"PL 106-398, Section 1701, Sec. 33 (b) required that the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conduct a study in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to (a) define the current role and activities associated with the fire services; (b) determine the adequacy of current levels of funding; and (c) provide a needs assessment to identify shortfalls. The Fire Service Needs Assessment Survey was conducted as a census, with appropriate adjustments for non-response. The NFPA used its own list of local fire departments as the mailing list and sampling frame of all fire departments in the US. The Fire Service Needs Assessment Survey was sent only to departments with administrative and reporting responsibilities, in order to minimize double-counting. This means that the total number of departments we contacted may be much lower than the total number of departments in the state, as reflected in the state's own records. The data in this state report is least affected by this discrepancy in results reported separately by community size. Any statistics for the entire state must be used with caution and may not give sufficient weight to conditions in the smallest communities. For Florida, we analyzed responses from 240 of the 472 fire departments in the state. Analysis of the results by state was done by NFPA after and outside of the Fire Service Needs Assessment Survey contract. Those results have not been reviewed or approved by anyone at the Department of Homeland Security (new parent agency of FEMA). All statistics calculated as percents of firefighters are based on percents of departments by population interval, combined with national figures on ratios of firefighters per department between population intervals. Ratios have not been developed for individual states."
National Fire Protection Association: http://www.nfpa.org/