I keep seeing references like this:
"While the number of fires has decreased about 50 percent since the 1970s, according to Natick Fire Chief James Sheridan, the number of responses made by fire departments “increases each and every year steadily.”"
It's one of those things I think we all know (how many times have we noticed the amazing amount of equipment at a car accident, and wondered where the fire was because none was visible), but that did not occur as a result of policy. One hesitates to call it naked careerism at public expense. But perhaps that's only hesitation.
ETA: Questionable efforts to find a comparator country suggest that the ratio of firefighters to population in the US is actually very similar to France. However, I suspect that we pay more of our firefighters than France does. The French ones are going out mostly on medical and other non-fire calls, just like ours.
ETAYA: Germany seems to have a lot more firefighters (again, figured against population) than France or the US; unclear what the paid/volunteer ratio is there.
This would probably answer a bunch of my questions.
In the meantime: