Maybe they want to make a difference. Maybe they need a new job. Or maybe they just really want to ride on that fire engine. Regardless of the reason, the main cast somehow get roped into firefighting.
Can be Played for Drama, but more often than not this trope is comedic and will be Played for Laughs, with the characters doing their usual goofy antics while trying to serve their community. This is especially true if the heroes (or especially the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits) are just honorary firemen, who serve no real function other than to hang out at the station until the get a chance to prove themselves. Often, Hilarity Ensues if they are the only ones available to respond to a call when the other firefighters are responding to another emergency or otherwise preoccupied. However, they can against all odds proof themselves surprisingly capable and actually solve the emergency, earning the respect of the other firefighters. If not, see Ignorant About Fire.
Sometimes you may even have children play at being firefighters. Usually the real Fire Department has to bail them out when they inevitably get in over their heads. This is especially true if the creators want to send a message to kids, and have some laughs in the process.
Expect the characters to go back to their originals lives when the episode is complete (especially in cartoons). However on rare occasions they may decide that this is what they want to do with their lives and stay.
Also while the name of this trope implies a series, it can be used in films, comics or other mediums, as long the main cast otherwise don't have much involvement with this activity.
Heroic Fire Rescue is often featured.
- There are two episodes in Pokémon: The Original Series that revolve around firefighting:
- The first one, "The Pokemon Water War", was during the Orange Islands and featured Squirtle developing a rivalry with a Wartortle who was part of a firefighting team.
- The second episode, "The Fire-ing Squad!", was in Johto and was a firefighting competition that featured the return of both the aforementioned team and the Squirtle Squad.
- In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 6, Weslie, Paddi, and Sparky decide to become Goat Village's firemen after Mr. Slowy's demonstration of how to use a fire extinguisher gives them the idea. Wolffy uses this to his advantage in yet another scheme to catch the goats, deliberately setting his own castle home on fire to lure them.
- In an old Donald Duck story by Carl Barks, Donald becomes a firefighter.
- The Little Rascals:
- One segment had the kids play firefighters, even building their own firehouse out of their clubhouse complete with pole and beds. And it's cool. They even have driveable toy firetrucks. At one point they humorously believe that a fire has broken out at the real fire station. Once they realize their mistake though, they still manage to locate the actual fire before the REAL Fire Department does.
- This is actually the third time the little rascal have done this as some of the earlier Our Gang segments had the kids be firefighters as well. Including a 1922 silent feature that involved a horse drawn wagon.
- In the 1990s film, at some point early or midway through the movie, the boys' clubhouse catches fire and they don fire gear and desperately try to put it out with garden hoses, to no avail. They cheer when a real fire engine shows up, but it turns out they are responding to a different call (apparently not noticing the fire right in front of them).
- Anna Pigeon: In Firestorm, a raging forest fire in California's Lassen Volcanic National Park traps exhausted firefighters, including Ranger Anna Pigeon who is working as an EMT with the firefighters, in its midst. Afterward, Anna finds two from her group have been killed. One a victim of the flames. The other, stabbed through the heart. Now, as a rampaging winter storm descends, cutting the survivors off from civilization, Anna must uncover the murderer in their midst.
- In the Dirty Bertie story "Fire!", Bertie's school gets visited by a firefighter named Val. During break time, Bertie and his friend Eugene use the hose to put out the janitor's bonfire when they think the school is on fire. Later, Bertie gets a lift home in the firetruck.
- The Pal Patrol is a book based on The Lion King. With Simba having to tend to his kingly duties, Timon and Pumbaa are left to collect bugs by themselves. As they collect their bugs, they come across a small fire, which could grow fierce if not put out quickly, given the dried brush around it. While Timon goes to the water hole to get a herd of elephants to put out the fire, Pumbaa leads the rest of the animals of the Pride Lands away from the fire. After the fire is put out, Simba congratulates Timon and Pumbaa and makes them the official fire patrol of the Pride Lands.
- The Mr. Men story Mr. Men: Fire Station involves the Mr. Men and Little Misses working in a fire brigade.
- The A-Team. The episode "Fire" has the A-Team come to the aid of a private fire company that contracted their service to places that couldn't afford to maintain their own fire department. The small company is now being threatened by a much larger rival, who are secretly working for a Mob boss, prompting the A-Team to stay at the firehouse where they act as both security and firemen. As a possible Shout-Out, the station's tonal alarm code is the same as Station 51 in Emergency!, even the dormitory looks somewhat similar. The A-Team later embarrass the rival, Tri-State Fire Prevention, by planting devices that set fire to their firehouse, with Hannibal snarkily commenting: "It's true, most fires do happen in the home."
