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Firefighting 101
by FireRescue1 Staff

Top 10 firefighter statistics

By FireRescue1 Staff

If you’re interested in starting a career in firefighting, or if you are already employed in that field, you might be interested in reviewing the top ten firefighter statistics. Although firefighting can be dangerous and the hours are long and erratic, it’s one of the most rewarding careers you can choose. By becoming either a career firefighter or a volunteer, you’re making a valuable contribution to your community and to society at large.

The top ten firefighter statistics as compiled by the National Fire Protection Association:

  1. The estimated number of firefighters working in the U.S. is 1,148,100. Of that number, 335,950 are career firefighters and 812,150 are volunteers.
  2. Firefighter statistics categorized by age group: Age 16-19 (3%), Age 20-29 (21%), Age 30-39 (28%), Age 40-49 (26%), Age 50-59 (16%), Age 60 and over (6%)
  3. Firefighter statistics for average firefighter salary as of 2009: $47,270 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  4. The total number of firefighter responses was 26,534,500, reflecting an increase of 5.1% over 2008.
  5. Medical assistance was the number one reason for firefighter response at 17,104,000. That figure reflects an increase of 8.5% over 2008.
  6. The second highest reason for firefighter response was false alarms at 2,177,000. That figure was down 2.9% over the previous year.
  7. The total number of firefighter responses due to fire was 1,348,500, reflecting a decrease of 7.1% from the previous year.
  8. Seventy-three percent of career firefighters are working in communities with a population of 25,000 or more. This firefighter statistic reflects the fact that the population density is relational to the number of firefighters needed to protect the community.
  9. Ninety-five percent of volunteer firefighters are in working at fire departments that protect a population of less than 25,000. More than 50% of volunteers are located in small, rural departments that protect a population of less than 2,500.
  10. There were 1,348,500 building structure fires in 2009. Of those fires, an estimated property loss of $12,531 was reported. The total number of deaths in building structure fires for 2009 was 3,010. The number of injuries reported was 17,050.

Bonus firefighter statistic:

There are 30,165 fire departments in the U.S.

These firefighter statistics give you an idea of the types of emergencies firefighters are most often called to respond to, as well as the numbers, age ranges and salaries of firefighters in the U.S.

About the author

Firefighting 101 articles are intended to educate a non-fire service audience about the fire service profession. These articles are written by FireRescue1 staff members and FireRescue1 contributors, and cover a wide range of topics from how to join a fire academy to how to pass the exams required to be a firefighter. If there's a topic you'd like to see covered, or are interested in writing for Firefighting 101, email editor@firerescue1.com.


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