Wednesday, February 22, 2017

40 Facts about police, firefighters, and paramedics in the USA

If you’ve ever had an emergency or had to dial 9-1-1, you were probably highly appreciative when the police, fire department, or paramedics showed up. In fact, there are several million brave and dedicated Americans working tirelessly to come to the aid of others, saving countless lives without fanfare or thanks. Sometimes, as with the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, these civilian police, firefighters, and ambulance personnel pay the ultimate sacrifice.

So today, we wanted to celebrate and honor the men and women that put their lives on the line every day to help others, with 40 facts about firefighters, police, and paramedics in the USA:


1. There are currently over 1 million firefighters in the United States.

2. About 750,000 of these firefighters are volunteers.

3. The National Fire Department Registry lists 27,198 fire departments in the U.S., representing about 91% of all departments.

4. These fire departments operate from the 50,700 registered fire stations across the U.S.

5. 96% of all fire departments are small local operations, including some or all volunteer firefighters.

6. In fact, 69% of all fire departments have one station, while 17% have two stations, and 14% have three or more.

7. To staff all of these fire stations, about 1,217,300 personnel show up for work, including career, volunteer, or paid-per-call firefighters and civilian staff.

8. The average firefighter is 30-39 years old (28% of all firefighters), male, and makes $49,330 in annual salary according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

9. However, 26% of firefighters are 40-49 years old, and 16% are 50-59.

10. Together, they respond to more than 33 million fires and incidents every year!

11. However, reporting a fire isn't even the reason for most calls. In fact, people in need of medical assistance is the number one reason for firefighter response, with more than 21 million incidents per year.

12. Incredibly, the second highest reason for firefighter calls is false alarms, with more than 2.5 million per year!

Police officers and law enforcement

13. There are now more than 900,000 police and law enforcement officers dutifully serving in the United States, the most in our nation’s history.

14. About 556,000 of those are full-time and career sworn officers, with the rest being part-time, civilian, and volunteer personnel.

15. States with the highest populations and large metropolitan centers like California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois (in that order) represent the highest employers of police and law enforcement.

16. 88% of the law enforcement officers in the U.S. are male, and 12% are female.

17. Sheriffs' offices around the country employ approximately 291,000 career and full-time employees, including 186,000 sworn officers.

18. As of 2016, the median annual salary for police and detectives in the U.S is $60,270, representing an approximate hourly wage of $28.97.

19. Which states pay the most to their officers of the law? California, with 73,550 police officers, pays the highest national average at $78,790 annually, while Texas and New York follow not far behind.

20. Between 2004 and 2014, the number of police and law enforcement officers is expected to rise by about 33,000 members, or a 4% increase. It’s interesting to note that this represents slower than normal growth compared to many other professions.

21. An estimated 10% of police make $32,080 or less every year, while the top 10% earn $84,900 or more.

22. What does it take to become a police officer? The vast majority of departments around the country require a high school diploma (or college degree), candidates must be 21 years or older and pass rigorous physical, psychological, and technical testing. In many departments, a college degree in criminal justice or a related field is required.

23. Additionally, law enforcement personnel must be U.S. citizen, graduate from their local police academy, and undergo a period of evaluation during on-the-job training.

24. Interestingly enough, while a prior criminal record will seriously deter a candidate’s chances of joining the police force, it won’t necessarily exclude one from consideration.

25. However, high moral character is a requirement of officers of the law, and certain crimes – like domestic violence, racial crimes, etc. – automatically disqualify them.

26. Sadly, being a police officer is an extremely taxing, high-risk job. Injuries and on-the-job death rates are especially prevalent for police working in high-risk and urban areas. Firearm deaths, traffic accidents, and other forms of violence against police represent the highest instances of risk.

27. One interesting piece of trivia is why police officers are called “cops.” In fact, the moniker started in the mid 19th century, when the term “copper” was used in England.

28. In that country’s slang, a “copper” is someone who captures or seizes something – just like police and constables of the day captured criminals. Once that nickname spread to the United States, it was shortened to just “cop.”

29. Another theory proposes that "cop" is an acronym that stands for "Constable On Patrol." However, there doesn't seem to be any historical or etymological evidence to back this up.

EMTs and Paramedics

30. More than 155,000 registered Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) work in the United States.

31. As of 2015, their annual median income was around $31,980, or only $15.38 per hour.

32. For Paramedics, the annual median salary ranges from $43,525 to $54,710 per year.

33. However, EMTs and Paramedics are in high demand, with the field expected to grow by about 24% between 2014 and 2024 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

34. EMTs and Paramedics treat approximately 25-30 million people each year!

35. Answering all of those medical and service calls adds up to about $6.75 billion every year.

36. The job description for EMTs and Paramedics includes responding to 911 emergency assistance calls, administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation, treating major wounds with urgent care measures, providing first-aid, driving an ambulance to transport patients to hospitals and much more.

37. It's definitely a job that most workers do because they love helping people – not for big money, as their work environment can be characterized as extremely physically strenuous and high-stress, as they risk their own lives to save ours.

38. In fact, approximately 50% of all Basic-level EMTs are unpaid volunteers, as well as 5% of all paramedics.

39. About 40% of all EMA personnel work for fire departments, responding to calls side by side with firefighters.

40. Currently, nearly 70% of all EMTs and are male, according to national data.

Now that you know more about police, firefighters and Paramedics in the U.S., go ahead and give them a big “thank you” when you see one!

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