A fire department (American English) or fire brigade (British English), also known as a fire authority or fire service in some areas, is an organization that provides firefighting services. In some areas, they may also provide technical rescue, fire protection, fire investigation, emergency medical services, and hazardous material mitigation.
Fire departments are most commonly a public sector organization that operate within a municipality, county, state, nation, or special district. Private and specialist firefighting organizations also exist, such as those for aircraft rescue and firefighting.
A fire department contains one or more fire stations within its boundaries, and may be staffed by firefighters, who may be professional, volunteers, conscripts, or on-call. Combination fire departments employ a mix of professional and volunteer firefighters.