How to Start a Volunteer Fire Department

Fire station in a small town in American Midwest image by Alexey Stiop from

Look at the histories of volunteer fire companies, and find many different stories on how they began. Start a volunteer fire company in a community by gathering support for the effort and the funds needed to get going. National fire organizations also can help. Read on to learn more.

Research the necessary equipment, number of people necessary for an effective force from the outset and affiliations with national organizations that help volunteer fire companies.

Find out about the rules and regulations governing volunteer fire companies from state governments.

Obtain support from the local government. This support comes in the form of publicity, some initial funds, land for the volunteer fire company location and even backing a loan for equipment.

Recruit the core members. You need people to start up operations and take on the tasks of soliciting others and raising money.

Reach out into the community for fund-raising volunteers. Fire equipment doesn't come cheap and while local government support for funds can be a big help, it doesn't cover everything.

Invite more members and people for the supporting organization. A volunteer fire company needs firefighters, but also must have an organization behind it that keeps raising money and helping with general operations.

Set up training. Remember, you can have enthusiastic volunteers with no experience. Train to all levels.

Publicize the effort. This increases community support, new members and attendance at fund-raising.


  • Talk to volunteer fire companies in nearby communities. You want to have their support in case of a fire, but also tips on how to start.

  • Join national organizations for up-to-date information on training, equipment and methods.

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Photo Credits

  • Fire station in a small town in American Midwest image by Alexey Stiop from