A Systematic Collaboration of Volunteer and Professional Fire Units in Hungary


  • András Molnár University of Pécs, PhD School of Regional Policy and Economics,University of Pécs, PhD School of Regional Policy and Economics




volunteer firefighters, collaboration, fire safety partnership, emergency management policies, first responders


Volunteer firefighter units provide fire protection and rescue in many countries, while efforts to ensure safety often fall under the competencies of municipalities and local communities. Hungary, a Central European country centralised a large portion of its public services in the past decade, fire safety and rescue became the competence of a centralised professional governmental agency with national coverage. Although policy builds on a central professional organisation, the volunteer firefighting movement gained importance and has grown significantly recently. This paper investigates the collaboration between private volunteer firefighting brigades (local associations) and the central governmental disaster management agency of Hungary. We apply a case study approach to understand how volunteer units are integrated into the professional system. Our research is based on the analysis of policy documents, key informant interviews and Freedom of Information data requests. Findings show that volunteer units contribute to the safety and resilience of local communities in Hungary, but their engagement is not sustainable due to demographic and societal challenges, as well as the policy contradictions identified. The majority of the research on the role of volunteer firefighters covers decentralized countries with subsidiary systems. This current case study provides an addition to the discourse around the involvement of volunteers in fire safety with the evaluation of a collaboration between a centralized professional authority and localized, individual volunteer fire associations.


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How to Cite

Molnár, A. . (2024). A Systematic Collaboration of Volunteer and Professional Fire Units in Hungary. International Journal of Disaster Risk Management, 6(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.18485/ijdrm.2024.6.1.1