There are more firefighters but fewer fires:
Alex Tabarrok looks at how modern-day firefighters spend their time:
According to Nightline it costs $3,500 every time a fire truck pulls out of a fire station in Washington, DC (25 calls in a 24 hour shift is not uncommon so this adds up quickly). Moreover, most of the time the call is not for a fire but for a minor medical problem. In many cities, both fire trucks and ambulances respond to the same calls. The paramedics do a great job but it is hard to believe that this is an efficient way to deliver medical care and transportation. A few locales have experimented with more rational systems.