Fireside Focus: Firefighter News & Stats


July is hot, and we’re putting a fireside focus on this month’s topics. We’re going to continue the focus by talking about firefighter news and stats. It’s about firefighter content this week, bringing attention to the thin red line and all that encompasses. Here’s what we have today.

Firefighter News

It seems you only hear about the bad stuff, so we’re highlighting a few good stories for firefighter news.

Rural Department Receives Large Donation

A rural Missouri fire department, serving only 500 residents, was struggling with equipment from the 1980s. They even used money from their own pockets to cover additional expenses, such as repairs to the old trucks, three of which weren’t even running.

Earlier this year, Sam Sloan, a longtime resident and previous cattle worker, told Fire Chief Mark Hardin he was donating $500,000 to the department. He’d been thinking about it for a long time and decided this is how he wants to give back to the community.

With the new funds, the small department can afford new equipment, functioning gear, and they can focus more on training and keeping residents safe. For the full story, click here.

New Sea-Doos Cuts Down Water Rescue Response Times

A Seattle department just added two new watercraft to their rescue fleet. The customized Sea-Doos were donated by the Seattle Fire Foundation in hopes to speed up water rescues. Since the department sees about 70 water rescues per year, the additional vehicles will be well used.

Each Sea-Doo can go about 52 mph and tows a float behind. The department responders received 20 hours of training on the crafts. Before, divers were only certified to go out up to 300 feet from the shore. Now, the Sea-Doos allow farther travel for rescues.

For more on this story, click here.

Third Generation Firefighter Joins the Ranks

Just last month, Brayden Bradbury joined his father, First Lieutenant Kevin Bradbury, a firefighter of 25 years, with Virginia’s Roanoke Fire Department. His grandfather, retired deputy chief Ralph Tartaglia, served as a firefighter with the department for 37 years.

You don’t hear of third generation commitment too often, but it’s nice to hear the family tradition being carried on. Are you born or bred for the fire service? For more on this story, click here or here.

Firefighter Stats

It’s hard to see the big picture when all you get are tidbits. We’re laying out some firefighter stats that may be news to you. Did you know any of these things?

  • 24 reported firefighter fatalities in 2024
  • 1,157 home fire fatalities in 2024
  • About 65% of US Fire Department calls are EMS-based
  • Only about 4% of US Fire Department calls are actual fires
  • 47% of home fires are caused by cooking incidents
  • 69% of fire departments across the US are volunteer-based
  • Only 9.6% of fire departments across the US are career (the rest are a mix)

The above statistics are taken from the US Fire Administration’s website. Some of the data takes a while to collect and may end up being a couple years old unless specifically stated.

Does any of it surprise you? What would you add?

More Fireside Focus

There’s plenty more firefighter news out there, stories good, bad, and interesting. Follow FireRescue1, CRACKYL, or Firefighter Nation for more. There’s plenty of ugly stories, but we want to share the good stuff too. So, feel free to drop us a line and let us know what’s good in your department. We’d love to spread the news.