The Florence Volunteer Fire Department came into existence in 1936 being organized, as most volunteer fire departments, by the citizenry of Florence with no city affiliation. The first engine was housed in the garage of a gas station in the then center of town on Main Street. To the right is a photograph of the 1937 Main Street Station dedication ceremony.
In 1970 a paid fire chief was hired and in 1979 six career firefighters were hired to supplement the then all-volunteer force.
In 1972 Florence Rescue, later renamed Florence Emergency Medical Services, was organized. As with the fire department, this organization was staffed predominately by volunteers.
Both the fire and EMS organizations thrived throughout the 1980’s. Membership and volunteer interest remained very high and both departments became leaders within the Northern Kentucky emergency services community. Throughout the 1970,’s, 1980’s and 1990’s the city continued to experience exponential growth in size and population.
Around 1989, Florence Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. opted to disband the corporation and become a department under the City of Florence. Until 1994 Florence Fire Department and Florence Emergency Medical Services operated as separate and independent organizations. It was in 1994 that these organizations were brought together as a single department under the City of Florence and known as, Florence Fire/EMS.
In 1999, 12 paid staff members were added to the department bringing the number of career staff to 38 plus the six contract paramedics for a total of 44. At that point in time, volunteer membership had dropped to less than 20 total members.
In 1998, six contract paramedics were brought into service from an independent provider of Advanced Life Support (ALS).
These contracted paramedics essentially added six personnel to department staffing however, these individuals did not provide any firefighting, rescue or other fire related capabilities as they strictly staffed the ambulances. The City hired its own paramedics and stopped the practice of contracting paramedic service in 2005.
A fire protection district was organized for a portion of the unincorporated area to the south and west of the City of Florence. Since its inception, the Florence Fire Protection District contracts with the department and City of Florence for fire and EMS protection.
Florence Fire/EMS currently employs 64 paid staff members. This includes fire suppression shift personnel and 6 administrative personnel. In addition to paid staffing, the department maintains a force of approximately 10 volunteer firefighters. The department is rated Class 2/3 by the Insurance Service Office (ISO), covers approximately 21 square miles and operates out of three fire stations to provide fire and EMS services to over 50,000 residents of the City of Florence and surrounding Florence Fire Protection District.