Dutch fire departments losing volunteers, administration teams

Firefighters' gear (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Muffet)Firefighters' gear (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Muffet)

The fire departments in the Netherlands are slowly losing members. Last year the firefighting workforce shrunk by 1 percent, mostly among volunteer firefighters and support personnel, Statistics Netherlands revealed on Tuesday.

At the start of this year the Dutch fire brigade consisted of almost 28 thousand people. Some 24 thousand of them belong to the operational staff - they're firemen or women and actively fight fires. Only about 5 thousand of these firefighters do so for a living, the rest are volunteers.

About 90 percent of firefighters are volunteers. The number of volunteers have been declining for several years. Last year the volunteers dropped 1.5 percent, in 2014 the number dropped 4 percent.

The number of professional firefighters increased for the first time in eight years. Last year the number of men and women fighting fires for a living increased with about 100, an increase of just over 2 percent.

Since 2008 the total work force of the fire brigade shrank with about 10 percent.