The Future of Fire

Save the Date and RSVP: 2022 Future of Fire Summit

Join us from 5:00PM to 9:00PM on Thursday, September 15th, 2022, for our first Future of Fire Summit! The Summit will be a culmination of vital work from regional stakeholders and will feature valuable insight from local fire chiefs, policymakers, and more on the future of volunteer fire services in our region. 

Date and Time
5PM - 9PM
Thursday, September 15th, 2022

Teamsters Lodge 249 (4701 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201)

Tentative Agenda
5:00 - 5:30PM: Arrival, registration, and light snacks/beverages
5:30 - 6:15PM: Keynote, Overview, and Presentation with Catered Dinner 
6:15 - 7:00PM: Panel Discussion
7:00 - 7:45PM: Breakout Groups, Conversation, and Closing Remarks 
8:00 - 9:00PM: Social Hour


What is the Future of Fire?

Pennsylvania holds less than 13% of the number of volunteer firefighters that it had in the 1970's. At the same time, Allegheny County holds more fire equipment than New York City, causing a duplication of services. There is a crisis in that there are not enough firefighters to drive the firetrucks, and volunteer fire departments operating under capacity find it difficult to get a full team together when there is a call. From a municipal and regional perspective, CONNECT is looking at what it would take to coordinate the efforts of neighboring departments.

Pennsylvania volunteer fire departments face many challenges; from declining volunteer and retention rates to revenue shortfalls and increased fundraising demands to maintain costs. These trends have burdened volunteer fire chiefs, and consequently their municipal officials, to provide effective services for their residents while putting uneven pressure on combination and paid fire departments. Many of these challenges are due largely to the municipal fragmentation of Pennsylvania’s governmental structure. Allegheny County alone holds 130 municipalities; declining demand for fire services combined with increased competition with other municipalities has left a structural challenge for the future of volunteer fire chiefs in PA.

Developing collaborative capacity at the municipal level, combined with implementing a pathway towards broader regional efforts, will build the framework for future success of the region’s fire services. While there are multiple challenges, the ability to succeed will largely be determined by the capacity of elected officials and volunteer fire chiefs to organize and develop a dialogue for future communications.

Get Involved

If you would like to learn more and get involved with the Future of Fire, please fill out this form.

If you have any questions about the Future of Fire, please email Brett Stewart at


Check out our Future of Fire Info Sheet

Recording: CONNECT's Future of Fire Presentation at the ALOM 2021 Educational Conference


**New** Building Collaborative Capacity - 2022 Needs Assessment (Fall 2022)

Developing Collaborative Capacity to Enhance Municipal-Level Fire Services in Allegheny County (GSPIA/CONNECT Capstone, Fall 2020)
Take Action Toolkit: Public Outreach Tools for Volunteer Fire Service Providers in Allegheny County (GSPIA/CONNECT Capstone, Fall 2020)
Addressing the Volunteer Firefighter Crisis (GSPIA/CONNECT Capstone, Spring 2019)