A Compulsory Fire Service is a public organization that is part of the fire department in Germany and Switzerland. Private individuals can be compelled to participate in such a fire service in specific circumstances.
In Switzerland this mandatory fire service is common and required in most regions. The German Compulsory Fire Service only exists when a Volunteer Fire Department cannot be pursued due to a lack of personnel or other unavailability, meaning that fire protection cannot be guaranteed 24/7. All appropriate persons can be drafted to the compulsory fire service if they are needed.
In Switzerland, it is common for compulsory fire service duty to be required of both men and women, whether or not they are Swiss. Most fire services in Switzerland are so called Militia Fire Brigades (Miliz-Feuerwehr). Militia firefighters normally pursue other professions, and have active duty only during exercises and missions. In the case of an emergency, the first response is completed by a group of specially-trained police officers. The militia fire brigade arrives as soon as possible. In special situations (major events, demonstrations, etc.) the fire brigade provides a standby service. Currently 95.000 men and women serve as firefighters in 1.500 fire brigades (Feuerwehrkorps), Only 1.200 of them are professional firefighters, organized as plant fire brigades or a unit of a larger city.
Exceptions include for example, the canton of Zurich, and in all places where professional fire brigades exist. If a fire brigade cannot find enough volunteers, it can carry out forced recruitment. These drafts are not popular, because the recruited firefighters are generally less motivated. Anyone who rejects service must pay a fire service exemption tax.