The Portsmouth Fire Department was established as a city department in 1849. As early as 1762, volunteer fire companies provided fire protection for the various sections of the city. Today, the Portsmouth Fire Department provides fire protection, advanced life support ambulance, fire prevention, hazardous materials response, and special rescue services to the seacoast community of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The department provides these services through a compliment of forty-two firefighters, twelve fire officers, three chief officers and an administrative secretary. A three-member Board of Fire Commissioners is elected to oversee the operation and management of the department.