NFPA report cites great needs with US fire departments

Published:  25 November, 2016

The fourth Fire Service Needs Assessment Survey has revealed significant shortages in staffing, training, facilities, health, wellness and equipment.

In September 2015 the Needs Assessment survey was sent out to all US fire departments. The intent of the survey was to capture the level of fire department resources and staffing, identify where fire departments have the resources to meet the needs of their communities and identify gaps. The NFPA has been conducting this study every five years since 2001.

Key findings from the report:

  • 49% of all fire departments have not formally trained all of their personnel involved in structural firefighting, up from 46% in 2010.
  • 69% of departments reported that some of their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) equipment is at least 10 years old, up from 55% in 2010.
  • 72% of departments reported that some of their personal protective clothing is at least 10 years old, up from 63% in 2010.
  • 43% of fire stations are at least 40 years old, up from 32% in 2001, when the initial needs assessment survey was conducted.
  • 27% of fire departments have a basic firefighter fitness and health program, slightly down from 30% in 2010.
  • 43% of all fire department engines and pumpers are at least 15 years old, down from 51% in 2001.

‘Today’s fire departments are being called upon to protect communities from much more than fire, commonly responsible for additional areas such as emergency medical services, hazardous materials response, active shooters, enhanced technical rescue and wildland-urban interface firefighting and other emerging challenges,’ said Jim Pauley, NFPA president and CEO. ‘As fire departments work hard to meet the many needs of their communities, we need to ensure that they have the resources to do their jobs safely and effectively.’

The full 2015 ‘Needs Assessment of the US Fire Service’ report is available online.

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