The purpose of the registry is to create a national database for use by the fire protection and prevention communities, allied professions, the general public and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). USFA uses the database to conduct special studies, guide program decisionmaking, and to improve direct communication with individual fire departments.
In the spring of 1998, the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) convened a Blue Ribbon Panel of prominent members of the U.S. fire service to review the structure, mission and purpose of the USFA and to make recommendations for the future of the federal fire focus.
The Blue Ribbon Panel noted the lack of a comprehensive list of fire departments and baseline data for the definition of the composition, capabilities and activities of the nation’s fire service. Their recommendation was for the USFA to develop a fire department registry.
In the fall of 2001, the USFA launched the National Fire Department Census, a nationwide campaign for voluntary registration of fire departments by means of direct mailing, coordination with fire service organizations and state offices, and referencing existing data sources and conference promotions.
From 2001 to 2016, the number of registered fire departments grew from about 16,000 to over 27,000. Because the census was cumulative over time, it did not reflect a typical census in the way that the data were collected. As a result, in the fall of 2016, the USFA renamed the census to the National Fire Department Registry.
Today, the National Fire Department Registry provides a current directory of registered fire departments and includes basic information such as address, department type, website, and number of stations. The survey also collects information regarding specialized services that is released in summary format only.
For more information about the National Fire Department Registry, please email us. If you are with a fire department, be sure to include your department’s name, state location, and fire department identification number (FDID), if known.