The first independent Fire Company Number 1 was formed in 1846. Memphis promoted its first fire chief in 1859. A Board of Fire and Police Commissioners was created in 1879. The first motor fire engine was put into service in 1912. House to house inspections were organized in 1933, beginning what is known today as Fire Prevention. As a result, Memphis had the lowest number of losses due to fire in 23 years.
Emergency ambulance service was begun in 1966 with eight ambulances answering 6,561 calls the first year. The first Computer Aided Dispatch system for any fire department in the United States was purchased in 1974. Later a full Fire Reporting System was developed in 1978, and the Division began the First Responder program by assigning EMT's to engine companies.
In April 1995, Emergency Medical Dispatching was implemented. Also for the last five years, the Division of Fire Services has received the highest rating by the citizens of Memphis of any City division. The Division of Fire Services is currently implementing a new fire records management system.