Anchorage Fire Department is an ISO Class 1 public safety department responsible for providing all hazards prevention, education, and emergency response to the citizens and visitors of Anchorage.
Our mission and core value is “to serve our community before, during, and after an emergency".
The Anchorage fire service area covers the immediate 166 square miles of the Anchorage bowl and out to Eagle River; EMS coverage extends throughout the 1,961 square miles of the entire Municipality. Mutual Aid agreements exist between the Anchorage Fire Department, Ted Stevens International Airport Police and Fire Department, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Girdwood Fire Department and Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. In addition, the State of Alaska Division of Forestry and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management help protect residents and property lying within the 1961 square mile Municipality during the wildland fire season. The Anchorage Fire Department lends support to communities threatened by wildland fires throughout South-central Alaska.
Service within the response area offers a variety of challenges. Rescue and fire response to off-road terrain that requires 4-wheel drive and, occasionally, helicopters, occurs only short distances from major highways and the high-rise, downtown urban area. The Port of Alaska, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Merrill Field (the world's busiest small plane airport) and the hub of the Alaska Railroad pose potential industrial and transportation hazards. Suburban and rural areas add to the mix and a young populace spread over a wide socioeconomic range contributes to a full spectrum of emergency response activity. The Anchorage Fire Department serves a diverse need with a fully blended fire and rescue service.
The Department currently staffs thirteen fire stations, a Communications Center, a Fire Prevention office, a Regional Training Center, a video production center, a maintenance facility, and Administrative offices.
A Brief History
The Anchorage Fire Department was formed in 1915. It grew as a combination paid/volunteer organization to 50 personnel by 1951 when the first ambulance service began. In 1967, the first unification of services occurred when seven volunteer departments combined into the fully paid Greater Anchorage Area Borough Fire Department. 1971 ushered in the beginnings of current area wide Mobile Intensive Care Paramedic coverage.
Governmental unification occurred in 1975 when the City of Anchorage and the Greater Anchorage Borough unified to become the Municipality of Anchorage. An accelerated growth period, brought on by the construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline, grew the community by 42% in the first 5 years of the 80s. This propelled the Fire Department from a combined Unification strength of 180 personnel in 1975 to close to 250 members in the mid-80s. Unfortunately, the boom and bust cycle common in natural resource-based economies brought a significant economic downturn to Anchorage at the end of the decade resulting in budget cuts and layoffs at the department. The department also experienced an increasing number of responses which were not fire or EMS related, including hazardous materials, water rescue, and back country rescue.
The 90s saw a return to a more stable growth period within the Municipality of Anchorage which lead the department to expand operations and add more positions to meet the increasing response volume.
After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, like all emergency responders throughout the United States, the department's focus turned to response to terrorist attacks. The response volume continued to increase leading to the addition of two more fire stations and two new ambulances. The community experienced another economic downturn influenced by the Great Recession at the national level. Several administrative and non-operational positions were eliminated, and the budget was reduced.
The Alaskan economy slowly began recovered from the effects of the Great Recession in 2016. AFD was able to add line operations positions to reduce the workload of the current staff from the increasing emergency response volume. The Basic Life Support ambulance program was implemented which improved appropriate resource allocation for EMS responses.