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Firefighters and fire-protection in the EU

04/05/2020

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Firefighters are one of the groups in the forefront of the coronavirus crisis response. In many countries they are involved not only in their traditional role, but also in helping to assure other essential services to their communities such as driving ambulances, delivery of medicines and food, covid-19 testing or retrieval of the deceased.

In 2019, almost 240 000 persons were employed as firefighters in the 22 EU Member States with available data, representing 0.1% of total EU employment. Among these EU Member States, Estonia, Cyprus and Latvia recorded the highest shares of firefighters in their workforces (all 0.4 % of total employment).

 

Spotlight on government expenditure

In 2018, the 27 EU Member States’ government expenditure on 'fire-protection services' amounted to €29.5 billion. This expenditure is equivalent to 0.5% of total government expenditure, which is less than the amount spent on police services (expenditure equivalent to 1.9% of total expenditure in 2018).

Overall, in the EU, public expenditure on fire-protection services remained stable at around 0.4 – 0.5% of total expenditure since the beginning of the time series in 2001.

 

Highest share of expenditure on fire-protection services in Bulgaria, lowest in Denmark

In 2018, the ratio of government fire-protection expenditure to total expenditure varied across EU Member States from 0.1% of total expenditure in Denmark, 0.2% in Malta and 0.3% in Ireland, Austria, Portugal and Slovenia, to 0.7% in Czechia and Lithuania, 0.8% in Romania and 0.9% in Bulgaria.

 

General government expenditure on fire-protection services, 2018

Source dataset: gov_10a_exp

 

This news is published on the occasion of the International Firefighters’ Day celebrated every year on 4 May.

 

Note: The European Union (EU) includes 27 EU Member States. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Further information is published here.

 

Source data on firefighters: 

  •  Firefighters – Employment data, 2019
  • The figures were collected through the 2019 EU Labour Force Survey.
  • Firefighters refer to category 'ISCO 5411 Firefighters', as defined under ISCO-08 classification.
  • Data on the number of firefighters in 2019 are not available from the EU Labour Force Survey for Denmark, Spain, Greece, Latvia, and Portugal.

 

Source data on government expenditure on fire-protection services:

  • This information on general government expenditure for the function 'fire-protection services' (according to the Classification of the Functions of Government - COFOG) is based on national accounts / government finance statistics.
  • For more information, you can visit the government finance statistics database and the methodological file. An interactive infographic is also available on the Eurostat website.

 

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