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Top 12 firefighter facts

If you’re interested in becoming a firefighter, or already are one, you will be interested in reviewing the top 12 firefighter facts


There are approximately 1,115,000 firefighters working in the United States. More than two-thirds of U.S. firefighters are volunteers.

Photo/Middletown Township Fire Department

Interested in becoming a firefighter? Learn everything you need to know here.

If you’re interested in starting a career in firefighting, or if you are already employed in that field, you will be interested in reviewing the top 12 firefighter facts. Although firefighting can be dangerous, it’s one of the most rewarding careers you can choose. By becoming either a career or a volunteer firefighter, you’re making a valuable contribution to your community and to society at large.

Want to study up on your facts? Complete the form on this page to download a copy of this fact sheet.

Here are the top 12 firefighter facts as compiled by the NFPA.

1. HOW many firefighters ARE in the U.S.?

The estimated number of firefighters working in the U.S. is 1,115,000. Of that number, 370,000 are career firefighters and 745,000 are volunteers.

2. What Are the Ages of Firefighters working?

Firefighter statistics categorized by age group: 16-19 (3%), 20-29 (21%), 30-39 (27%), 40-49 (23%), 50-59 (17%), 60 and over (9%).

3. The average Firefighter salary

Firefighter statistics for average firefighter salary as of 2019: $54,650 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

4. Total Firefighter responses

The total number of firefighter responses in 2018 was 36,746,500, about 2 million more than the previous year.

5. Total Firefighter Medical responses

Medical assistance was the number one reason for firefighter response in 2018, at 23,551,500 incidents. That figure reflects an increase of more than 1.2 million over 2017.

6. Number of Firefighter False alarm responses

The second highest reason for firefighter response in 2018 was false alarms at 2,889,000. That figure has increased by more than 700,000 since 2010.

7. Number of fires

The total number of firefighter responses due to fire was 1,318,500 in 2018; the number of fires has decreased since every year since 2015, but previously hit a low of 1,240,000 in 2013.

8. Number of STRUCTURE fires

In 2018, firefighters responded to 499,000 structure fires. The number of structure fires per year has been below 500,000 every year since 2009, except for 2015, when there were 501,500.

9. Number of wildfires

There were 270,000 wildfires attended to by firefighters in 2018, a 5% decrease from 2017.

10. Where career firefighters work

In 2018, 67% of career firefighters were 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.

11. Where volunteer firefighters work

Ninety-five percent of volunteer firefighters were in working at fire departments that protect a population of less than 25,000 in 2018. Nearly 50% of volunteers are located in small, rural departments that protect a population of less than 2,500.

12. Estimated Fire Damage

There were 1,318,500 fires in 2018. Of those fires, an estimated property loss of $25.6 billion was reported, including $12 billion due to Northern California wildfires. The total number of civilian deaths in fires for 2018 was 3,655. The number of civilian injuries reported was 15,200.
Bonus firefighter statistic: There are about 29,705 fire departments in the U.S.

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

This article, originally published in 2011, has been updated.

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Laura French is a former editorial assistant for FireRescue1 and EMS1, responsible for curating breaking news and other stories that impact first responders. In a prior role at Forensic Magazine, French was able to combine her interests in journalism, forensics and criminology. French has a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism with a minor in criminology from Ramapo College in New Jersey.