Volunteers needed because of why?
By Member Joyce Shry
January 16, 2024

Volunteers make up 67 percent of our nation’s fire service, protecting communities from hazards of all kinds. Small and rural communities are especially dependent on volunteers to provide emergency services. The services donated annually by volunteer firefighters in the U.S. are worth approximately $46.7 billion. Without those donated services, many communities would be unable to provide emergency services protection at all while others would be forced to raise taxes to pay salaries and benefits for full time staff.

In addition to staffing, lack of up-to-date equipment, training and apparatus are significant challenges for the volunteer fire service. National fire service needs assessment studies consistently show that agencies serving small communities lack up-to-
date equipment and training by wide margins compared with fire departments serving larger, more densely populated communities.
The problem comes down to a lack of resources at the local level, where a majority of fire department funding comes from. Volunteers tend to serve in rural communities with smaller funding to support them. The cost of maintaining a fire department that meets national consensus standards is significant, even when a department is staffed with volunteers.

Aging fire station infrastructure, equipment and apparatus replacement are among the most acute problems facing America’s fire service in general, and volunteers in particular.

Consider volunteering with us.