About 91 percent of paid firefighters worked for local governments in 2010. Most of the remainder worked for federal or state governments. Firefighters also work at airports, chemical plants, and other industrial sites. They work in both cities and rural areas.
These employment numbers include only paid career fire fighters. They do not cover volunteer fire fighters.
Volunteer firefighters have the same duties as paid firefighters and account for the majority of firefighters in many areas. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 70 percent of fire departments were staffed entirely by volunteer firefighters in 2008.
When not on the scene of an emergency, firefighters work at fire stations, where they sleep, eat, and remain on call. When an alarm sounds, firefighters respond, regardless of the weather or the hour.