History of Wake County Fire Protection and Fire Governance

What’s the history of fire protection in Wake County, as well as the governance of that fire protection? Have been thinking about that this week, in advance of tonight’s Wake County Fire Commission meeting. 

Here’s a research document (PDF) with those details. Created in 2016.

Looking through the fresh eyes, there are a couple things that need attention. Such as showing the size of the Fire Marshal’s Office / Fire Services Department over time. Say, number of authorized positions for each fiscal year. Also worth adding the specific year that county-contracted fire departments were required to submit itemized budgets. That was in the… 2000s? 

Historical High Points

  • 1952 – First rural service in Apex.
  • 1954 – First full-time county Civil Defense director hired. Role becomes EM director, and assumes role of county fire marshal.
  • 1955 – Wake County Firemen’s Association former.
  • 1956, by this year – County rural FD program created.
  • 1958 – County-wide, two-way radio network created for FDs.
  • 1963 – Wake County Fire Chief’s Council created.
  • 1972 – County FD dispatching transferred from Raleigh to new city/county 911 center.
  • 1978, by this time – Wake County Fire Districts Commission is operating.
  • 1985 – County fire training center completed in New Hill.
  • 1986 – First full-time county Fire Marshal hired.
  • 1988 – First countywide training program begins.
  • 1994 – TriData study of county fire protection received, includes recommendation for creating a fire advisory board.
  • 1998 – Wake County Fire Commission created, as advisory board to County Commissioners.
  • 1999 – Individual fire tax districts consolidated into single countywide district.
  • 2002 – County ownership of FD facilities introduced, with FVFD Station 3 opened.
  • 2003 – TriData study of county fire/EMS facilities and equipment receives, includes recommendation for closing a number of county stations.
  • 2005 – County ownership of FD apparatus introduced, along with bulk purchasing.
  • 2008 – First (and to date, only) fire station closure, Western Wake Station 2.
  • 2009 – First county fire recruit class graduates.
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