Photo: Getty Images/Stevecoleimages

A higher frequency of natural disasters in the U.S. is putting a strain on first responders who are already grappling with lower staff numbers, AP reports.

The big picture: While the population of career firefighters has increased in recent years, approximately two-thirds of the United States' 30,000 fire departments are made up of volunteers. Per the National Volunteer Fire Council, the number of volunteer firefighters has dropped from 814,850 to 682,600 over the past 4 years.

  • "The bottom line is that people have a lot less time than they used to," Natalie Simpson, an operations management professor at University at Buffalo, told the AP.

The number of calls to emergency fire departments is also on the rise, according to the National Fire Protection Association Survey. With that has come higher expectations and standards for the types of services firefighters must provide.

  • Per the AP: "Both career and volunteer firefighters are now trained in emergency medical services and multihazard responses. It’s rare that they respond to actual fires, and even rarer to a natural disaster. Still, experts say they need to be prepared."

Between the lines: Climate change doesn't cause natural disasters to occur, but it's an aggravator factor in extreme weather events such as hurricanes and heatwaves.

Go deeper: How climate change affects our weather

Go deeper

49 mins ago - World

U.S. policy shift will allow taxpayer funding for projects in West Bank settlements

Friedman (L) with Netanyahu. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel will announce tomorrow that they are expanding three agreements on scientific cooperation to include Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is a substantial policy shift for the U.S., which did not previously allow its taxpayers' money to be spent in the Israeli settlements.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage" Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Putin mandates face masks.

McConnell: Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will help GOP retain Senate

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed no regrets about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's controversial confirmation, telling Politico in an interview that he believes the decision to place her on the Supreme Court just a week before the election will help Republicans retain the Senate.

Why it matters: With a week to go until Election Day, many Republicans are concerned that President Trump's unpopularity could cost them the Senate. McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.