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Feuerwehr in Florida

The fire department in Florida USA.

The organization of the fire departments differs greatly from that in Germany. In Germany the Fire Department is a public institution which supervised by the municipalities. The task definition is made by the nation.

In the United States each state regulates the fire departments with their own laws. This large sort of independence leads to differences in both the organization and the equipment of each fire brigade stations. 

Owner of the fire brigade stations is either a governmental organization or a private company. Each institution determines both the equipment as well as the color of fire engine trucks. This means that in the United States there is no unique color for vehicles but you find colors such as yellow, yellow-green, white and blue. But the colored lanterns are all the same at the fire engines. 

The task of the fire brigade is to fight the fire in their area. To solve this task optimally the firefighters receive a special training and high-performance vehicles which support their task effectively.

Normally the Fire Department is a part of administration in the city or town. In some counties private companies take over this task. 

In this case the private companies have the opportunity to apply for this task in a public tender. If a private company is granted for this task this mission is temporary and has to be renew after a few years. 

Due to the autonomy and independence of the regional fire brigades, the management of major accidents and disasters is a big challenge. To solve this task there is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the United States. This agency is a part of the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Fire Administration (USFA).

The mission of the organization of FEMA is to coordinate and to support the independent local forces in their task to rescue lives and repair environmental damage in the case of a disaster. FEMA advises in this case the involved emergency forces and assumes management responsibilities for such rescue operations.

The activity of FEMA is only possible when the president proclaims the status of emergency. This law is the Stafford Act and has been issued in 1988.


The emergency fire services in the United States can be reached by the telephone number “911”. This emergency service is provided to the citizens by the fire services. The funding for these services is financed with national and federal taxes.

When you dial the emergency number you reach a central switchboard. The switchboard staff asks you first details about the emergency and then decides to whom this emergency has to be forwarded: Police, Fire or Ambulance.

The dispatcher can see on the displayed the calling phone number and determine who is calling and if necessary can call back.

Moreover the dispatchers have a catalog of relief measures for the emergencies. With these measures they can advice the caller in the first minutes of the existing emergency until the alarmed emergency forces arrive on the spot. Another important task is to calm down the caller because he is often overwhelmed with the actual situation.




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Date: 15.06.12