Rural Fire Departments


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Thread: Rural Fire Departments

  1. #1

    Rural Fire Departments

    I am looking for some info regarding rural (U.S) fire departments. I have looked around online but all I can find seem to correspond to what would probably be found in larger cities and conurbations. What I need is pertaining strictly to small, rural towns.

    Specifically I am looking for answers to the following questions:

    - What sort of area do rural fire departments cover? I know there's variation here but in a typical midwestern small town would the fire services be covered by a county-wide department, or perhaps one for a collection of villages and townships? Are there any areas still without a 'fulltime fire department as I understand historically there would be volunteer groups or is it basically expected that every town regardless of its population would have a fire department covering it?

    - How are smaller fire departments organized? What are the typical numbers of ladders/personnel for a jurisdiction of, say, 20,000 or less? What ranks are used? I know big towns and cities have a 'fire chief' but would a tiny department have the same structure, albeit with fewer personnel, or would certain ranks be dispensed with? If so, which ones specifically?

    - What is the typical pay range for a professional fire crew in a rural area in the US?

    Thanks for the help! Also, if anybody happens to be a firefighter of this kind and wouldn't mind me asking some questions please let me know

  2. #2
    The only small-town fire crews I'm familiar with were volunteers. Kinda like the national guard but fighting fires. They trained, etc. but this wasn't their full-time job. This was on the Dakota prairie but I know the volunteer firefighters around here (SE Texas) solicit for funding so I expect they do similar deals here. I'll try to google you up something.

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  3. #3
    Where I live it is all volunteer with no paid personnel. The towns, each chip in for a percentage of the fire coverage that is un-met by donations and fund drives. In my small town, less than a 1000 we have a fire company that covers two other small towns or villages. The fire department here a part of the social structure, in the past, there was a waiting list to join, not now, but it was the group to belong to, if you were anyone of any social stature. Not currently but the past more so. Still the fire department runs the local carnival and holds parties at Christmas and Halloween. They cook and sell chicken at any of the events and hold raffles.

    My fire department is made up of about 40 volunteers and is structured as far as rank and responsibility just like any paid fire department. Training is ongoing and determines what role you fill. We have EMTs and guys that do no more than direct traffic. The firehouse is the place to hang out on Saturdays and being Chief here is a big deal.

    We have radios, but the fire alarm is sounded when there is an alarm…. an old, world war two siren blasts a few times, if not enough people show up they set it off again to let you know not enough people showed up.

    We have really good coverage and I never thought that we ever lacked good coverage because it was all volunteer.

  4. #4
    The three rural fire depts which sort of converge on my area all have facebook accounts. Probably many many others do as well; it's very convenient for them to communicate with their constituency. I'm betting most would be happy to answer questions posed there.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  5. #5
    You're awesome, thank you!

  6. #6
    Where I live, the fire department covers a single village, with populations like 2-3k, and works in concert with other nearby fire departments to provide a network of coverage throughout the county.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by armoredtree View Post
    Where I live, the fire department covers a single village, with populations like 2-3k, and works in concert with other nearby fire departments to provide a network of coverage throughout the county.
    That sounds pretty much like what I originally intended. Would you mind me asking what country/state you live in? Want to make sure itís somewhere approximate to my setting and research further.

    Also, when you say works in concert with do you know if they still have their own individual leadership or are they under a single command structure?

  8. #8
    Member PSFoster's Avatar
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    I've lived in rural areas all my life. All I've known were volunteer fire departments. Where I live now in East Tennessee the counties are pretty expansive due to the terrain of large forest areas and mountains. In my county alone there are 7 district fire departments. Most are small but if help is needed other fire departments are called in to help. Forestry also is called for forest fires or fires that may endanger forested land. Each dept. has its own fire chief. The rest are volunteers. They have a good response rate. Fire calls are sent out over police scanners. As far as equipment, the smaller units usually have 2 trucks. Some also have a tanker if the area they serve doesn't have fire hydrants. The larger ones have 3 trucks and a tanker. But they all pitch in as needed. I hope that helps.
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  9. #9
    Patron Foxee's Avatar
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    I'm in Western Pennsylvania, rural, and fire departments are volunteer. They have fundraisers and donation drives. I don't know how they're organized internally, sorry.

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