- The Chica Show: "Chica to the Rescue"
- Dad's Army. The platoon is given a mission to test security at an army base, and decide to infiltrate disguised as firemen. As usual, things go wrong and they end up fighting a real fire elsewhere. A high-ranking officer arrives and tells Mainwaring not to worry as his 'other plan' worked. Turns out Wilson sent a fake bomb in the mail.
- Emergency! A variation sometimes occurs. The show itself is about firemen, so it averts it otherwise. However, the series focuses on the two paramedics of Station 51. Most of their emergencies are medical or injury related. However, their are times where they have to rush into burning buildings to pull out survivors, and their are even times when (if there are no sick or hurt people) they have to pick up a hose and do normal fire work.
- McLeod's Daughters had an episode where Jodi joins the local volunteer fire brigade and is immediately sent out to deal with a fire during the training weekend. This episode was criticized by the fire services as no volunteer would ever be sent to a fire before completing basic training.
- In the Dutch childrens series Peppi En Kokki, episode 8 sees the clumsy duo join the fire department.
- Perfect Strangers: In "Great Balls of Fire", Balki drags a reluctant Larry into a volunteer firefighting program. Larry initially wants nothing to do with it until Jennifer finds it hot that he's in uniform. Naturally, their bumbling end up setting the firehouse they're stationed in on fire. They manage to put it out but not without filling the entire break room in foam. Unsurprisingly they get booted out, but Larry managed to nab the firefighter helmet for Balki and a uniform for himself.
- Power Rangers:
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The episode "Where There's Smoke, There's Fire" has Aisha being elected as Fire Safety Captain for Fire Safety Week.
- Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: Red Ranger Carter Grayson was a professional firefighter before being recruited as a ranger. In the episode "A Face from the Past" he and his commanding officer, Captain William Mitchell, help out the local fire department save people from a burning building, and in the process Carter learns that Captain Mitchell was the firefighter who saved him from a burning house years earlier.
- The Psych episode "Earth, Wind, and... Wait for It" has Shawn, Gus, and an arson inspector investigating a string of fires. Shawn and Gus join the fire department as a way of looking into the cases.
- The Stargate SG-1 episode "The Changeling" features Teal'c becoming a human named "T", and the whole cast re-imagined as firefighters: O'Neill is the Fire Chief, Carter is the Captain, Jonas is a "Probie", etc. It is in fact a delirious dream that Teal'c is having while wounded on a far-away planet.
- Etra-chan saw it!: Tokusa, Tachibana and Katsura are the firefighters who arrive at Akamatsu's house to ask him to stop making bonfires, however, he keeps insisting the fire will not spread to any house. Unfortunately, several of the dry leaves from the bonfire accidentally fly into his house, causing the building to catch fire, the firefighter trio immediately responds and quickly puts down the fire before it gets worse.
- In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Bowser's House Fire!", Bowser's house catches fire thanks to a candle Bowser Junior lit after watching an episode of Doofy the Dragon where Doofy lights himself on fire. Brooklyn T. Guy attempts to put the fire out, but because the Fire Department cut his funding the previous month, he couldn't afford a fire truck, so he had to use his own car to rush to Bowser's house and Bowser's garden hose to put out the fire. By the time the fire is put out, Bowser's house is burnt to the ground, forcing Bowser, Junior, and Chef Pee Pee to move into an apartment.
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series: In "Hail to the Chief'', Rolly trains with Lieutenant Pug to win a contest for the town fire dog. When one of Cruella's schemes results in the barn of Dearly Farm catching fire, Rolly proves his worth by saving the animals and helping the firemen put the fire out.
- Alvin and the Chipmunks. The 1980s episode "Three Alarm Alvin" had the boys start their own fire department, using their treehouse as a base. Naturally, Alvin is looking for publicity. However, they soon have to have the real fire department rescue them when they go into a burning building.
- Blaze and the Monster Machines: The beginning of the Season 2 of is with the eponymous Sentient Vehicle Blaze being part of a firehouse and then saving the day helping firefighters to officially becomes one at the end of the episode.
- CatDog. The episode "Fire Dog" had Cat and Dog try to join the Nearburg Fire Department so that they could get their hands on some famous firehouse food. They mostly get put to work as janitors cleaning up the station while the firemen are out on runs, but naturally prove themselves in the end, even being rewarded with the chili.
- Several Classic Disney Shorts star Donald, Mickey and Goofy as firefighters.
- The Fire Fighters (1930),
- Mickey's Fire Brigade (1935)
- Fire Chief (1940).
- The Flintstones: One episode has Fred and Barney join the volunteer fire department as an excuse to get out of the house (they never have to fight any fires since, as Barney points out, all the houses in Bedrock are made out of stone.)
- Futurama: In "The Inhuman Torch", the Planet Express Crew become professional firefighters after saving a group of sun miners. They convert the Planet Express building into a fire station, and even paint Nibbler white with black dots to be their dalmatian. They fight many fires, which ultimately turn out to be the result of a solar energy being that has latched onto Bender with the intent to burn up the planet.
