Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How many fire fighters are there in Connecticut? (How many are volunteer? How many are career?)
A: There are about 26,800 fire fighters in Connecticut.
- About 4,450 of them are career fire fighters.
- About 22,350 are volunteer fire fighters
- Statistics based upon membership statistics provided by the Connecticut State Firefighters Association for 2016/17.
Q: How do you arrive at these numbers?
A: Nobody is responsible for tracking fire fighter statistics; there is not a central reporting agency. It is difficult to track the numbers, since fire fighters can belong to more that one department. Also, individual fire departments define their active personnel differently.
Q. What is a career fire fighter? Do volunteer fire fighters get paid?
A: Career fire fighters have full-time paid benefited jobs as fire fighters. Volunteers are any other people who fight fires. They may receive no pay at all, be paid on an hourly, or a per-cal/basis. Volunteer fire fighters typically have jobs and careers outside of fire fighting. Also, many volunteer departments offer incentives such as property tax abatement and length of service (pension) award programs.
Q: How many career female fire fighters are there in Connecticut?
A: A 2001 report from the organization Women in Fire Service, there are 62 women on 29 departments in CT., 1 engineer, 3 Lieutenants, 1 Deputy Chief. There are approximately 6,650 women in active career level structural firefighting throughout the U.S.
Q: Who oversees fire fighters in the state?
A: Fire protection, and the people who provide it, are local issues in the same way that street cleaning is a local issue. In other words, there is no legislatively mandated state director of street cleaners. Localities decide on their own fire protection services. The Legislature does regulate fire fighters’ pensions, worker compensation, voluntary training standards, etc.
Q: How many fire fighters are there in the U.S.? (How many career, how many volunteer?)
A: According to estimates based on the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2002 National Fire Experience Survey (released January 2004); there were approximately 1,108,240 fire fighters in the U.S. in 2002, an increase of 2.8% from the previous year.
- The information comes from the annual survey sent out to fire departments and a weighting formula used by NFPA in their estimate equation. In this survey, career fire fighters were defined to include full-time fire fighters regardless of assignments (e.g. suppression, prevention/inspection, administrative).
- This survey defined career fire fighters who work for public municipal fire departments; it does not include career fire fighters who work for private fire brigades.
- Most career fire fighters (76% of the 291,650) work in communities that protect 25,000 or more people.
- The survey defined volunteer fire fighters as any active part-time (on-call or volunteer) fire fighters. Active volunteers were defined as being involved in fire fighting. Of the total number of fire fighters, 74%, or 816,600 were volunteers.
- Most of the volunteers (95% of the 816,600) are in departments that protect fewer than 25,000 people. More than half of the volunteers protect fewer than 2,500 people.
Q. How many fire departments are there in Connecticut?
A: 315 fire departments in Connecticut. This figure includes municipal fire departments, fire districts, state agency, tribal nations and industrial fire departments.
Q. How many fire departments are there in the U.S.?
A: According to NFPA’s 2002 National Fire Experience Survey, there are an estimated 30,310 fire departments in the U.S. 12% of all departments are all career or mostly career but protect 60% of the U.S. population, while 88% of the departments are mostly volunteer or all volunteer and protect 40% of the population.
- 2,044 departments (6.7%) are all career
- 1,480 departments (4.9%) are mostly career
- 4,886 departments (16.1%) are mostly volunteer
- 21,900 departments (72.3%) are all volunteer
Q: How do I become a fire fighter in Connecticut?
A: Most of Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns set their own requirements; check with your local fire department or municipal human resources (Personnel) department. However, many departments want you to:
- Be a high school graduate
- Have a valid drivers license
- Be able to use computers
- Be healthy and in good physical condition (see CPAT section of web page)
- If you are in high school, check Fire Explorer, Junior and Cadet programs. Many previous Fire Explorers have become fire fighters in their communities
- Take courses at Connecticut Fire Academy, state community colleges or the University of New Haven
- Individuals interested in volunteering should contact the Commission on Fire Prevention and Control sponsored recruitment program 1-800-FIRE-LINE (1-800-347-3546). Interested individuals will be referred to volunteer opportunities in Fire, EMS, Citizens Corp, Fire Corp, Red Cross and Civil Air Patrol.
Q: How can I become qualified to fight forest fires?
A: Meet the requirements of the state or federal agency doing the firefighting to get on a list of qualified people to be called up. You must take and pass a physical work capacity test. Check out the Wildland Training Information page at Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.
- Contact: Helene Hochholzer
Forest Protection, Forestry Division
Bureau of Natural Resources
Q: How many emergency medical service providers are there in Connecticut?
A: Active EMS Personnel Statistics as of 12/31/2004 provided by the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
- 7,424 Medical Response Technician
- 10,088 Emergency Medical Technician
- 996 Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate
- 388 Emergency Medical Services-Instructor
- 1,665 Paramedic