Volunteer Fire Departments
HistoryThe man who established the first volunteer fire department also invented bifocals, wrote and printed Poor Richard’s Almanac, studied electricity, and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. His name was Benjamin Franklin. The first volunteer fire department began in Philadelphia in 1736.
Franklin often wrote about the dangers of fire and the need for organized fire protection. After an extensive fire in Philadelphia in 1736, Franklin established the first all-volunteer fire brigade, which was known as the Union Fire company and was comprised of 30 volunteers. As the idea of volunteer fire brigades gained popularity, additional companies were formed in Philadelphia. Each company paid for its own equipment and placed this equipment throughout the town at strategic places.
ImportanceVolunteer firefighters have played and continue to play an invaluable role in protecting lives and property. According to the National Fire Council, volunteer fire departments make up 73% of firefighters in the United States.
Hood County Fire Departments
Hood County fire protection and first response is provided by nine volunteer fire departments. The combined staffing averages about 250 volunteers. The Hood County volunteer fire departments receive some funding and equipment through the county but mainly rely on donations from their surrounding communities. Fundraising events, such as fish fries, typically occur annually.
Training is provided to each member, and many go on to become career firefighters. Members must be at least 18 years old and pass a background investigation. Junior firefighter programs are also available for those under 18. If you are interested in becoming a member of your local fire department or would like to make a donation, please contact the department nearest to you.