, October 2006. 159 pages
Updated assessment of needs of U.S. fire service in such areas as training, certification, personnel, apparatus, equipment, and fire prevention, with particular attention to homeland security type incidents.
Also see: Download an errata for this report. (PDF, 16 KB)
Matching Assistance to Firefighters Grants to the Reported Needs of the U.S.Fire Service (PDF, 2 MB)
Department of Homeland Security, USFA, and NFPA, October 2006. 41 pages
Analysis of whether grants requested and received have addressed reported needs, by type of need, and whether popular types of grants have resulted in significant change in the overall national level of need.
A Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service (PDF, 1 MB)
FEMA, USFA, and NFPA, December 2002. 160 pages
A comprehensive study done by FEMA, USFA and NFPA examining the needs and response capabilities of the U.S. fire service. Among the factors examined are personnel and their capabilities; fire prevention and code enforcement; stations, apparatus and equipment; and the ability to handle unusually challenging incidents. Results are reported by nationwide and community size.