- Goof Troop. In "Where There's Smoke, There's Goof", Goofy and Max become honorary firefighters. Goofy insists that they rescue people in need across Spoonerville while the Chief is soliciting donations for a new engine, leaving plenty of chaos and destruction in their wake. Oh yeah, we should probably mention that the old engine is alive and has a face (it's Disney after all).
- Kaeloo: In Episode 93, Kaeloo realizes that there are no firefighters in Smileyland and trains Stumpy and Quack-Quack to be Smileyland's first firefighters, with help from Mr. Cat. Most of the episode just focuses on them practicing but in the end, Mr. Cat sets the fake building Stumpy and Quack-Quack are using for training on fire For the Evulz and they must figure out a way to escape.
- In King of the Hill episode "A Firefighting We Will Go", Hank and the gang get recruited to be volunteer firefighters when the firefighters go on strike. They wind up burning down the firehouse.
- In Krypto the Superdog, "Old Dog, New Tricks", Krypto and Streaky helps a veteran fire dalmatian named Smokey when Streaky assumes that Smokey is going to be replaced when they just learned a new puppy is joining the fire station crew. Streaky has Krypto act as Smokey's super-double.
- The Littles: In "The Little Babysitters", Henry is tasked with babysitting a baby named Oscar for his parents' friend, but leaves the Littles in charge of Oscar so he can play football with his friends. The Littles find it hard to keep Oscar under control because of how big he is compared to them, and some frayed wires in Henry's cassette player start a fire that quickly spreads. The Littles try to put out the fire with the help of their fire department, but Oscar drinking their water complicates their efforts. By the end of the episode, Henry has to make up for his negligence by calling his fire department so they can put out the fire and save Oscar.
- Looney Tunes: The 1938 short Porky the Fireman is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Looney Tunes Cartoons: In "Firehouse Frenzy", a fire breaks out in a building, and Porky and Daffy, who are working as firemen, have to race to the bulding so they can put the fire out. It takes so long for them to get ready, that by the time they get to the building, it has already burnt to the ground.
- Martha Speaks had an episode "Fire Dog Martha", where Martha the talking dog tries at least to be in the fire brigade.
- In the Mater's Tall Tales episode, "Rescue Squad Mater", Mater tells Lightning about how he used to be a fire truck, and the time he saved him from a fire at the gasoline and match factory.
- Planes: Fire & Rescue is this to the Planes franchise. The previous movie is about racing, while in this movie Dusty is forced to become a certified firefighter, so that his home city is not closed down due to having insufficient equipment in the event of a fire emergency.
- Popeye: The 1934 short The Two-Alarm Fire has Popeye and Bluto competing to put out a fire at Olive's house. The short was remade in 1953 as Fireman's Brawl.
- The Ren & Stimpy Show: The classic episode "Fire Dogs" has the twosome disguising themselves as dalmatians and helping put out a fire.
- The Simpsons
- In "Crook and Ladder", Homer, Moe, Apu and Principal Skinner become volunteers when Homer's antics cause the the entire fire department to get mauled by their dalmatians. They get accustomed to being fancily rewarded for their efforts, but then Mr. Burns doesn't reward them for putting out his mansion and they resort to just stealing things.
- In "Homer the Heretic", the Simpson house catches fire and the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department comes to his rescue. Apu is fire chief, along with Krusty, Chief Wiggum, and Barney Gumble.
- Thomas & Friends:
- Firefighting happens twice in "Thomas, Percy, and Old Slow Coach". The first time, James' fuel tankers catch fire and the firemen put the fire out. The second time, a workman's hut has caught fire, and the fire engines have run out of water, so Thomas and Percy let the firemen use the water in their tanks to put out the fire.
- Being a fire engine himself, Flynn had a few of these episodes, including "Fiery Flynn", "Race to the Rescue", and "Too Many Fire Engines".
- Tiny Toon Adventures: In the short, "When You're Hot..." from the episode "Going Places", the students of Acme Looniversity learn about fire safety from Pete Puma, who demonstrates typical causes of fire by setting them on fire, incluiding a rocket, which sets Acme Looniversity on fire. Buster, Plucky, and Hamton set off to put out the fire, made all the worse by anthropomorphic flames, and end up putting it out with Li'l Sneezer's trademark Sneeze of Doom.
- TUGS: In the second half of the episode "Munitions", when a naval ship called Krakatoa is being loaded at the loading dock, an impatient Bluenose starts a fire, which quickly spreads through Bigg City Port. Sunshine and Warrior help the Fire Tug put out the fire, while Ten Cents tries to get Bluenose and an oil barge that caught fire out of the way.