Raleigh Fire Department History – Charts and Data

Updated on April 21, 2024, with added chart showing recruit class length. Updated on February 24, 2023, with additional charts showing fire station growth. Updated on January 11, 2023, with additional charts: extra-alarm fires and recruit graduating class sizes. 

Random data play about the Raleigh Fire Department. These charts originally appeared as postings on Legeros Fire Line on Facebook. They were created using Excel.


  • Growth Trends – Number of Stations
  • Extra-Alarm Fires
  • Counts of Companies
  • Population Growth vs. Response Growth
  • Most Popular Month for Opening New Fire Stations
  • Recruit Academy Starting Sizes
  • Recruit Academy Graduating Class Sizes
  • Recruit Academy Length

Growth Trends – Number of Stations


Extra-Alarm Fires

This chart compares the counts of extra-alarm fires in Raleigh from January 2022 to July 2022. 

Counts of Companies

This chart shows the number of aerial ladder companies[1], service ladder companies, rescue companies[2], and battalion chiefs over time.

[1] Staffed companies are counting, versus frontline apparatus + reserve apparatus.
[2] Beginning in 1953, “Raleigh Rescue” operated a two-piece unit, but the larger rescue rarely responding. Thus the count is shown as one instead of two, to keep apples to apples in comparing with later counts.

Population Growth vs. Response Growth

This chart compares population growth (orange) and call volume growth (blue) in a given year. Sorry for the gaps. Also, the number ranges are not equivalent. The population range is 10x (or more) of the call volume range. Also, also, the first responder program expanded citywide in 1980, which is a notable factor for the change in growth rate. 

Most Popular Month for Opening New Fire Stations

This section was written on May 29, 2022.

New Station 22 is opening soon. As it happens, June is the most frequent month for opening newly constructed city fire stations in the career-era of RFD. (Meaning, opening a new fire station in a newly construction building. New stations in temporary facilities are excluded.) Here’s that distribution, from data beginning in 1926. See comments for source data. Which specific dates are the most popular? Those are June 9 (3), June 15 (2), and October 9 (2).

Note: Station 22 opened on August 2, 2022.

Recruit Academy Starting Sizes

This section was written on May 28, 2022. The chart was updated on January 11, 2023, adding Academy 49. 

Recruit Academy 48 started this week with 56 new recruits. It’s the largest academy in city history. What has that distribution looked like over time? Here’s a chart of academy sizes, plus notes on those years that new stations and new ladder companies were added, and those academies that started concurrently, or included members of other departments.

Recruit Academy Graduating Class Sizes

This section was written on January 11, 2023

Recruit Academy 48 graduated late last month. Here’s a chart of graduating class sizes. It includes the very short Academy 49, which graduated the city’s first lateral-hired firefighters in the fall. 

Recruit Academy Length

This section was written on April 21, 2024

Let’s look at recruit academy lengths over time. Orange are the “short” academies, with certification and experience as a hiring requirement. Red is the short “lateral” academy, with recruits hired with two or more years of experience and current certifications as career firefighters. 

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