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Where Does My Fire Protection Come From?

Neighbors Helping Neighbors to Protect Life and Property

Chief Brad Fiore, Cottekill Volunteer Fire Company (

May contain: triangle

You may have seen the movies Backdraft or Ladder 49. Maybe you’ve caught an episode of Chicago Fire. Certainly some of you remember the 1970s television series Emergency.

Most images on television, in movies and in books are those of career or paid firefighters. They work, eat and sleep at the fire station. The bell rings, and off they go to the emergency. Is that the image you have?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case throughout most of the country. Nearly 72 percent of the 30,000 fire departments in the U.S. are volunteer departments. Here’s how your Fire Emergency Services works. There are three parts to the fire protection equation. Think of it as a triangle with information and resources flowing in both directions.

The Fire District • The Fire Company • The Community

Let’s take a look at the responsibilities of each one.

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