The Columbia Fire Department exists to protect lives, property and the environment through the enforcement of fire codes, presentation of comprehensive public fire safety education programs, the investigation of incidents of arson, and rapid, effective responses to and mitigation of fires, rescue incidents, hazardous material leaks, and natural disasters
The Columbia Fire Department serves Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, as well as a 660 square-mile area of Richland County. The County’s estimated 2009 population is 372,023, while the city of Columbia is estimated to have 129,333 residents. However, with the numerous and varied governmental agencies and local businesses within the Capital City, its daytime work force easily exceeds 400,000 persons.
The Columbia Fire Department is the sole provider of fire services for local, state, and federal government buildings in both the city and the county. The City of Columbia and Richland County have entered into a contract to provide fire protection to the entire county. One department allows the City / County the ability to better plan and staff emergency response units without needless duplication of services.
The Columbia Fire Department currently has 605 active firefighters—475 of them are paid/career firefighters while 130 are volunteer firefighters—located in 32 stations. Of these 32 stations, 14 are considered “volunteer stations” as they are staffed predominantly by volunteer firefighters.
The Columbia Fire Department provides county-wide service and has jurisdictional cooperation with five municipalities and the county. In addition to providing fire protection to the Capital City, CFD is the sole provider of fire protection to the towns of Blythewood, Arcadia Lakes, Eastover, and Forest Acres, along with Richland County. CFD also has mutual aid agreements with two nearby military bases—McEntire Air National Guard Base and Fort Jackson. Fort Jackson, which is located within Richland County, is the largest, initial training facility in the US Army. The Columbia Fire Department also has mutual aid agreements with six surrounding counties.