From a Fire Service Historian: Part 4

  • From a Fire Service Historian: Part 4

    Posted by Robert Avsec on April 19, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    How fire departments went from volunteer to career

    Political ambition and sketchy fire insurance companies pushed cities to convert volunteer departments to career

    This is the last of a four-part series on professionalism in firefighting, specifically how it evolved out of the transition from urban volunteers to a paid fire service and how volunteers would later come to embrace the concept of professionalism itself.

    About the author. Bruce Hensler served as a firefighter from 1976 to 2011 in career, combination and volunteer departments. He previously served as a fire program specialist in the Emergency Response Support Branch of the U.S. Fire Administration, retiring in 2017. He also previously served as deputy director of the operations division for the firefighter training program in Maine. Hensler has a master’s degree in public administration. His interest in history led him to write “Crucible of Fire: Nineteenth-Century Urban Fires and the Making of the Modern Fire Service.” More information about his book is available at

    Dr. Kristen Wheldon replied 11 months, 3 weeks ago 2 Members · 1 Reply
  • 1 Reply
  • Dr. Kristen Wheldon

    April 22, 2023 at 10:57 am

    Interesting! I knew about insurance companies but didn’t understand the entire context. Thank you for sharing.

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