Before 1895, fire brigades from five factories in the city of Barberton provided the city’s fire protection. In 1895, Barberton’s first fire department was formed and structured with a Fire Chief, an Assistant Chief, and 18 volunteers. On August 17, 1903, a resolution was signed by Barberton to sell $15,000 worth of bonds to build and staff a full-time fire station.
Over the years, the Barberton Fire Department (BFD) has evolved to meet the public’s needs. In 1973, firefighters began pre-hospital emergency care training, and four years later, State of Ohio Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training. The 1980s brought two additional changes. First, in 1986 the BFD began participating in the Summit County Hazardous Materials Response Team. Secondly, on November 1, 1989, the BFD was authorized to provide a paramedic-level emergency medical service (EMS) service. Throughout the 1990s, the department began providing technical rescue services to meet the needs of its remaining industries and the community as a whole.
Currently, the BFD provides fire prevention, public education, fire suppression, EMS, specialized rescue, and hazardous materials response with 45 full-time firefighter/paramedics. A department that once only provided fire suppression has evolved into an all-hazard response service answering over 4,800 calls annually.