Fire Departments

New England towns utilize different types of fire departments: career, call, volunteer, and combination departments. Career fire departments employ their personnel on a full-time basis and receive regular compensation. Call fire departments receive nominal benefits and are paid when called out. Volunteer fire departments receive no compensation. A combination department usually has a limited number of personnel who are paid on a full-time basis that is augmented with a call force. Generally, career departments will be more expensive than combination departments, which will be more expensive than call departments, which will be more expensive than volunteer departments. Career departments are also known as full-time departments. Some fire departments are full-time by day but call by night and/or on weekends.

There are over 30,000 fire departments in the United States of which only about 12% are full-time departments. The following shows the number of full-time fire departments in each of the New England State:

  • There are a total of 227 local fire departments in NH, 40 of which are full-time departments but only six (6) use full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination departments. (For the same report but with budget and revenue information, please contact me.)
    1. NH Fire Departments (PDF)
  • There are a total of 232 local fire departments in Vermont, 9 of which are full-time departments but only one uses full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination departments.
    1. Vermont Fire Departments (PDF)
  • There are a total of 405 local fire departments in Maine, 34 of which are full-time departments but only six use full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination departments.
    1. Maine Fire Departments (PDF)
  • There are a total of 306 local fire departments in Connecticut, 44 of which are full-time departments but only 20 use full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination departments.
    1. Connecticut Fire Departments (PDF)
  • There are a total of 71 local fire departments in Rhode Island, 28 of which are full-time departments but only 16 use full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination departments.
    1. Rhode Island Fire Departments (PDF)
  • There are a total of 360 local fire departments in Massachusetts, 185 of which are full-time departments but only 90 use full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination departments.
    1. Massachusetts Fire Departments (PDF)

For a listing of the apparatus that each department may have, please go to the Northeast FireNews web site.

Fire Departments outside New England

  • There are a total of 62 local fire departments in Delaware, 1 which uses full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination and volunteer departments.
    1. Delaware Fire Departments (PDF)