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Resources for the volunteer fire service

Almost 70 percent of all U.S. firefighters are volunteers. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) is working with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to help keep volunteers healthy and safe, and to keep the volunteer fire service strong now and in the future.

Critical Health and Safety Issues in the Volunteer Fire Service December 2016

The volunteer fire service has its own distinct issues related to health and safety. This report identifies resources, provides references, suggests tools, illustrates best practices, and establishes goals and objectives for each issue to help departments improve firefighter safety, well-being and survival.

As a nation, we rely on the volunteer fire service every day to save lives and protect property in times of danger and disaster. In order to do so, volunteers must first be healthy, safe and able to respond.

Critical Health and Safety Issues in the Volunteer Fire Service

Focus areas include:

  • Aging of the volunteer fire service.
  • Declining number of volunteers.
  • Funding.
  • Rural operations.
  • Time constraints.

Download or order the report

Project sponsors: National Volunteer Fire Council and USFA. For more information, please contact Bill Troup.

Recruitment and retention

Many fire departments are experiencing more difficulty with recruiting and retaining members than ever before. Can the trend in declining volunteerism be reversed? Information collected reveals that departments that have taken steps to deal with the problems have seen a resurgence in volunteerism.

If your volunteer department is looking for ideas and proven successful practices in recruitment and retention, download our publication “Retention and Recruitment for the Volunteer Emergency Services: Challenges and Solutions.” PDF 3.4 MB

We're updating this guide to provide volunteer fire departments with proven, successful strategies for recruitment and retention of personnel. In addition, the guide will address underrepresented populations in the volunteer fire service, including women and minorities. Estimated release date: December 2021

More resources for the volunteer fire service