Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service   [open pdf - 3MB]

The Fire Service Needs Assessment Survey was conducted as a census, with appropriate adjustments for non-response. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) used its own list of local fire departments as the mailing list and sampling frame of all fire departments in the US. In all, 26,354 fire departments were mailed survey forms. The content of the survey was developed by NFPA, in collaboration with an ad hoc technical advisory group consisting of representatives of the full spectrum of national organizations and related disciplines associated with the management of fire and related hazards and risks in the U.S. Overall, NFPA received 12,240 completed surveys and has edited, coded, and keyed 8,416 surveys for analysis in this report. The overall response rate is 46%, which is unusually high for a survey involving a large number of smaller departments. Because NFPA prepared two preliminary reports based on the first 5,100 surveys keyed and those results are very similar to the results based on 8,416 surveys, the authors believe that the surveys keyed late and so not included in this analysis would not, if analyzed, materially affect the results, either nationally or by community size. In particular, all surveys from departments protecting populations of 50,000 population or more were keyed for this analysis, and a sufficient number of surveys from each of the population intervals for smaller communities have also been keyed to assure a statistically valid sample. However, the additional surveys keyed will permit a much larger share of US fire departments to have participated, in what clearly is shaping up as the highest-participation and most-detailed database on fire service resources and needs ever assembled.

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