Firefighters are doing a lot less fire fighting than they used to. For the past 40 years, the number of fires in the United States has decreased significantly. So, have you ever wondered what firefighters do when they aren’t fighting fires?
In 1977, when the National Fire Protection Association began tracking the number of fires in the United States, there were 3.3 million fire emergencies. In 2013 that number dropped all the way down to 1.2 million. So what do firefighters do when they are not responding to fires? Here are a few examples of what firefighters do other than responding to fires.
Firefighters receive far more medical calls for service than calls to a scene of a fire. In 2016, firefighters responded to over 22 million medical calls for service compared to 1.3 million fire emergencies. In fact, most firefighters are required to have basic emergency medical training. CPR certification is the minimum training most firefighters are required to have while many are required to acquire an EMT-Basic certificate.
Firefighters are the first line of defense for people in emergency situations. Whether it be a vehicle accident, water rescue or anything in between, firefighters throw themselves in to dangerous situations on a daily basis to assist and rescue citizens in dangerous situations.
Fire Prevention Education
Although firefighters are responding to fewer fires, a large part of their job is related to fire prevention and education. Firefighters give presentations to students and faculty and are present at health and safety fairs to help educate the public on how to prevent fires. Even though there are fewer fires, public education on fire prevention are crucial to ensuring that the public understands the basics of fire safety and prevention.
Unfortunately, fire departments across the country are facing a crisis in funding. To help offset budget cuts, firefighters often help raise funds for their departments to ensure that they remain adequately funded and effective. So the next time you see a group of firefighters at a stoplight raising funds for their department, they would sure appreciate if you dropped a couple bucks in the boot.