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Original Author: Wolf, Dennis
Date of Material: 10/18/2021


Tennessee Fire Department Needs Assessment Survey 2020

Reviewed Date: 10/18/2021
In 2015, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) conducted its fourth Fire Service Needs Assessment Survey, having conducted previous surveys in 2001, 2005, and 2010. Even though the United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the NFPA have conducted several national level fire services needs assessments, there had never been a comprehensive needs assessment conducted that focused solely on the Tennessee fire service until 2013. Based on individual fire studies conducted by the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), these departments are keenly aware that Tennessee fire services have extensive needs in many areas, especially in smaller communities, but there is a lack of quantifiable data on these needs. The purpose of this survey was to collect reliable data on the needs of Tennessee fire departments as a whole.

Additionally, the response rate for Tennessee in national surveys has been low. In 2010 and 2015, for example, the NFPA surveyed 247 and 427 respectively of the 723 fire departments in Tennessee and of the departments surveyed only 80 and 81 fire departments responded, respectively. MTAS does not consider either of these examples a representative picture of the state’s fire service. To get a better sample of data, MTAS theorized that a survey of Tennessee fire departments by a Tennessee organization, coupled with providing a way for participants to respond both electronically and manually, would result in an improved response rate. In fact, the response rate to MTAS’ Tennessee Fire Needs Assessment Survey (TFNAS) in 2013 and 2020 was 23 percent and 28 percent respectively, which greatly exceeds the response rate to the national survey in both 2010 and 2015 (11 and 19 percent respectively).

This survey’s major goal is to identify gaps or the needs of the Tennessee fire service by comparing what departments have, regarding efficient and effective firefighting practices, against consensus standards, government regulations, and other nationally recognized guidance.

file 2020 FDNAS MTAS Report Final.pdf